Nothing is Better than the Greeks Exercise System
Ok... so I am far from being an authority in the matter. I have no clinical certificates... I am no aerobic training instructor or the like.
I am your good ol'history buff. That little girl that saw in amazement those comic books most of them sponsored by Charles Atlas (could barely ever see his face but, gosh!, what a body!). The ads were so corny, I always thought the guy was a fake. What do children know anyhow?
Now, as a mother of three... after a good many years of going up and down on my very personal Richter scale... After being bombarded up to the yin yang with infomercials, "jump like this!, buy this!, I know I told you the last gig was great, but you are really gonna love this"... It stroke me: Charles Atlas, this man sure knew what he has talking about.
Stumbled Upon Charles Atlas
I never got to study in depth the Charles Atlas method in my yesteryears... I just stumbled into it some time ago... as I was climbing out of depression due to my life-producing-out-of-shape body. Like Charles (he feels so familiar to me already) I also went to the gym. I had to leave it for different reasons though. Although I was glad with the results, my hips couldn't bear the aerobic training! I know about "no pain no gain" but come on! My hips were clinically hurting with bursitis on top of the jumping. So my excuse had nothing to do with the overrated time issue (which if one has time to write or read this, one sure has time to exercise).
So I also started to look elsewhere for alternate methods in order to deal with my flabby abs and my despised overweight. I finally found a system that worked for me! Now I have my desired weight, but what now?
From this system I inherited the greatest exercise equipment ever invented: the rubber band. There is nothing in the planet better than the rubber band... Or so I thought, until one good day I just didn't feel like pulling the band out of the drawer... I went commando, acapella... isometrics :) or isotonic, or isokinetic...
Isotonics, the Real Deal
It should be safe to state that Charles Atlas first discovered isometrics and studied them enough to build a mogul business empire by it, a business so strong that is not only still going, but it laughed in the face of both 1929 and 2009 depressions... an 80 year old business. Yet, he insists in thanking the Gods. He narrates that it was by observing nature, at how the animals play at resisting each other that he realized the power lying within, a great, cheap, powerful and effective workout!
What is isometrics? To define them bluntly, isometrics are body contractions. Is the voluntary (and rarely involuntary) force that we exert upon our own bodies. The rubber band is great, but if I'm able to educate my body well enough in order to exert that same amount of force upon myself (aka pretending I still have the rubber band) I've escalated greatly in the world of physical training and even body building.
The root "iso" stems from the Greek, means "equal". When it comes to isometric, is all basically the same amount of force against your body... or your body resisting the amount of force exerted upon. They are also called resistance exercises. Stretching, Pilates... and my beloved rubber band are some examples of isotonic exercises, as well as body contractions. Pilots know about those g-forces, which is the amount of weight of their bodies against themselves. If a pilot endures one g-force, and he weighs about 170 pounds, that's 170 pounds against him that his body has to fight off... Most pilots endure four or more g-forces to say the least, in any given flight. That is why they are required to stay in tip-top mint condition!
Play With Your Body Tension
To reiterate, there are three kinds of muscle contractions (or movements) 1) isometric, 2) isotonic and 3) isokinetic. In isometric muscle length and tension remain constant, providing much needed muscle strength. Isotonic movement occurs when the tension remains constant but the muscle length changes. Isokinetic implies variation in both muscle tension and length.
So why do I find this workout so divine? As a busy facebookian mother who likes to hang out and keep a tidy house, I can mix this movements-contractions thoroughout my day! I do not have to schedule an exercise session. I am exercising right now by contracting my abs as I sit and write and sit up properly. It works I tell you!
Let's go for the classic testimony. By my third pregnancy, I was about 32 years of age. With metabolism going downhill, it was truly hard for me to lose those almost 40 pounds that dragged me across town everyday.
Gotta give some credit here to Essence magazine. They have a fitness section in which they publish simple yet effective mostly isotonic exercises. I started to include these exercises in my daily routine. I mean, I would workout my buttocks while brushing my teeth. I workout my legs while doing the dishes. Sometimes I even take advantage of those infomercials. Whatever exercise equipment they're promoting, I will mock their very movement without the fad equipment. It works I tell you!
Your Body Will Obey Your Command
Our bodies are like clay... They will conform to the love seat, the sofa, those burgers we impose them... Or they will respond to the challenges, the postures, the paced breathings we treat them with.
Five minutes a day sure make a difference. Besides, if anything, think of it as your temple. Or so they say right? Your body is your temple... We tidy up our homes every single day, we mow the lawn, take out the garbage... How come our body is not yet part of that ritual?
How do I become it? This is what works for me. I get up in the morning (I am an early bird by force) and after going to the bathroom, before getting dressed, I work my triceps. Try standing before the mirror, legs thigh spread, and force your arms to the back. Put an effort in it! Pretend your holding heavy dumbells. As I work my triceps, I lift my body a bit trying to work both my legs and my buttocks. This is not a five minute exercise, is less than that. I do not uphold the same routine every day, I dread routines. Sorry, but there are no cookie cutters formula here. One thing remains though, get on the go! Better do something than nothing.
Another good exercise is turning your back besides the bed and holding onto the bed rail, move your feet forward in order to work those triceps. Get it? Second exercise for triceps. Target your problem areas and the rest of your body will follow.
Of course, like I said in my introduction, I am no expert in fitness so here goes the disclaimer. Before you start any fitness program, be sure to consult your fitness or health practitioner. In the meantime, at least stretch those arms up, and get that blood flowing! Breathe! Contract!