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Lounging your way to fitness

If you’re like me, you’re suave, debonair, devilishly attractive and have a severe overinflated sense of your own self-worth. You’re also probably out of shape, as evidenced by the fact that every trip upstairs for a beer and double-decker ham sandwich combo leaves you winded to the point of incapacitation.

OK, so maybe I’m the only one with these particular set of unique problems, but I know for a fact that there are plenty of folks like me who lean more toward Garfield than Hobbes in the Comic Strip Cat Fitness Equivalency Test.

The problem is easy to identify. The solution — becoming an Adonis-like beefcake — is slightly more difficult to tackle, especially if tackling things leaves you uncontrollably sweaty and gasping for air.

Essentially, maintaining proper physical fitness and weight control boils down to two things: proper diet and proper exercise. I’ll limit my worldly advice to the topic of exercise, because that has historically been my Achilles’ heel, and it is something I need to address in writing in order to vanquish it once and for all.

With exercise, motivation has always been my biggest obstacle. In life, the most difficult step for any project is the first one, and exercise is no different. Of course I WANT to be fit and in shape, but the other facets of my life that prevent me from getting exercise — television, video games, sleeping — are so much more appealing in the short term. The long-term benefits of living a healthy life are fun to dream about, but television gives me immediate gratification in a way that lifting weights never will.

Until now.

My brilliant idea is to combine weight lifting and television into one cohesive workout routine. This allows me to experience both the immediate joys of watching reruns of “Cheers” and “Community” in my basement while simultaneously getting my pump on.

Obviously, watching television while working out isn’t a novel concept. Many gyms have walls of televisions on to distract people from the drudgery of running or biking in place. What makes my idea so amazing is that it uses the content of the worst part of television — the commercials — as an interactive part of your own individual workout routine.

To put it simply, you assign an individual workout to each type of commercial. For example, I have a written routine on a note pad next to the television in my basement. When my shows switch to a commercial break, and one of Geico’s 50 mascots tries to sell me auto insurance, I consult my note pad and see “push-ups” written next to “stupid car insurance commercials.” Thus, I bust out as many push-ups as I can in 30 seconds.

Next, one of those really annoying car commercials that are designed to look like a movie trailer comes on, so I pick up the free weights and start doing as many curls as I can. The more disgusted and annoyed I am with a particular type of ad, the more grueling the exercise I assign it.

Anyone can do this! It allows you to loaf about on the couch after a strenuous day at work, but it also eliminates any sense of guilt you feel from watching television, when in the back of your mind you’re thinking that you should probably be more productive with your time.

Now, this is no recipe to carve out a pair of sexy, Schwarzenegger-esque guns. This routine will, at most, give you 22 minutes of real exercise in a one-hour viewing block. What this does, though, is get you started on an easy workout routine that will allow you to gradually transition to something more strenuous after several weeks.

It’s brilliant! I’m brilliant! And now that you’ve read this, you too can be just as brilliant! Now get your butt into your entertainment room and give me 50 reps of “The Cosby Show!”



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