Monday, August 10, 2015
XBX 12-Minute Fitness Plan for Women: Book Review
I love working out...although I am paying the price this morning for the kick-ass workout I did yesterday...ow, to my pecs and lats ever ache!!! But I know most people are not quite as enthusiastic about exercise. If that's you, then you might be interested in this program which requires very little time and cost nothing.
Fitness trends come and go. Sometimes its nice to see them go, but sometimes good ones get thrown out for no good reason, in favour of the supposed next best thing. But effective workouts need not be novel, flashy or trendy. If you do the same basic stuff that was done decades ago (say, bench press and squats, for example) you can still get awesome results.
Apparently, one of the current top trends is shorter, high intensity workouts (i.e. HIIT, Tabata, etc.). And for good reason, one of the most common excuses people have for not exercising, is lack of time.
That being said, I am always skeptical of fitness programs that promise major transformations in just minutes a day. You have to take into account the FITT principle (i.e. Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type) in order to determine how long and how often you should be doing a particular activity. Obviously, the more intense the activity, the less time you need to spend doing it, and the less frequently you need to do it. The problem is, if you want to just do 10 minute workouts, you'll have to be working ridiculously intensely for 10 minutes, probably more intensely than is even possible. And you certainly won't build significant endurance that way. So when I was asked to review the XBX 12-Minute Fitness Plan for Women, I figured it would be nonsense.
But when the book arrived, I realized what it actually is: The famous fitness plan developed for none other than the Royal Canadian Air Force! The military means business you know!!
What your exercise routine should look like depends, of course on your goals. I will start by saying that if you want to look like a fitness model, or are even fixated mostly on making aesthetic changes to your body, this is not going to be your best option. It may have a positive effect on how your body looks, but it won't likely produce dramatic changes.
If, however, you are looking to improve your strength, posture, balance and flexibility, this will do all those things. It is designed to be progressive, and is adaptable to various populations making it appropriate for even sedentary children, seniors, and obese individuals (just make sure you consult a doctor first to make sure its safe for you to exercise!).
The routine requires no equipment and can be done anywhere (in your cubicle at work, living room, outdoors, etc.).
Except for the minute or so of 3 minutes of running on the spot and hops at the end, the exercises remind me of sort of a Pilates/Essentrics hybrid. So if you've ever done Pilates before you will get a sense of the progression and how things can start relatively easy (lift shoulders and head off the ground to work abs) to extremely difficult (full roll up to sitting position with legs extended straight).
My biggest complaint is that the charts provided to guide you through the various stages of the program are confusing. And until your memorize which number is associated with which exercise, you will have to keep flipping back and forth through the book. There are also different numbers of reps for each exercise, which adds to the complexity of figuring things out.
So can this program get you fit? Yes, to some extent. If you are currently sedentary and very out of shape, you will see a huge improvement in your general fitness if you do this program regularly (I would say daily), and follow the progressions of increasing difficulty. But eventually you will plateau unless you start to increase reps or the frequency of how often you do the routine. Frankly, at only 12 minutes, I'd say you can do it twice at least!
Another thing to remember is that if you work in a sedentary job and sit all day, even if you were to do a 1 hour, intense workout in the morning, or evening, you are still at increased risk for chronic illness, just from the long periods of sitting. So I would recommend doing this workout a few times a day with at least once being in the middle of the day to break up the time you are sedentary.
So do I recommend this? Sure! If you are sedentary and want to improve your fitness but don't want to join a gym, buy equipment or spend too much time working out, this is a great option for you.
Disclosure: I was sent a review copy of this book but all opinions on this blog are my own.