Beware of Exercise

Update: The group “One Dozen Strong for Jacques Cousteau for President” now has 16 members! Nothing can stop us now, except Mr. Cousteau’s continued French deadness.

Primary elections here yesterday – my friend Mark Walker lost his race for state treasurer, which is really too bad, as his opponent went out of his way to smear him and it worked. The more earth-shattering news is that Jason Chaffetz unseated six-term congressman Chris Cannon, one of the good guys in Congress who didn’t deserve to be ousted. I don’t think this bodes well for Utah or the nation at large.

I don’t want to talk politics anymore. Too depressing.

I’ve lost over twelve pounds these past two months as a result of diet and exercise – WAY too much exercise – and I’m close to my personal goal of having my chest stick out further than my gut. That’s never been the case at any time in my life, due largely to the fact that even when my gut was relatively tiny, my pecs were even tinier. So I’m currently in the best physical I’ve ever been in, which is really, really sad, if you think about it for too long.

My wife teased me about how much I would moan and complain after my personal training sessions, which involve five minutes of one-minute exercises and then a single minute of rest. This sequence consists of a circuit, and the goal is to complete five circuits per session. Each rest minute goes by at lightning speed, whereas each exercise minute lasts about fourteen years. So Mrs. Cornell took to calling me “Rest Boy,” because she’s a tough physical therapist who doesn’t put up with crap from her patients. I learned this firsthand when I broke my arm about six years ago, and she, as my own personal therapist nursing me back to health, dubbed me the whiniest patient she’s ever had.

Then she came with me to one of the classes.

This is a great thing, because on the rare occasions that someone else is in the class, it means the trainer can’t focus entirely on me. As such, I can slack off occasionally when he’s not looking. It was also great because she was forced to concede that the exercises were quite brutal, and even though she’s in much better shape than I am, it was quite a workout for her, too.

Bottom line: she doesn’t call me “Rest Boy” anymore. Although she probably will after she reads this post.

The hardest exercises are the ones that don’t require repetition, just sheer endurance. Squats and curls and all the aerobic stuff can vary in intensity, but that’s not true with, say, a wall sit, where you’re forced to bend your knees with your back to the wall and put your hand in the air, holding that position for what feels like an eternal sixty seconds. We’ve taken to punishing our kids with wall sits, and initial results are encouraging thus far.

Or planking. Planking sucks, man. That’s when you get down on your elbows and hold your body still, like a plank, for one of the longest minutes of your life. Side planks, where you do the same thing, only on your side, are just as awful.

The Superman may be the worst of all, though. You lie on your stomach and strike a “Superman” pose, lifting your arms and legs above the ground as if you’re flying. But trust me, you’re not – gravity becomes a major, major issue.

This morning’s exercises were especially wicked because I was up twice with three-year-old Stalliondo, who had severe diarrhea in the middle of the night. I shouldn’t complain – his nocturnal crapping saved our lives on a fiery Christmas night – but it put me in a crankier mood than I normally am when I’m Supermanning.

This is the best time of the week, though. To paraphrase Homer Simpson, it’s the longest time before more exercise.

Punishment, Bribery, and Tolkien
Newborn Twins

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