After losing almost 30lbs this year on a diet, I started weight-training in earnest a few weeks ago, with a brutal regime of press-ups and 30lb free weights.
(Not impressed? I don't blame you. It just goes to show how monumentally unfit I was!)
And in my enthusiasm for bulking up, I got sold on the much-touted 'Iron Gym.'
If you have a baby who likes to get up at 6am every morning (like I do) you'll probably already know what an Iron Gym is - after watching the infomercials that play on Comedy Central during ungodly hours.
It's this nifty exercise bar that 'installs in seconds' in your doorway and lets you do a range of pull-ups, chin-ups and other upper body exercises.
I was pretty enthusiastic about the Iron Gym because I'd read that Daniel Craig had sculpted his 'Casino Royale' body doing similar exercises - so after months of dropping heavy hints (and demonstrating that I was actually sticking to my weight lifting) Mummy Militant surprised me with an Iron Gym of my very own.
Mini Militant and I spent twenty minutes putting it together - and although Mini Militant's contributions didn't necessarily match the instructions, I appreciated his enthusiasm. We were pretty impressed with the results, too. It's a good looking, solidly constructed 'thing.'
While we worked, I read though the enclosed guide - a flimsy 9-page book that listed how to put the Iron Gym together, mount it on your doorway and do the nine exercises advertised on the TV.
I was actually pretty disappointed with the guide. For a start, I'm an American consumer, so I was expecting a cheaply produced DVD. Doesn't everything come with DVDs these days? Our cordless kettle even came with a DVD, so I'm surprised the Iron Gym didn't.
But I was more disappointed simply because the guide itself was blithe. The much-lauded '12-week Program' filled about as much page space as a beer label. It simply said to use Iron Gym '3-5 times a week' during the first for weeks, then '5-7 times a week' thereafter. Similarly, the 'diet guide' generically told you to cut out all refined sugar and alcohol and not to each carbs after lunch. That was about it.
Considering the weight-loss and exercise section of Barnes and Noble is so big, I suspect there's slightly more to 'bulking up' than that.
But what really nailed the Iron Gym for me wasn't within the pages of the guide. It was when I clambered to my feet (Mini Militant peering up at me expectantly) and tried to mount it on my door jamb as the instructions had outlined.
And it didn't fit.
Our fifty-year-old wooden doorways were simply too wide - and the Iron Gym had about as much chance of squeezing into place as an elephant squeezing into a shoebox.
This is what the Iron Gym is meant to look like, if you have skinny ass, anorexic, un-American doorways.
So back into the box went the Iron Gym (and Mini Militant found disassembling it much less enjoyable than assembling it.) Mummy Militant dug out the receipt and back it went.
A total flop.
I can't really claim that Iron Gym didn't work, because I never had a chance to test it. It still looked like a pretty nifty product, but the fact that 'fits most doorways' didn't apply to mine makes me very wary of recommending it to other people.
For the record, your doorway needs to be about 5 or 6 inches deep to accommodate the Iron Gym. If you've got big, fat doorways (or tiny, skinny ones) than this 'as seen on TV' product is going to be nothing but a big, fat waste of money. (Fortunately, Mummy Militant bought ours from a store, so we can return it.)
The Militant Ginger verdict? Don't bother.