We're all looking for ways to stick to our New Year's resolutions, most of which have to do with health and fitness. (Why is it that we always make these resolutions while stuffing deep-fried canapes and eggnog into our mouths at the stroke of midnight?) Well, the little elves at Best Bets (who keep their girlish figures by working off season at the Canyon Ranch spa) have found three ways to start: the ultimate four-minute workout, a trike for grownups, and raw food. Let's take a look.
Four Minute Workout
What if someone told you that you could get a full-body workout in four minutes? You might think they'd had a bit too much of the bubbly or that they had been up late watching too many infomercials. What if a doctor with 24 years of experience told you the same thing? "The first time I saw the machine I thought it looked like a cross between a medieval torture chamber and a Harley motorcycle," says Paul Bahder, a physician and homeopath who has been in practice for 24 years (his offices are at 65 Tamarack Circle in Skillman).
Bahder, who turns 56 next month, admits he hates exercising and is always on the lookout for new ways to get the job done. "Basically," he says, "I'm very lazy." So when he met Jonathan Gordon, the brains behind the Silk soy drinks, through a professional connection, and Gordon told him about the four-minute workout, Bahder stood up and took notice. This was about three months ago, and the only place Bahder could find one of these machines, which is custom-made in California, was at a gym in Catonsville, Maryland, called Rom Works.
Here's the skinny on how this contraption works. "The idea is a little misunderstood," says Bahder. "(Getting fit) is not about getting your heart rate up; it's about getting your cells to use enough oxygen to get an aerobic benefit. The machine helps you utilize more muscles with greater range of motion. If it were about getting your heart rate up then stress would be the greatest workout, but with stress your heart is going but it's not an aerobic workout. It's the equivalent of putting on the gas and the brakes at the same time - you're using energy but you're not getting anywhere."
The Four-Minute Workout has two stations, one that works the upper body and one that works the lower body, each activating a greater percentage of muscles in a full range of motion workout than you can get via standard exercise. Another bennie is that there is no impact, reducing wear and tear on the body. It is powered by your own momentum via a flywheel, which provides greater resistance the harder you work. And there are no electrical parts, just a computer that measures functions of the machine and your performance.
"In Maryland I saw someone with emphysema in their late 70s work out on it, also a number of people who had had a heart attack and were doing rehab work, and people with back pain. I also saw a very athletic 20-year-old who, when they got off, almost collapsed it was such a good workout," says Bahder. The first time he tried it he felt "a pleasant tiredness and about two to three hours later a sense of well-being or euphoria."
Bahder forked over $15,000 to buy a Four-Minute Workout machine and is renting space for it at 10 Vreeland Drive in Skillman. The fee is $50 per month.The first three sessions are free. If you decide to continue, there is no initiation fee and no contract. Bahder recommends a four-minute workout five times a week, alternating between an upper body and a lower body workout. A UCLA study found the four-minute workout's effectiveness equal or better than 20 to 45 minutes on a treadmill three to five times per week, and a Japanese study found that with the machine there was more fat loss over a 24-hour period than with 60 minutes of endurance training on a treadmill, stationary bike, or stepper.
Then, of course, there's the celebrity sell: Tony Robbins, the motivational speaker, has three; other celebrity owners include Paula Abdul, Sylvester Stallone, Tom Cruise, and John Travolta. Bahder himself is hooked: "If this enterprise doesn't work, I'll keep the machine for myself. At this point I'm very attached to it."
The Four-Minute Workout, 10 Vreeland Drive, Suite 106, Skillman, 609-924-2282. www.fourminuteworkout.com.
I Want my Trikke
'My issue with exercise is that I've always wanted to do something that I enjoy," says Paul Holder, whose "day job" is heading up P.K. Edwards & Associates, an executive search firm in the banking and investment management fields at 475 Wall Street. "I was biking, an hour or two hours at a time, and my legs would hurt, and I just got bored. Then I rollerbladed. Every year or so I had to find a new exercise - a rowing machine, a stepper. My garage is full of this stuff."
When Holder took his family to the State Fair in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 2003 he saw the answer to his exercise woes - the Trikke (rhymes with bike). He describes the Trikke, which is made of rustproof aircraft-grade aluminum, as "a poor man's Segwey - a cross between cross-country skiing and rollerblading. It's a full body exercise, and you're getting aerobic benefits." Holder, who lives on Sayre Drive in Princeton Landing, bought a Trikke for $275 and takes it all throughout Princeton, riding three to five miles at a clip.
"The hardest thing is going up a hill but I can do it," he says, adding that beginners should stick to flat, dry surfaces like a basketball or tennis court until they get the hang of it. "It's got the benefits of both cycling and inline skating. You move like a skater, and put in cuts like surfing or skiing, like a carving motion." There's a kid's model too, the Trikke 5, which Holder's nine-year-old daughter rides. His three-year-old daughter sometimes rides on his with him. "Teens do freestyling tricks, spins, and wheelies on them."
Holder, who earned a degree in economics and accounting from Rutgers in 1986 and an MBA from Rider in 1991, is now the exclusive Princeton area dealer. "I bought mine and just being out there everyone who saw me stopped me and asked me about it. That was one of my motivations." He says he traces his entrepreneurial spirit to when he was a teenager and had a very serious accident. "I realized how short life can be. I reach for things now. There are dreamers and there are doers, and I'm a doer."
Trikke, 609-514-8575. Available in four models for children and adults, $139 to $379, which includes a half-hour tutorial. The most common adult model, the Trikke 8, is $199. Www.trikke.com.
Eating in the Raw
It's rough being gorgeous. Supermodel Carol Alt - who gained fame through her appearances on countless magazine covers, and in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issues, calendars, posters, exercise videos, plays, TV shows, and roles in more than 65 films - says all that hard work wreaked havoc on her body, causing chronic health issues. She suffered from headaches, allergies, and stomach problems. She also had trouble controlling her weight.
Alt will speak at the Robert Wood Johnson Hamilton Center for Health & Wellness on Thursday, January 27, on her first book, "Eating in the Raw," which touts the health benefits of uncooked food. She will be joined at the event with chefs from the Whole Food Market who will conduct a cooking demonstration.
Nearly nine years ago Alt began a raw food regimen and says that within days her headaches disappeared, her allergies began to clear up, and her stomach stopped hurting. Alt also discovered that she was able to eat as much as she wanted, whenever she wanted, without fear of gaining weight. "It never occurred to me that my health and happiness could be directly affected, and even destroyed, by the assumption that the food I ate had to be cooked," says Alt. "At 43, I no longer have any of the problems I had at 43. 'Eating in the Raw' is my effort to introduce others to a sensibility that I feel saved my life."
Supermodel Carol Alt speaks on her book, "Eating in the Raw," Thursday, January 27, 7 p.m., RWJ Hamilton Center for Health & Wellness, 3100 Quaker Bridge Road, Mercerville. $10. Registration required. Call the Friends' Health Connection (a non-profit organization providing support to individuals and families with health problems), 800-483-7436.