I Recently Joined a Health Club. Eventually, I Might Even Try Using It.

I Recently Joined a Health Club. Eventually, I Might Even Try Using It.

health club - buff guyI’m a little discouraged. You see, about six months ago, I joined a health club with all the latest fitness equipment. But in all that time, I have hardly lost any weight. And by “hardly” more specifically I mean I’ve gained five pounds. I have seen no improvement in my strength, flexibility or endurance since joining the club.

There are several possible explanations for these disappointing results… most notably perhaps the fact that I’ve only gone to the club five times – and three of those visits were to catch the game on their large screen TV in the juice bar.

But in my defense, there are many perfectly valid reasons for my slow start. First, I had to re-organize the Christmas decorations in the garage in alphabetical order. Then there was that project to restore several dozen art projects our kids made in elementary school, some of which were missing buttons and sparkles in critical places. And most recently, Downton Abbey started Season 6. It’s a serious time commitment, keeping abreast of whether the Earl of Grantham is going to lay off the under butler or the senior lady’s maid. I would not want to have to make that difficult decision.

My point is, I’ve been extremely busy lately.

Make no mistake. I’m not lazy. I love the idea of getting in shape. I’m just not particularly fond of the “working out” part. I love my health club’s many amenities, like the hot tub, sauna, and juice bar, which they call the “Barbell Bar.” Catchy name, eh? I’m just not crazy about the club’s complex fitness machines, some of which were clearly inspired by medieval torture instruments.

Oh, sure, we all may like the results of doing 50 chin-ups or skipping rope for 30 minutes. But no honest person can look you in the eye and truthfully claim they have fun doing it. If they say that, they are lying – either that or they may be having a brain aneurism, in which case call 911 immediately.

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Tracking my progress towards a slimmer, fitter me

Tracking my progress towards a slimmer, fitter me

Over the past few years, I’ve noticed I’ve begun to put on a few pounds. I noticed this primarily because my wife kept saying, “Hey, you’ve put on a few pounds. When are you going to do something about it?” 

In my younger years, I used to treat my body like a temple. But lately my body has become more of a Temple of Doom. So I’ve decided to do something about it. 

I tried various fad diets: the Nothing-but-fruit diet, the Everything-but-fruit diet, the Mango & Salmon milk shake diet, the “All-You-Can-Eat-Just-So-Long-As-It’s-Cabbage” diet. None of them worked, in part because I usually gave up after about 40 minutes. 

I recently discovered – much to my chagrin – that there are no short cuts to fitness and good health. So I came up with eight very simple daily commitments in the areas of fitness and nutrition. I once raced in the New York Marathon. (Okay, meandered might be more accurate description of my pace.) Heck, by comparison, this should be a piece of cake. Drat! Now I’m craving a piece of cake. 

I knew I would not succeed unless I wrote down my new commitments.  I was later informed that writing them down and shoving the list in my file drawer would not be enough to ensure success. I had to actually track my progress. So far, I’m off to a bit of a shaky start. 

DAY 4  
Daily Commitment Actual Results
Healthy breakfast with fruit Special K with fresh-cut strawberries. Added three tablespoons of sugar just for texture.
Stretch 10 minutes Forgot again. But did climb back up the stairs twice because I forgot my wallet, and then forgot my car keys. Could feel it in my calves.
Drink 8 glasses of water Drank four glasses. Which is four more than I have ever drunk in the past 25 years, so I consider this a promising start. Man, I gotta pee.
No junk food. Try almonds or carrots Brought bag of carrots to work. Accidently left them in the car all day. Oops. Spoiled. Gave carrots to a raccoon rummaging in dumpster.
45-minute aerobic workout Did 20 minutes but ran out of time when I suddenly remembered I had an early morning meeting at the office next Tuesday.
Weights for 30 minutes Had to lift the bed so my wife could retrieve our frightened cat. That bed weighs a ton. So I’d say I did my fair share of weights. Check.
No eating after 8pm Okay, I buckled. I had a PBJ sandwich at 9:30. But at least I got my daily dose of fruit with the slathering of grape jelly.
Floss teeth before bed Totally spaced. Will floss first thing tomorrow morning



DAY 9  
Daily Commitment Actual Results
Healthy breakfast with fruit Running late. Wolfed down three fruit roll-ups. Green Apple Blast. Contains 5% real fruit. You know what they say. An apple rollup a day keeps… I forget the rest.
Stretch 10 minutes Bent over to tie my shoes. Both of them. Felt it in the hammies.
Drink 8 glasses of water Had three Diet Cokes, and one 20 oz. Mountain Dew Code Red. Pretty sure they all are mostly water.
No junk food. Try almonds or carrots Had two Almond Joy candy bars at 3pm. Was leaning towards a Mounds bar, but was committed to getting my share of almonds.
45-minute aerobic workout Only did 15 minutes on the exercycle but watched CNN the entire time so it was kind of an aerobic workout for my brain.
Weights for 30 minutes Weighted in line for 30 minutes at Starbucks for my double tall caramel Frappuccino.
No eating after 8pm Had a 20-ounce malted chocolate milkshake at 8:45 p.m. I never said anything about not drinking after 8pm.
Floss teeth before bed Arrgh! Totally spaced – again. Guess I’ll need to come up with a better system to remind me than tying floss to my thumb.

