Okay, I admit it: I am a soft-sell for books. I always want to read whatever has just been reviewed on NPR or Jon Stewart. I think to myself, I’m going to remember that book, and I’m going to go out and get it! Does it ever happen? Of course not. My mind is a trained sieve.
Then imagine my surprise when I got to the library last night and I actually remembered one of the books I’d been reading reviews on earlier in the day! Okay, okay, to be honest, that statement doesn’t really warrant an exclamation mark. That was totally trumped-up self-aggrandisement. The only reason I remembered the book at all was that it was written by Tim Ferriss, the guy whose blog I read to get me started on my menu. I get no gold stars for that one. Maybe a bronze star. I mean, I did get to the library with two wheelchair-bound septuagenarians*, and I kept one of them from actually stealing a book. I should get props for that, right?
Well, so here I go in search of the Tim Ferriss book, The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman. I look at that title again, and I think, Man, there’s something for every demographic right there! But then the joke’s on me – this thing is 565 pages, the size of a Shakespeare textbook, and, to quote the book itself, “big enough to club a baby seal.” It’s also amazingly well-written. It’s got voice. I never thought I would actually have a hard time putting down a ‘health’ book, but here it is – the book I want to read all the way through (even against the book’s own advice!).
The book makes some really good points, and I went against my nature and took action on many of them today. I even had a nurse help me do a body measurement so that I could track change**. The biggest golden nugget I got out of today’s reading, though, was the concept of the Minimal Effective Dose, the least amount of effort it takes to get the result.
With that in mind, when I went to the gym tonight (for the first time in well over a month), I didn’t try to kill myself with a grand-tour workout. I tried to get everything primed to work without overdoing. I realized that there are so many times when I fall into the trap of thinking that working out longer (or harder) is getting results faster. Ferriss points out, “Exceeding your MED can freeze progress for weeks or months.” And how true is that? I think back on all the times I worked out so hard that I couldn’t move for days. Was that effective? No, it was damaging and set me back instead of set me further along my path. Less time and more benefit? I’m really intrigued by the idea that there are some exercises that will target my goal areas and allow me more time to do the things I love.
*Someone aged 70 to 79.
**A scary 207.25 total inches. But, hey, gotta know the starting point to measure progress.