Sunday, April 17, 2005

Exercise or Exorcise?

“You know you’re out of shape when you pull a muscle taking off a sock.”

No, Winston Churchill didn’t say or do that… I did.

There is no miracle for losing weight and getting in shape. No magic pill or potion. Voodoo doesn’t work. Sacrificing Twinkies on an altar made of chopsticks doesn’t help.

There’s no secret. It’s very simple. Eat less, exercise more (or at all).


But I’ve stuck to my diet religiously (I’m a Zen Foodist) and have lost about 30 pounds in the last six weeks. It’s time to really ramp up the weight loss by exercising. In other words, I own a gym so I might as well use it.

Yes I own a boxing gym. It was my wife’s idea. I wanted to open a buffet.

I still have my 24 Hour Fitness Card. I like to accidentally drop it at 31 Flavors when I’m paying for my three-scoop sundae.

“I’m the before picture.”

I’ve never understood 24 Hour Fitness. Who wakes up in the middle of the night and says, “Wow, it’s three A.M., I could sure use some mega butt blasters right about now.”

I’ve been a member for seven years and I’ve only been there twice. Once to sign up, and once for my orientation. They’re still holding my checking account hostage for $15 a month because I’m too embarrassed to go back and quit.

Let me explain in detail my second visit. They have these exercise Nazi’s that break you on the day you show up for your “orientation.” Let’s call my orientation guy, Thor the Thunder Trainer. It’s called an “orientation” but in reality it’s designed to weed out the fatties by temporarily crippling you.

You get no warning, the only thing they tell you is bring a towel and plenty of water. When you think about it isn’t that the same thing they tell people to bring when someone is having a baby?

I should have known what I was in for when, prior to my appointment with Thor, I noticed the names of the companies that made the equipment:

Maximus Fitness - Used by people who want to kill tigers with swords.
Gazelle Elite – Elliptical for use while watching Animal Planet.
New Balance – What you’ll have after your leg muscles reject you.
Maxicam – Gynecologists elliptical trainer.
SpinoFLEX – The Marquis de Gym’s finest rack.
Stackhouse – Weight equipment for strippers.

Have you ever been somewhere and had that feeling that you just don’t belong?

Like you’re the only one listening to country western music at a million man march?

You know, completely out of place, and your fat senses are tingling like you’re in danger?

When you’re a guy (and sometimes when you’re not) part of the problem is the male ego.

The male ego makes us stupid, very very very stupid.

This usually happens when women half our age are around. The brain says “whoa Kemosabe,” but the male ego sounds like Barry White and soothes the brain into thinking, “there’s not a problem here.”

So, Thor showed up and took me to an isometric exercise machine. Isometric exercise is designed for you to work against your own body weight. This isn’t a problem if you’re Karen Carpenter but if you’re a 40 something, 275 pound male, who hasn’t been in a gym since the homecoming dance of 1975, this not the best first choice.

Thor gave me a brief training session on how to use the machine but my mind was wandering. Everywhere I turned there was a smoking hot babe. They were running and jumping and climbing and gliding and lifting and and and and and………..

My male ego was telling me, “Yeah baby, they want me.” My brain was babbling about something but it wasn’t that important.

I don’t know how to properly describe the first muscle cramp. I’d never had one before so the experience was foreign to me. But something attached to my rib cage was trying to get out… of my body.


That’s what my brain was telling me to yell.

But the male ego took over. “Be cool man, be cool. Remember what your coaches used to tell you, shake it off.”

Shake it off. SHAKE IT OFF?

“Shake it off” was every high school coach’s answer to any injury. You could have your femur poking through your skin, “shake it off.”

I could hear my brain trying to butt in to no avail. He sounded a little sarcastic.

I rolled off the machine and tried to stand up straight but apparently my body had disabled that feature already.

I was leaning on a Lifecycle, hunched over, when Thor spotted me. “Oh God go away, please make him go away.” I heard my brain that time.

My male ego jumped right back in. “Just get on the Lifecycle, it’s a bicycle for Christ’s sake how tough can it be? When you were a kid you used to love riding your bike. C’mon be man.”

Here’s the thing about Lifecycles, they have stirrups for you to put your feet into… I wear a size 12 EEE.

I wedged my shoes in the stirrups just as Thor came up. He wanted to know how I knew this was the next piece of equipment I was supposed to use.

Whoohoo… I’m exercise clairvoyant.

The Nazi bastard then proceeded to program the Lifecycle. I didn’t realize that I bore a striking resemblance to Lance Armstrong but apparently Thor did. Thor mumbled something about making sure I was drinking water and walked away.

The bike ride started out okay, since the position for riding the Lifecycle is naturally hunched over it was kind of an easy.

I don’t know who the sick son of a bitch who designed the Lifecycle was but he needs to die a painful death. Who the hell programs hills into a bicycle ride? A bicycle ride that really isn’t going anywhere.

