Singing the Bite Me Song

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December 15, 2003

Drive-Thru Workouts: the new way to go? - Short gym workouts may work for some - Dec. 15, 2003

Monday, December 15, 2003 Posted: 10:50 AM EST (1550 GMT)

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Who has an hour to spend in a gym? New weight training programs offer results in 30 minutes or less for people who don't have time to dawdle.

The shorter workouts won't build pro football muscles, but they will let an ordinary person build strength and stay strong. And if more people fit exercise into their lives on a reduced regimen, experts say the result is a net benefit for society.

The express workouts typically require only one set of 8 to 12 repetitions instead of the 2 or 3 sets of 8 to 16 repetitions that physiologists recommend for an optimum workout.

Resistance exercise doesn't have to take much time. "Most of (the time) tends to be spent moving from one exercise to another, or resting between sets," said Russell R. Pate, associate dean for research at the Arnold School of Public Health at the University of South Carolina.

Among the places at which shorter sessions are promoted is the Town Sports International chain of about 130 clubs on the East Coast. TSI says its XpressLine workout can be done in about 20 minutes.

When the shorter workout was tested against a traditional regimen, 78 percent of the 21 people on the shorter workout stayed with the program for two months, versus 57 percent of the 14 people who tried the traditional program, said Wayne Westcott, who ran the test for TSI.

Those in the shorter workout also gained about twice as much muscle, said Westcott, fitness research director at the South Shore YMCA in Quincy, Massachusetts. He speculated that people worked harder in the shorter program, although he said it would take follow-up research with more exercisers to prove the program's benefit.


"It's not because studies are showing that briefer exercise is better than longer workouts," said Ron Buchheim, the publication's deputy editor. "It's driven mainly by the fact that, when you give people demanding workouts that may be optimal for health, they are so draining in terms of time and energy that people don't do them."

However, resistance training has yet to show it will provide health benefits that aerobic activity does, said Dr. Tim Church, medical director of the Cooper Institute, a health research organization in Dallas.

To reduce the risk of dying early, people should do at least 150 minutes a week of at least moderate aerobic activity such as a brisk walk, Church said.

What do you say? I think this is just the beginning. Drive-thru workouts are coming, just like they came to Drive-Thru Hurricane To-Go cups in New Orleans, or liquor stores and funeral homes in Arkansas.

You may wonder what a drive-thru funeral home is like. Basically (and I've seen it) you drive up to a window, say the name of one of three people available for viewing into a speaker, and a big lazy susan-like thing rotates that casket with that person up to a window. A wake without half the crying! Progress and inovation in Our Modern World.

So I been trying to figure out what a drive-thru workout would be like, and I think I'm about ready to start a franchise. Here's how it works. You drive up to a speaker and say what exercise you want, with which weight. You pay at the first window, of course, and then at the second window you are handed a dumbbell, either for curls or other car-sitting arm exercises, or a strap on leg weight for leg extensions.

You'd have to lie down across the front seat to do those fanny-tightening back leg curls. Perhaps there will be another person sitting on the other seat who could stroke your hair or count reps, provided his/her fly stays buttoned.

I think a person would have to be very careful of the gas pedal while doing calf raises. Maybe we should put a warning sign up for that, or our insurance would go through the roof...


December 15, 2003 at 06:27 PM in Singing the Bite Me Song | Permalink


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