DAY 16

Daily Commitment Actual Results
Healthy breakfast with fruit Had two bowls of Fruit Loops. The cereal even has “fruit” in its name, so it’s got to be healthy. Note to self: re: Count Chocula. Apparently chocolate is not a fruit. Bummer.
Stretch 10 minutes In explaining to my wife why I needed to buy a new set of golf clubs, I stretched the truth for over 15 minutes. Counting that as stretching.
Drink 8 glasses of water Drank 32-ounce Big Gulp. Some new flavor called Cranberry Splash. Pretty sure cranberry is a fruit – or maybe a vegetable – so once again, think I aced this one.
No junk food. Try almonds or carrots Scarfed down two slices of carrot cake – with almond slivers on top. Killed two birds with one stone. Sa-weet.
45-minute aerobic workout Went to health club to run on treadmill. Opted for the Jacuzzi instead. Lots of air bubbles, so that’s sort of aerobic, I think.
Weights for 30 minutes Fell asleep in Jacuzzi so ran out of time. Double up tomorrow.
No eating after 8pm Had a chocolate-covered donut and rocky road ice cream at 9:45pm but technically it was only 7:45pm in Hawaii. Show me where I said it had to be 8pm in my time zone! Nowhere!
Floss teeth before bed Totally spaced. But in my defense, I was thinking about it. Then my wife distracted me by asking me how my day was. So it’s her fault.

Fitness program - Fruit LoopsI have to say, this is much harder than I thought. It’s now day 21 and frankly, my progress has slowed down a bit. Today my exercise consisted of channel surfing. So technically, that’s a kind of surfing. And surfing’s aerobic. 

And while I was channel surfing, I saw this infomercial about a breakthrough new miracle fat-burning pill that melts away fat while you sleep. One customer claimed she lost 50 pounds in two weeks. I have to try this out. And here’s the best part: No flossing required. 

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base. 

PS:  If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by sharing it on Facebook, posting a comment or giving it a. Better yet, why not set a goal to forward this post to 500 of your closest friends. Better write down this goal before you forget it. 

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2013

Forget about Low-Impact Aerobics. Try the latest fitness craze: No-Impact Yoga

Forget about Low-Impact Aerobics.
Try the latest fitness craze: No-Impact Yoga

In my younger years, I used to jog five miles a day, do 50 sit-ups each morning, and row 15 miles to work. I was a nationally recognized fitness expert and author of the best seller, Earlobes of Steel. But now that I am older, I know better. At best, all that exercise will add less than 30 years to my life.

Not long ago, I tried out a fitness class called sports yoga. I stuck with it for what seemed like forever, by which I mean nearly four sessions. There was just one small problem: yoga was really hard. Try as I may, I could never get my left foot to wrap around the back of my neck. I never got the knack for how to balance my body off the ground using just my thumbs.

I even wrote about my nightmarish yoga experience previously in a post called The World’s Least Flexible Man – the 100% true retelling of my very first yoga class. So I hung up my yoga mat. I’m simply not that young anymore. My body is no longer capable of contorting like a human pretzel. And before you know it, I’ll be celebrating my 80th birthday. (Okay, technically not for another 23 years, but in geologic terms, that’s a blink of an eye).

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America ranks #1 in Personal Energy Conservation (laziness)

America ranks #1 in Personal Energy Conservation (laziness)

One of President Obama’s campaign promises was to address the energy crisis. It’s one of his top priorities just after healthcare reform, job creation, education reform and improving his Baseball Opening Day Ceremonial Curve Ball (needs a lot of work).

I beamed with pride when I read that on one front, America is making amazing progress: Energy conservation. According to a recent survey by the widely respected and completely unheard of news publication, The Daily Beast, the United States now ranks #1 in the entire world in personal energy conservation.  Okay, if you want to get technical, it actually called the USA the laziest nation on the planet. But I say it’s all in your perspective. Personally, I would offer my American countrymen a high five but I don’t want to have to get up out of my chair. Turns out, according to this report, we Americans rank:

  • Number one in per person daily caloric intake
  • Number one in number of trips to fast food restaurants per year
  • Number one in per person hours of daily television viewing and
  • Dead last in the amount of time spent exercising per day, or as I prefer to think of it, first in personal energy conservation!

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