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Saturday, 18 July 2009

Back to Basics - 8 Minutes in the Morning - Review

Sometimes I am guilty of over thinking. Anything that is complicated and involved appeals to my runaway brain. Eventually I just end up confusing myself.

It is somewhat surprising then, that I originally started this long, life changing, weight loss journey with one of the simplest programs on the market. I haven't really talked about this because I was strangely embarrassed to admit that I lost 25kg using a book called '8 Minutes in the Morning'. Any fitness professional will tell you that you can't lose weight and get fit with only an 8 minute workout! You need body splits, compound movements, isolations, interval and steady state cardio.

Jorge Cruise has moved on (I think he is down to 12 seconds now!), but the selling blurb for this book is NO aerobics, NO hours in the gym and NO starvation diet. Even with my busy life, my fondness for my warm bed in the mornings and my history of hating any sort of cardio, I felt that I could probably manage 8 minutes in the mornings.

The cornerstone of the program is weight lifting. Instead of worrying about burning calories, 8 Minutes in the Morning concentrates on building lean muscle. It claims that every pound of muscle you have burns 50 calories a day making you into a metabolic furnace. I know that popular experts disagree with that number but building muscle definitely makes a difference to your shape and your ability to burn fat.

The Workouts
6 days lifting with day 7 off. 2 body parts per day - 12 reps x 4 sets

Mon - Chest and Back
Tue - Shoulders and Abdominals
Wed - Triceps and Biceps
Thu - Hamstrings and Quadriceps
Fri - Calves and Butt
Sat - Inner and Outer Thighs

Example: Monday
(A) Dumbbell Press (lying on the floor)
(B) Two Arm Row (sitting in a chair)

Example : Tuesday
(A) Lateral Raise (standing)
(B) Crunch (lying)

The Diet
8 Minutes in the Morning promotes Eat Fat to Get Fit. This is no low-fat, high carbohydrate diet. I admit that I didn't really follow the diet too closely - I just cut out all the crappy food I had been eating. The diet is based on counting portions which is the same as counting calories, only in disguise. Looking at it now the 'quick start' diet (week one) seems awfully low in calories.

3 fat (45 cals) = 135
3 protein (75 cals) = 225
4 complex carbs (80 cals) = 320
2 dairy (90 cals) = 180
4 veggies (25 cals) = 100
1 fruit (60 cals) = 60
2 treats (30 cals) = 60
8 water
1080 calories

After that you get slightly more food - 1200 calories (extra fat, protein and veggie portion) if you are 150lbs or under, 1400 (extra fat, 2 protein, 1 carb, 2 veggie portions) if you are 150-199lbs. Possibly adequate if you are only doing 8 minutes of exercise a day and don't have an active job?

The Emotional Advantage
Every morning before you get to your exercises for the day, you get a 'wake up talk'. Topics include - know what you want, create the ultimate environment, use progress to push forward, jump start your motivation etc.

The Good
The weight training exercises are clearly explained and their are body weight alternatives if you are away from home. The morning 'wake up talk' is less annoying than it sounds.

The Bad
That diet is seriously hard-core. I couldn't survive on it now. I might have been able to do it back then but I didn't want to go 'on a diet'. I just cleaned up my normal eating pattern (which was only lunch and dinner so I was probably close to it anyway).

It took me longer than 8 minutes when I first started because I had to have a long rest in between sets. At the beginning I used to lay on the floor and have a diet coke and a cigarette at half time (it was a really hot January!). I did 2 training cycles (2 months) before I got bored and then moved on to an even more embarrassing program I will tell you about later.

Should You Buy It/Borrow It/Find It In A Garage Sale?
If you want a simple effective beginner level weight lifting program then 8 Minutes in the Morning is it. Doing a little bit each morning is a great way to build an enduring exercise habit. I am a firm believer in building lean muscle first before worrying too much about 'cardio' sessions. If you already walk a bit anyway, then you don't need anything extra to start with.

I will always be fond of this book because it did actually change the shape of my body, it changed my view of exercise and most importantly, it changed my life forever.

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