I read Hold It! You’re Exercising Wrong: Your Prescription for First-Class Fitness Fast! the first time in 1999. I was about to give up on exercise completely because I exercised all the time, yet I never lost weight. I was chubby and had low self-esteem. I wanted to tell people I ran into, “I really shouldn’t look like this. I do workouts from a weightlifting book by Lou Ferrigno. I do step aerobics, too, I promise.”
Searching the fitness section of Chamblin Bookmine (the most awesome bookstore in northeast Florida, by the way), author Edward Jackowski’s title practically jumped out and grabbed me. I knew I had to be doing something wrong to work out so often and have absolutely no results. And when I read the book, I discovered that there were many people in the same situation. The reason is that there are many fitness programs out there, but they are often directed at anyone and everyone instead of targeting the appropriate body types.
Jackowski lists four body types, according to where one puts on weight. Cones are broader of shoulder and narrower at the hips, putting more weight and muscle on the upper halves of their bodies (usually men but not always). Rulers gain weight evenly from top to bottom, with small to medium hips. Spoons are the opposites of cones, amassing weight on the lower halves of their bodies, particularly thighs. And finally, hourglasses (most often women) are proportional on top and bottom, usually with slender waists.
Body types are genetic, so there’s no way to change that. Jackowski, however, details plans for each type, listing which exercises to avoid (because they accentuate the negative aspects of those particular body types) and which to add to a person’s routine to become as fit as possible. I found out, since I was a spoon, Lou-Ferrigno-style weightlifting and step aerobics were the two last things that I should have done. As soon as I adopted Jackowski’s workout, I became physically fit within a few short months.
The most gratifying part was running into friends several months after losing weight, and they looked at me and asked where “the rest of me” was, since there wasn’t as much of me as there had been before.
There are many things I love about Jackowski’s workout. First, he explains why we need to do certain things, like a warm up and stretches and why they need to go in a particular order. And the exercises he recommends don’t require any special or expensive equipment. If I don’t have time to do a full workout, I can pick and choose exercises and tailor the whole thing to my limited schedule. Since 2009, I have also added the spoon-appropriate exercises from P90X and Spartacus.
The central component to the You’re Exercising Wrong workout, which is challenging for many people, is jump rope. According to Jackowski, “you burn more fat with rope jumping than with any other exercise” (81). I try to jump rope two to three times a week, and at one point between babies, I could do so continuously for ten minutes. It sounded impossible at first, but I built up gradually from 30 seconds to one minute on up. If an average girl who barely participated in team sports can do it, anyone with two functional legs can. Even if you’re skeptical about the jump rope part, I highly recommend this book if you want to get into shape and learn more about your own body type.