ROM Year One: The Results Are In…

What a year it’s been. Just over a year ago, I received the fruits of what you demanded: a ROM at my house – a $14,000 piece of exercise equipment that makes an audacious promise: A complete workout in just four minutes a day. My plan was in one year – from age 29 to age 30 – to not only maintain the shape I was in from my on-again, off-again gym attendance, but to get in better shape: To lose about 50 pounds and, as I put it in the Fitness Challenge,

  • Keep up with my growing little girl
  • Think clearer
  • Radiate peace
  • Be the very picture of virility
  • Attain body-mind-spirit health
  • See God

So! It’s been a year and those results are in. What’s happened? Well, I’ve sustained about 10 pounds of weight loss, I managed to watch Jubilee solo for nine (!) days in a row last year, and I’m growing in the other areas incrementally. This is in switching from 45-minute – 90-minute workouts at the gym (when I could make myself go) to 4-minute workouts from home. To me, this is impressive. But it’s also, if I’m completely candid, a little disappointing. After all, 10 pounds is not 50 pounds; I am not Charles Atlas at the beach.

Whenever our goals are not met, we quite naturally ask “Why?” Taking an inventory, it’s difficult to determine precisely why, in this case. Was I not ROMming diligently enough? That’s a possible explanation, but I pinky-promise that I’ve been way more diligent in hopping on the ROM than in driving downtown to work out. More likely is that I’ve not been ‘pushing it’ enough. An outside observer into my life might initially conclude that I’m a hypochondriac; while I’m in basically excellent health I do have occasional concerns about my heart health. This is tied into a decade-long struggle with anxiety and phobias – something I want to blog about more this year, as I think many of you could probably connect. All this to say, working out doesn’t always make me feel good. Maybe I’ve just been lazy from my youth, but feeling an elevated metabolism is deeply uncomfortable for me at times; I think I’m having a heart attack or something. All this to say, this past Fall I underwent an extensive battery of tests at a cardiologists’ office. I’ll probably have more to say about this in the anxiety/phobia posts, but suffice to say for now that my Doc gave me a clean bill of health in the exercise department. When I told him what I was doing, he said “ROM away.”

I am now resolved to accomplish in my 30th year what I’d hoped to in my 29th. I know more about the ROM and my own body than I did last year. With this in mind, I had a phone consultation with a ROM coach, Tom. (When you own a ROM, you have lifetime phone and in-person access to the ROM family of coaches in California. You also end up discovering other ROM enthusiasts nationwide – like my new friend Jeff.) Tom listened to my breakthroughs and struggles, and made three very practical suggestions:

  1. Put my ROM on lower resistance settings. I wasn’t scoring too high – typically around 80 when I should be around 110. I’ve had my resistance set at 220 pounds, which in retrospect is a bit he-mannish and macho. Not to mention futile, as it’s the motion that generates resistance ultimately – the faster I can turn that flywheel, the more results I can get. So I had it as 200 over the weekend, but my score still isn’t as high as I’d like; I’m dialing down to 180.
  2. ROM interval-style. It’s only four minutes so you’d think it’d be easy to just go all-out for the entire duration. But oh, no – not necessarily. Plus even if you do, your muscles and metabolism get used to that, so it could have diminishing returns. Better to vary it up a little, going (say) 30 seconds at a brisk-but-stable pace, and then 30 minutes b@lls-to-the-wall. That’s what I’ve been doing these past few days…and I can feel the difference.
  3. Do an additional nighttime ROM workout. I usually ROM in the mornings, which is a great way to start my day. But Tom noted that I have, essentially a desk job for a living – and a desk-job at home, at that. (My commute is about 50 feet from bedroom to home office!) Which is lovely in all kinds of ways, but fighting sedentary-ness is not one of them. Since I’m not digging teaches, plowing fields, or wrestling wooly mammoths, a later ROM session could be beneficial to jump-start my metabolism later in the day. This latter ROMming, Tom stresses, should not be a super-strenuous one…that could interfere with sleep for a sensitive lad like me. But a ‘light’ ROM session would be helpful. So be it.

So here we go! Following this already-helpful fitness advice, I still hope to meet my fitness and well-being goals, and see if the ROM is a good solution for people with less time and perhaps less of a discipline threshold than career gym-o-philes. I thank you for joining me on my ROM fitness journey last year, and I hope you stay tuned for my updates in 2010!

28 Responses to “ROM Year One: The Results Are In…”


  1. 1 Theresa January 18, 2010 at 8:40 pm

    Hey Mike!
    congrats! good job so far. I know I’m like a salesman for it but have you ever tried Bikram yoga? Seems you are into dedicating to things and then evaluating so i would suggest a 30 day Bikram challenge with a certified Bikram instructor. 90 minutes per day. It has literally changed my life, body and soul. And continues to do so. I now practice 3 times a week and my health increases as my body gets stronger.

  2. 2 Kelley January 18, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    Hey Mike! Great work so far. If you can’t find any wooly mammoths to wrestle, I’d suggest a cleanse for the new year. It brings all of the mental/spiritual benefits of fasting with the added goodness of clearing your body of all the crap that holds you back from being your healthiest. I did my first this summer and just cleansed again at the beginning of the month. Never felt better! Also, you can ROM away during the process. Wishing you a healthy 30th year!

  3. 4 Debs January 19, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    Thanks for the update Mike. It is refreshing in it’s candidness and it sounds like you have come a long way! Maybe not in pounds but in other ways, like understanding yourself better. Plus, I am proud of you that you are planning to tackle these goals again in 2010 and are not giving up! Way to go!

  4. 5 justin neal January 19, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    I suggest you seek peace and meditative time that will deepen and strengthen your time and impact with God the way I do – chewing up the miles in my shoes, shorts, and shirt training for marathons! Guaranteed weight loss, tons of quiet reflection in the solitude and beauty of creation, and a renewed spirit by tasting the success of achievement! Running is an unparalleled and unique union of the most natural, primitive and ancient form of transportation as well as survival technique with what the human spirit most deeply yearns – peaceful simplicity without the lights, sounds, anxieties and pressures of modernity.

  5. 6 Mick January 19, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Very interested to see what the adjustments to your regimine will produce. As a control group, I plan to run every other morning, varying my speed for 8-10 minutes total and see where I’m at in comparison after a year.

    I’ll let you know how it goes.

  6. 7 justin neal January 19, 2010 at 8:00 pm

    Fabulous!

  7. 8 DB February 28, 2010 at 4:49 am

    Hi Zoe. You should have contacted Tom at RomFab after 3 months on that machine. Did you read the ROM instructions. It clearly tells you that you should be scoring in the 100-115 range. When you can consistently score 115 then it is time to up the resistance. If you can’t score 100 then you should lower the resistance. Using the ROM correctly only 4 minutes a day does provide muscle toning benefits and to xperience and maintain a basic level of fitness but it won’t get you into Olympic condition and definitely not mint condition. But it does give you a decent workout (especially if you basically lead a sedentary lifestyle), leaves you feeling better, and is far better than doing nothing at all. However, just be realistic about the results that you can expect to achieve with the ROM. You shouldn’t expect to get muscle definition, ripped and cut with six pack abs. After all the ROM was not designed to provide one with an intense 60 minute fat shredding, muscle building workout as one could get with an exercise regimen designed for that purpose such as P90X.

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    It would have been nice if you also posted your body fat index stats now compared to what they were when you started. Also, it would have been interesting to see if there were changes to your muscles, but I’m not sure there’s a way to measure that.

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