Everyone knows America is the land of convenience. From fast food to internet shopping, play-on-demand movies, and drive-through coffee shops, we’re gluttons for instant gratification, and not only when it comes to consumption. We also demand instant results when it comes to our fitness, and that’s a tall order when it comes right alongside a Quarter Pounder with fries.
Leave it to Hollywood to come up with the instant fitness solution: the ROM four-minute cardio cross-trainer. Retailing at $14, 615, the ROM (Range of Motion) machine is a piece of equipment not unlike a combination of the step machine and rowing machine you’ll find in your average gym-at least in appearance. Its promise, though, is unique: Work out on the ROM for four minutes a day and you’ll be fitter than if you’d gone to the gym each day for an hour.
As a daily exerciser, my curiosity was piqued, so I headed out to the Santa Barbara Pilates Studio to test one of the city’s few ROMs. Owner Kristen Williams ushered me inside and within minutes put me to work on the upper-body portion of the machine. Four minutes later I was sweating and breathing deeply, my muscles burning. Since I wouldn’t be back the next day, she put my lower body through its paces as well, for a total of eight minutes of exercise.
I’ve been back for two more ROM workouts since, and they always leave me feeling energized, whether or not I really burn more calories than in my regular 45 minutes of trail running or kickboxing. The truth is, I don’t actually care that much about maximizing my workout’s efficiency; I exercise because I love the way it feels, it’s social, and it’s a way of life. But if you think the four-minute full-body workout sounds too good to be true, there’s only one way to find out.