It was a lazy morning on December 21, 2009 and I was lying in bed, trying to motivate myself to take a jog around my Queens, New York neighborhood. As usual, procrastination set in as I tossed excuses around my head. "It's cold outside and I'll get pneumonia, I might step in dog poop, I don't feel like having a long conversation with the neighbor who always hangs out in the foyer."
I'm certainly not the gym type, so I gain 10 pounds or so each winter and lose it again in the summer. During the warmer months, I tend to swim, bike, and run on a fairly regular basis. The cold puts a crimp in my workout style, and I tend to blame it on Old Man Winter instead of myself.
As all of these reflections were running through my mind, something miraculous happened. WCBS2 "News This Morning" was on in the background. The chatter was low, just loud enough to mask the voice of my annoying upstairs neighbor who insists on screaming into his cell phone. All of a sudden, I snapped out of my inert daze when I heard anchors Kate Sullivan and Maurice DuBois bantering about "The 90 Second Fitness Solution." As someone who's certainly far from a muscle head and hates the gym, the comment immediately piqued my interest. Like a guard dog aroused by a knock on the door, I grabbed the remote and turned up the volume.
Sullivan and Dubois spoke of a miracle workout that took only 90 seconds to complete and still got measurable results. "Damn," I thought. "If I can't do that, then I'm a real fat ass!" As a skeptic by nature, I was far from convinced, but they had me for the segment. Sullivan went on to highlight a book called "The 90 Second Fitness Solution," written by New York City fitness trainer Pete Cerqua. Cerqua was in the studio to talk about the workout, and goofy weatherman John Elliot was going to go through the motions and demonstrate the exercises.
The 90 Second Miracle Workout actually consists of two 90 second workouts, to be performed for a total of three minutes each day. Cerqua explained that the workout was effective because it enabled us to "remove momentum, or all the motions that you don't need and keep what you do need." So far, so good. Get rid of the leftover crap, focus on the meat of the workout, and get it over with in all of three minutes. Sounds like a plan!
Cerqua instructed Elliot of assume a pushup or "plank" position for the first exercise. Cerqua reasoned that anyone can do the workout, even if they cannot do a pushup. From then on, the exercise is pretty straight forward. Hold the pushup position for a total of 90 seconds. Cerqua recommends using a stop watch for the countdown. As Elliot assumed the position, Cerqua enthusiastically lectured "Don't move, that's the key! The not moving is working every muscle in your body pretty much. Triceps, shoulders, chest, back, gluts, hamstrings, abdominals, everybody feels this in their abs the next day." After about 10 seconds of demonstrating, Elliot seemed to be struggling a bit and stopped, as it was time to move on to the next exercise. I was skeptical but excited. After all, Cerqua was in really good shape. Could I look that ripped if I exercised for only three minutes each day?
The second part of the exercise is basically a squat. Don't think of the traditional squat, where you go all the way down to the floor and back up with fast repetitions. Cerqua's version calls for a long and drawn out squat. For example, Elliot was told to squat down a bit and hold the position for 10 seconds. After that, go down another inch and hold for ten more seconds, and so on and so forth until you go all the way down and back up again. Cerqua recommends 5 steps down and 4 steps up, for a total of 90 seconds. After seeing this, I thought "this looks pretty damn easy, but how in the world is 3 minutes ever going to get me toned?" Well, here's a rundown of the progress I've made so far.
I've been following the the 90 Second Fitness Solution every day since December 21, 2009. Not to burst anyone's bubble, but the miracle workout is much harder than it sounds! Although I did fine with the squats, 90 seconds in pushup position was brutal at first. After about 40 seconds, my arms were quivering like a cheap piece of Chinese spaghetti. After about 50 seconds, I would collapse. Rather than beat myself up because I couldn't complete a 90 second workout, I decided to make a modification.
I did the squat part for the full 90 seconds, and cut the plank part down to 40 seconds. After about 2 months, I was completely comfortable in the plank position for 40 seconds. It was clear that I had made progress, so I decided to kick it up a notch to 45 seconds. I'm still at 45 seconds, and it's getting better. Maybe in another month, I'll bump it up to 50 seconds. Sometimes, if I really want to feel good about my workout dedication, I'll do the workout in the morning and before I go to bed at night.
In the six months that I've been following The 90 Second Fitness Solution, I've noticed tangible results. My legs are much more toned and defined. My thighs are leaner and my muscle is more noticeable. I can say the same for my arms. Although I'm clearly no Arnold Schwarzenegger yet, my arms are more ripped than they have ever been before.
I'm a bit disappointed that the 90 Second Fitness Solution has been so ineffective on my abs. All of my fat is in my stomach area, and that's the one spot I need to concentrate on in order to improve my appearance. Cerqua says that The 90 Second Fitness Solution benefits all major muscle groups in the body, and I don't disagree. I can feel my abs straining when I'm doing the workout, but I don't think the 90 Second Miracle Workout is going to solve that problem. Maybe Cerqua can invent a 90 second stomach workout to compliment the other two exercises? Overall, I'm pleased with the 90 Second Miracle Workout and I'm glad that I began to follow the routine. After all, it's better than doing nothing. Although the results are slower than I would like, there's nothing wrong with slowly getting diesel, 90 seconds at a time!