Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Working out Working Out

It takes a certain amount of confidence to exercise in front of other people – or even outside, for that matter, if there is the chance that a passing driver might catch a glimpse of you huffing and puffing along.  It’s as if there is a fitness minimum that an exerciser needs to attain before their efforts stop being an unsightly embarrassment.  I remember my first foray into structured exercise was a couple of years ago when I signed up for a Parks and Rec class called “Body Blast.” I was skeptical about having my body blasted, but a friend wanted company, so I agreed to give it a whirl – and I’ll tell you, I hated every humiliating minute of it.  It felt like the instructor spent the whole session making an example out of my poor form as I feebly attempted coordinated limb movements (this may not be true, but it is how it felt).  Later in the class, the instructor paired me with an experienced student to do some resistance training with a giant rubber band.  The idea was to use the strength of your partner to create tension in the band, which I sorta understood – but I didn’t expect the person to pull quite so hard – long story short, the only blasting to occur that morning was the propulsion of the band snapping into my partner’s face.   I never went back.

So for those fitness neophytes that feel ready to take a first wobbly, Bambi-like step toward a healthier tomorrow, I have the greatest sympathy and a couple of suggestions:  The first is to do your jogging after dark when no one can see you (warning: this is incredibly dangerous).   The other is to come to the library and borrow some fitness DVDs.   The DVDs are a great option because you can sweat and contort in the privacy of your own climate controlled environs, plus you get the added strength-building benefits found in moving your coffee table back and forth.  And while I’m handing out suggestions, I have two things to keep in mind about the fitness DVDs:

1) It is important to pick a DVD that has someone famous on the cover, preferably a fitness celebrity.  The others have a much lower production value and the workout actually feels like it was fished out of a bargain bin. 

2)  Don’t forget to carefully read the DVD case to find out what equipment the workout will require.  While some require no equipment, others expect you to have handy all manner of home gym accoutrements.  You wouldn’t want to be caught off guard when your fitness celebrity magically manifests a crucial device and you are left scrambling to improvise a dumbbell with a can of chunky beef stew or a stair-step with a cardboard box full of old phone books.

Other than that, just have fun with it – it’s almost like watching T.V.

Ransom - Reference

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