October 30, 2007

The Bottom Line

A Gardener's Best Winter Tools

Winter is a depressing time for a gardener like me who prefers to be out and about doing physical labor that keeps me in shape. I decided that I must have a plan if I am to keep my bottom from spreading this winter as I tend to hibernate and become a couch potato.

I strolled over to Border's yesterday and scanned the weight lifting section. Came across a fascinating book which told me to stop wasting my time with hours on the treadmill, aerobics , walking, etc. and that in thirty minutes a week without working up a sweat, I can have the body of Sandy Duncan who practices the routine religiously. Sounded good to me.

I was sold and started to read more. You can do the routine at home or in the gym. I don't like those new fangled , complicated machines so I decided on the home gym. All I need is a stool, towels, mat , metronome with digital timer ( keeps the beat and time of the moves ) a fan or cool room to prevent sweating, and hand held weights ( usually 8 to 12 lbs. each ) in various sizes. Simple enough.

The routine that brings such amazing results is a slow burn weight lifting workout at a snail's pace . Each week you increase the weights so you don't get too used to them. Your muscles are so spent afterwards that you'll need a week to recover, but the fact that it's a short period of time makes it worthwhile.

The author of the book asks a simple question : " Do you know the difference between being fit and being healthy ? " I thought I did but like most who've attempted to answer it I was WRONG. He gave an example of Jim Fixx, world famous marathoner who at age 52 still clocked 50 miles a week. One morning he went out the door for his run and fell dead from a heart problem. On the other hand Sir Winston Churchill who smoked cigars, over ate and over drank and was obese lived to be 92. Simply put, Jim Fixx was fit but not healthy and Churchill was healthy but not fit. Fascinating !

Women in America have a bring problem with weak bones and backs and according to the book, all the aerobics and walking do little to improve it, despite popular thinking. His method , however, has been tested and shown to improve bone growth and create new muscle tissue, no matter what age you are. In addition, and the part I really like, during the week-long break your body is burning calories at rest !

Sounds to good to be true but I've been sucked in and I'm going to give it a shot. The title of the book is THE SLOWBURN FITNESS REVOLUTION by Frederick Hahn. You can visit his website at http: //www.seriousstrength.com and get further information.

I can see myself still gardening at 90.


  1. This looks great, I have heard of the importance of using weight-lifting to maintain bone strength. I have been a very casual, once a week weight lifter (with a ten minute routine) to help strengthen my arms and shoulders. I'll check into that book. Maybe it will help me maintain my summer weight loss. (http://muumsmusings.blogspot.com/2007/10/footwear-friday-gangsta-gardener.html)

  2. Hi muum,

    Even ten minutes a week at a slow, deliberate pace is a good start.

    Anyone can surely find 30 minutes a week to improve their strength.

    Hope you'll give it a shot.

  3. You know, I recently heard where some studies were done and the results showed that people who did aerobics were still fighting their weight but those that lifted weights were thinner.

    Kudos to you for doing this, Carolyn Gail! I'm such an exercise hater. If someone does it with me, I'll do better, but left on my own, I'll avoid it all costs.

  4. You're right about that Kylee. Maybe you can find a friend to do weights just once a week.

    I don't like exercise routines either and had rather be out doing the grunt work of gardening but in the long, cold winter here there's not much choice.

  5. I've been weight-training for several years now, & I just recently switched to the super-slow lifting. It's hard to believe that it is a better workout than regular lifting with lots of reps. Once you get used to it, it seems too easy!

  6. That's very encouraging news, MMD. If it gets too easy you have to up the weights !


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