Saturday, January 29, 2011

The W.O.W. and R.I.P. Jack Lalanne

What is the best exercise? I have been asked that question hundreds of times. And instead of the usual quip,
Whatever you will do with consistency
I now have a better answer --more specifics in a moment. The question itself has been one of those perennial question that I have wrestled with over the years. I mean what is the point of exercise and why do we engage, what do we get out of it? And what does it have to do with our metaphysical, incarnational existence? It really has come down to what can we do to maintain our functional health, strength and energy level to carry out our soul's vocation. Keeping this functional health will allow a more serving response to the world. As Fran├žois Fenelon states in "Maxims of the Saints" perhaps we will be a bit more, "... accessible and pliable to all the impressions of grace." ‏And for those of us in the second half of life, hopefully we are discovering as Richard Rohr says, "Our life is not about us, we are about life." And to be about life means to be able to functionally act in ways that serve "what is" right in front of us in an ever deepening,surprising,wondrous way.

The paraphrased quote attributed to Einstein,
I do not know what the final truth will be, but I do know that it will be beautiful and simple
comes to mind. Obviously Einstein was pondering the question of existence, and though some have argued that he was not pondering the transcendent, IMHO he was. And truth is constantly being poured out to us in specific areas of life in ever more clear, beautiful and powerful ways.

The Body by Science high intensity strength training concept is elegant and simple, and may be a bit more of that truth for you! It boils down to this: Pick three to five resistance machines at your local gym/fitness center that work large groups of muscles, i.e. chest press, pull down, seated row, overhead press and leg press. Set the machines for a resistance that you believe you can keep moving very slowly (5-10 secs. positive, 5-10 secs negative) with, safe appropriate form for 60 to 120 secs. And keep the focus until you have reached, " momentary muscular failure" Warning! This is very high intensity exercise, but as long as you have no physician ordered limitations you will be fine. And here is the kicker, the whole workout takes 10-15 minutes and is repeated once, yes once! every 7-14 days!
This is the W.O.W. Workout of The Week!. Full disclosure: I have been doing this since early October and I am stronger, more flexible, and have minimal to zero middle aged, morning aches and pains. And for those who do not know me well, I am not one easily swayed by hype and have a pretty sharp bull**** indicator. Of all the hype and nonsense marketed as anti-aging, strength training is the only thing with any sound proof behind it.

For those of you who are not familiar with strength training and are apprehensive about physically challenging yourself, take heart. Familiarize yourself with the machines, with a competent helper/trainer getting comfortable with the movements and how your body react with some lower intensity sessions a couple a times a week for a few weeks. Then when you are starting to feel comfortable and you understand "good" muscle soreness and realize that your life will never allow you 2-3hrs a week at the gym, you can graduate to the W.O.W. and spend 30 minutes total time every 7-14 days!

Here is Dr. Doug McDuff demonstrating the W.O.W.:



Finally, I could not get through the week without a tribute to a pioneer and an American original. R.I.P. Jack Lalanne:



Peace and All Good!