Open contempt for those in better shape is first step to a healthier you

imageLike many Americans, I recently stripped down, prepared myself for the worst, and stepped onto the scale. Soon after, I retrieved the scale from the front yard and accepted the fact that, yes — it was probably defective.

At a friend’s suggestion, I tried our neighbor’s scale. This led to the discovery that, of the 23 scales I tested within a five-mile radius of our home, every single one was off by exactly 11 pounds.

Being a journalist, I had to wonder: Was this a widespread problem? Were we being duped into needless exercise by faulty scales?!?

I immediately brought this to the attention of my reporters here at the newspaper who, realizing the implications, told me to stay out of their candy drawers.

The truth is, I have no one but myself to blame for putting on these extra pounds. This is why, every year around this time, people just like me make a commitment to start going to the gym.

I know this because I recognize most of these people from last year. We all have the same expression: grim determination mixed with a sense of purpose in knowing that, afterward, there’s a fast-food place nearby. We come dressed with headbands and towels over our shoulders even though we spend most of our time wandering around the gym looking for water bottles.  Continue reading

Open contempt for those in better shape is first step to a healthier you

imageLike millions of Americans, I recently stripped down, prepared myself for the worst, and stepped onto the scale. Soon after, I retrieved the scale from the front yard and accepted the fact that, yes — it probably was defective. At my wife’s suggestion, I tried our neighbor’s scale. This led to the discovery that, of the 23 scales I tested within a five-mile radius of our home, every single one was off by exactly 11 pounds. Being a journalist, I had to wonder: Was this a widespread problem? Were we being duped into needless exercise by faulty scales?

I immediately brought this to the attention of my editor, who, realizing the implications, told me to stay out of her candy drawer.

The truth is, I have no one but myself to blame for putting on these extra pounds. This is why, every year around this time, people just like me make a commitment to start going to the gym. I know this because I recognize most of these people from last year. We all have the same expression: grim determination mixed with a sense of purpose in knowing that, afterward, there’s a KFC right across the street. We come dressed with headbands and towels over our shoulders even though we spend most of our time wandering around the gym looking for water bottles.  Continue reading

My firefighter fitness test shows I’m getting older and faster… say WHAT?

I shaved HOW many minutes off my time?

I shaved HOW many minutes off my time?

As a volunteer with our local fire department, I am required to take an annual physical agility test to prove I can, among other things, walk a balance beam and drag 100 pounds of concrete mix — things we often do as construction workers firefighters. The test includes seven stations that need to be completed during a running clock within 15 minutes or less. And there’s no station called “refreshment swig” or “brownie lift.”

I asked.

The seven stations of the test are:
1) Crawl and Lift: Cross the fire station bay on your hands and knees three times, stopping to lift a 20-pound roll of fire hose over your head each time. Think of it as shopping on Black Friday.

2) Hose drag: Pretty much what it sounds like. Drag 100 feet of hose for 50 feet in one direction, then the other. Kind of like taking your kids to the grocery store.

3) Lift and Carry: A dummy weighing 100 pounds is lifted and carried 30 feet in one direction, then carried back. I’ve seen this happen in bars at closing time.

4) Ladder Carry: Demonstrate the proper lifting technique and carry the ladder 50 yards in one direction, set it down, pick it up and carry it back. This is similar to helping your wife move furniture. Continue reading

Apparently, not getting to the gym adds 10 pounds of guilt to everything

image Forgive me for I have sinned; it’s been nearly two months since my last workout.

That was my thought as I entered the gym this week, ready to pay my penance in the company of those who’d kept the faith in my absence. I had my moves planned: enter quickly, cut left and directly into the weight room, bypassing the front desk and the gym’s owner to avoid a possible “confessional” situation.

But of course I couldn’t be that lucky.

“Hey there, Ned!”

I stopped in mid-stride, so close to the pivot that would’ve carried me to freedom. “Hey, Jim,” I said, smiling meekly. Apologetically.

Pathetically, really.

Jim leaned forward on the desk, dressed in his usual sweatpants and T-shirt lightly stained with perspiration after leading a 50-minute aerobics workout that helped trim his ballooning body fat from .08 down to .05. He looked at me and folded his hands together on the desktop, as if ready to pray for me. Continue reading

Parents: Lung capacity is key when choosing inflatable toy

(Note: Judging from the response to last week’s launch of “Flashback Sundays,” I think we’re on to something! Or at least many of you were on something at the time. In either case, with spring break on the way, here’s another post from the early archives, back when I thought “Freshly Pressed” was the tagline for a fashion blogger…)

Inflated whale We live less than 15 minutes from our favorite lake. The problem is, it also happens to be everyone else’s favorite lake, which means in order to get a spot within the vicinity of actual water, you have to be there when the gates open at noon and participate in something similar to the Oklahoma Land Rush. It’s not uncommon to see small children strapped to inflatable toys and tossed ahead of the crowd in order to claim prime territory.

As a parent, it’s not a gamble I’m willing to take with my child. Especially since, as a general rule, it only counts if your child is in an upright position once they skid to a stop.

The good news is that once the initial pandemonium is over, things generally settle into a state of peaceful co-existence as, one by one, parents begin passing out while blowing up inflatable toys. Sadly, the evolutionary process has not been able to keep up with the growing demand for larger and larger inflatable animals. Unless you are a pearl diver by trade, chances are your lung capacity is nowhere near what it needs to be in order to fully inflate your child’s favorite water toy. Continue reading

Open contempt for those in better shape is the first step to a healthier you

Speed up your workouts by avoiding eye contact with anyone in better shape than you.

Speed up your workouts by avoiding eye contact with anyone in better shape than you.

Like millions of Americans, I recently stripped down, prepared myself for the worst, and stepped onto the scale. Soon after, I retrieved the scale from the front yard and accepted the fact that, yes — it probably was defective. At my daughter’s suggestion, I tried our neighbor’s scale. This led to the discovery that, of the 23 scales I tested within a five-mile radius of our home, every single one was off by exactly seven pounds. Being a journalist, I had to wonder: Was this a widespread problem? Were we being duped into needless exercise by faulty scales?!

I immediately brought this to the attention of my editor, who, realizing the implications, told me to stay out of her candy drawer.

The truth is, I have no one but myself to blame for putting on these extra pounds. This is why, every year around this time, people just like me make a commitment to start going to the gym. I know this because I recognize most of these people from last year. We all have the same expression: grim determination mixed with a sense of purpose in knowing that, afterward, there’s a KFC right across the street. We come dressed with headbands and towels over our shoulders even though we spend most of our time wandering around the gym looking for water bottles. Continue reading