Tootsie Pop Approach to Fitness?

“How many licks does it take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of the Tootsie Pop?”

The magic number essential to getting what you want. I hear these types of questions all the time regarding fitness.

“How many hours a week do you have to work out to get in shape?”

“How long are your workouts?”

“How long do you have to keep on working out?”

Ah, people trying to determine the smallest amount effort required to get the maximum result.  People want the goods, and are hoping not to be required to pay the full price.  Unfortunately most people ask with a self-limiting motive, secretly hoping to hear a big enough effort that lets them off the hook when you say it.

There is good news however.  While some programs like P90X require you to workout intensely six days per week for around an hour per day, I know that it is possible to get the goods for far less.  I am convinced that you can get in shape with as little as three to four workout sessions per week, with the average session lasting around twenty minutes.

The more a program requires, the fewer people start.  For those who do start, the earlier they will drop off the program.  So if you have to “bring it” for over an hour or do a workout that is considered “insanity” to get great results, you have a formula for rapid abandonment.  Intimidating workouts will keep the average soccer mom or fifty-something  year old guy from even starting.  Getting and keeping people in motion over a long period of time is more important than just getting them started.

I know that intensity is the key, not long amounts of time spent working out, if you want great results.  So if I can get you off the couch by demonstrating workouts that will get you in motion for around twenty minutes, you will stay with me longer than if I wore you out for seventy minutes and left you with a strained a muscle.  We are going for the optimum “dose” of exercise required to trigger the maximum biochemical response to help you build muscle.  Not much more, not much less.  This will increase your metabolism and burn more fat over time.  Since we are not digital and we are all unique, this number will be a little different for everyone, generally much less than an hour, more like a half an hour.

An intense Tabata session can last less than ten minutes, while a good circuit of calisthenics may take a little more than twenty-five minutes. I have been working out like this for a few years now, focusing on form, intensity and safety. I go downstairs to my gym in the basement, which I affectionately call the “Morrison House of Pain” and generally come back up barely able to talk because my heart is beating so rapidly and from the huffing and puffing I am carrying on.  But for a guy in my fifties, I am in great health, and my appearance doesn’t give my age away.

So if you are ready to trade long hard workouts with nice, short intense full-body workouts, or if you are ready to put aside the fear of that kind of workout and finally get started, get ready for some refreshing results you never thought possible in such a short time.  And every now and then enjoy a Tootsie Pop…it wont hurt you and you will probably finish it faster than you think! Let me know how this is working for you!

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