Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Fitness Goal = Insanity

"Fitness Goal: Just Another Way to Say Insanity"
By Stephen B. Bagley

A friend of mine set a fitness goal to climb a mountain. Naturally, we immediately attempted to have her committed on grounds of general insanity, but a judge told us that climbing a mountain is not a sign of mental illness. We have to abide by his ruling, although it’s hard to trust a man in such an unflattering dress. A bit of color on his collar and sleeves  would brighten up the whole courtroom and give it a much needed festive air, particularly during sentencing.

I’ve always had a love/hate/hate/LOATHE relationship with fitness goals, mostly because I never reach one. If I do set one, there’s a good deal on tacos, and that’s the end of that. But they’re good. I mean, the tacos are good, not the goals.

Okay, fine, fitness goals are good. But they’re hard to achieve, particularly if your trainer is so small-minded that he/she doesn’t accept Recliner Lounging as an exercise, even though it takes a lot of skill to balance a plate of food, dessert, a drink, a bucket of fried chicken and biscuits, napkins, and several remotes on your stomach as you watch the latest episode of My 600-Lb. Life. As you watch the show, you wonder how those poor people got that large as you eat a couple of biscuits slathered in brown gravy. It’s a mystery.

Probably giving up biscuits and fried chicken should be one of your fitness goals, but let’s not talk crazy, man. Instead, maybe you could get one of  those fitness watches and gradually increase your steps until you’re walking over 100,000 steps a day! Then you look around and wonder where you are and why bears are circling you. Probably you should have taken up running, but instead you’re giving the wild animals lean meat, which is so much better than the fatty tourists they usually dine on.

I have a fitness watch. At first, it was fun to count how many steps I had and read the little messages of encouragement that showed on its tiny screen. “Go, Stephen! You’re doing great!” But after a few months, the messages took a mean tone: “So...that’s all you’re doing? Are you even trying? I’m ashamed. I’m the laughingstock of all the other watches, buddy! LAUGHINGSTOCK!” I find forgetting to charge its battery shuts it up.

You can choose to eat healthy, but it’s hard to choose a diet among all the thousands out there. It’s even harder because every diet says the other diets don’t work and might probably possibly perhaps KILL you, although this statement hasn’t been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and probably never will be if their lobbyists are effective.

Still, you must choose. Pick one of these: Mediterranean, DASH, Flexitarian (the favorite among Vulcans), MIND, Volumetrics (Defender of the Unibelly), TLC, Ornish, Fertility, Nordic, Flat Belly, Nutritarian (sworn enemies of the Flexitarians), Vegan, Glycemic Index (you don’t what to know the GI of Hostess Twinkies), Zone, Abs, Macrobiotic (not just biotics, but macrobiotics!), Optavia, Paleo, Raw Food, Supercharged Hormone (the favorite of all the super heroes), Keto, Spark, Weight Watchers, SlimFast, Mayo Clinic (which is not based on mayonnaise as I had excitedly thought), and so on. I found more than 100 different diets while exhaustively searching the Internet for a second or two. I’m sure there are more out there, but I can tell you now that none of them allow you to devour Hostess Twinkies(TM) by the box. Life is bitter.

Let’s say you’ve chosen your diet,  and now you must choose your exercise routine. Fortunately, hundreds of routines are available. Thousands. Pick one. Or two. Several. Doesn’t matter. You will hate it soon after you start. A friend  started a rigorous exercise plan and said he loved it from the beginning. I’ve never trusted him since then. A man who will lie about that will lie about other things, too.

Besides sweating like a horse and also smelling like one, maybe you want to spend a lot of money on machinery that’s dangerous and ugly. You can buy a fitness machine! There are many models to choose from. They will let you walk, run, gallop, row, flex, bend, perforate, shred, shriek, cross country ski, hike, bicycle, mountain bike, climb stairs, jump hurdles, float like a butterfly, sting like a bee, plank, kayak, vibrate, invert, box...and you can do all these things without leaving your home. Which means emergency services won’t have to waste precious time looking for you when the time comes. And it will.

I would have said “without leaving the privacy of your home,” but many new machines feature a “social aspect” where other people can chart your progress—or lack thereof—and even see you on their machines’ monitors. This is supposed to inspire friendly competition, much in the way the Romans inspired competition by tossing people in an arena and letting them run from hungry lions. This both revealed the fastest and the tastiest.

You might also need a bigger house. Some of the machines are large. If you can fit, say, a 1965 Dodge Dart in your bedroom, then you can safely have an exercise machine to hang clothes on.

The curious thing about all this running, hiking, biking, rowing, etc. is that you’re not actually going anywhere. After all that activity, you will still be in the same room. When you’re walking outside, you will end up somewhere—probably an ER—but somewhere besides where you started.

Another curious thing—well, I’m curious about it even if you’re not—is people are actually dressing up before they exercise in their OWN HOME. Women put on makeup, men put on pants, and then when they’re finished, they have to shower and get dressed again! I guess if you run around in sweat pants and t-shirts all day, you’re set. Otherwise, it seems a waste of laundry. A friend of mine has an expensive bike with video camera. She covered the camera with a towel and says she won’t uncover it until she looks as good as the people in the bike’s TV commercials. She says to check back with her in five years. It’s a good plan, particularly since all sorts of things could happen to the bike before then. They don’t last forever. They do break down. Accidentally sometimes.

My friend who is planning to climb the mountain says you’re not the same person at the beginning of an exercise regimen as you are at the end. You’re a fitter, better version with more confidence and discipline that will make your entire life better. She’s always saying crazy crap like that. I think the judge is plain wrong, and I will file an appeal as soon as I finish off this lovely box of Twinkies.

(Copyright 2019 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved. No copying or sharing without express written permission of the author and publisher. Thank you for reading.)

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