17 February 2010

Weird Wednesday: QuickGym

OK, have you ever seen an ad for the QuickGym ROM Machine (ROM = Range Of Motion)? The thing costs $14,615 and offers to get you into shape by doing a 4-minute workout.

The sales pitch involves some mathematical calculations, criticisms of "exercise experts" who don't believe the QuickGym claims, references to a few studies supporting the claims, testimonials, and a 30-day rental offer.

I read through the studies (they were remarkably short), and didn't come away convinced. Apparently high intensity interval training can be a time effective approach... but when the benefits are described as "small but significant" I begin to think I can find better uses for almost $15K. Didn't Carl Sagan say something about extraordinary claims requiring extraordinary evidence? And I'd add that extraordinary costs should deliver extraordinary results.

Does the QuickGym actually work? I don't know - but I do know I'd want a lot more evidence before clunking down almost $15,000. I'm sure there's a project leadership lesson in there somewhere...


RhetTbull said...

I'm not familiar with this product or its claims though I've seen the ad many times in airline seat-back magazines. The general principle of high-intensity interval training is sound. Tabata training, named for the researcher who's documented it, has been shown to be quite effective with only 4 minutes a day and is used by many athletes. The key, though, is the high in high intensity. You have to work out at almost 100% max exertion, basically, so hard you'd puke if you work out any harder for 20 seconds, then a short recovery then do it all over again for 4 minutes total. If you don't feel like laying in a pool of your own vomit when it's all over, you're not doing it right. It's obviously not something you can do every day, but something you include as part of an overall workout program. I use high-intensity interval training and find it very helpful.

So, back to this machine. I can almost guarantee that the person who is lazy enough to try to squeeze a full workout into 4 minutes is not the type of person willing to workout at the intensity needed to get much benefit from such a regimen. I also agree that anyone wanting to sell such a contraption for $15K had better provide a heck of a lot of evidence. The $15K machine had better show $15K of value-added over the free workout I get every day (OK, I do buy nice shoes....so it's not totally free) or why bother? To replace my inexpensive, simple workout with an expensive, complex workout better add a whole lot of value over just doing the inexpensive, simple workout a little longer or a little more frequently. Yeah, I do see a project management lesson in there somewhere!

The Dan Ward said...

Great comments, Rhet! Nicely done!