When the first hill came, my legs went, “Um…. what was that?” Then they locked and, all of a sudden, I lurched into a hunched over, standing position on the Lifecycle. My calves felt like someone had set them on fire. The cramp in my chest was now in my right thigh and my left thigh was twitching uncontrollably.

I tried to get off the Lifecycle but my feet were stuck in the stirrups. I managed to get my left foot free and threw it backwards in an attempt to get off of the Lifecycle but my right foot wouldn’t budge.

There are certain aerodynamic principles that take place when a 275-pound man tries to dismount a Lifecycle with his right foot still stuck in the stirrups. Apparently the Lifecycle wasn’t properly secured to the floor because when I fell, “back and to the right”, the Lifecycle went with me.

For you “Laugh-In” fans picture Arte Johnson falling over while riding his tricycle, on a jumbo scale.

“Shake it off Tony, shake it off…” Thank you Mr. Ego.

While I was lying there I noticed this beautiful blond in a yellow Danskin outfit pedaling away on the Lifecycle across from me. Her hair was actually flowing back like she was really outside riding a bike. She looked at me, smiled, and kept on pedaling. Like when you die, everything was in slow motion.

My right foot was still stuck, underneath the Lifecycle now, and twisted at an odd angle.

“Check to see if you’re bleeding.” My brain was back again.

Thor saw what had happened and rushed over to use the expert medical training he was taught at 24 Hour Fitness to help me.

“Shake it off,” he said.

I think he used the “jaws of life” to pry me from the Lifecycle wreckage but I can’t be sure since I was fading in and out of consciousness. Probably because I hadn’t been drinking enough water.

I was trying to be cool. Like I had meant for that to happen.

“So what’s next upper body?”

Thor’s pea sized brain couldn’t comprehend my medical condition and my ego wouldn’t let me quit. I heard my brain weeping in the background.

I limped over to the free weights with Thor. At this point I looked like the “Hunch Back of Jack Lalane.”

Thor proceeded to put me through a variety of arm and chest exercises. We used weights, many many many weights. We used machines, many many many machines. I was in pain, but I was looking cool.

I had now been at the gym for fifteen minutes.

At this point, my hands and forearms started to spasm and cramp. This happened just as I was attempting to take a sip of my Evian.

I was now a certified member of the Special Olympic team because I couldn’t lift my arms and hands to my face to take a drink. I was actually trying to jerk the water up out of the bottle and catch it with my mouth.

You can hurt yourself in many ways and still look cool but you cannot sit hunched over on a weight bench trying to jerk water into your mouth and feel like a man.

There was nothing my ego could do, Thor had won.

I half limped, half crawled out of the gym, “the bells… the bells”, and was faced with another humiliating challenge. I couldn’t lift my arms to turn my car’s steering wheel, and I could only use my left foot to work the gas pedal and the brake. I put my arms in my lap and used my fingertips to steer the car.

It took me two and half hours to get home… and then I couldn’t get out of the car.

I hit the horn with my head and my wife came out. She had this puzzled look on her face. “So how’d it go?”

“BLDSNTMETSMKE!” I heard my mouth say.


“help….. me”

Then I passed out.

When I came to. I could only move my eyelids. I was like that for three days.

My wife commented that I probably didn’t drink enough water.

So, seven years have gone by and I can honestly say I have never pulled a muscle at Home Town Buffet.

I’m ready. I can do this. Thor doesn’t work for us.

One last note.

Now that a couple of weeks have gone by and people are a little calmer I need to make this quick comment.

While the tragic Terry Schiavo case points out the importance of having a living will, I think it also indicates a need for something else... each of us should have on file a really decent head shot.


At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh my GOD!!! I'm crying I'm laughing so hard!!!

At 3:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is hilarious. It must be frightening being married to you.

At 7:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're very warped.

At 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tony just sit in a chair with some Cheetohs and a cold one. You shouldn't be allowed to try anything that requires movement.

At 12:18 AM, Blogger Mike said...

Hi, I seem to be a bit lost. I thought I was getting somewhere looking for information about brand fitness equipment and I ended up here. Well, great job on brand fitness equipment. I have a similar interest in brand fitness equipment. Keep up the good work.

At 1:54 PM, Blogger Michelle Spears said...

Thanks for all the great information about health and fitness article. Here's some more helpful health and fitness article tips.

At 3:18 PM, Blogger Wheel Chairs Center said...

Hey, you have a great blog here! I'm definitely going to bookmark you!

I have a wheel chair accessible car
site/blog. It pretty much covers wheel chair accessible car
related stuff.

Come and check it out if you get time :-)

At 4:33 AM, Blogger Doniette said...

How would you like to know about a Wellness Program resource, that displays all the Wellness Program information on one website? Check out
Wellness Program today. Not only do they have a good fitness book section, but they also have great articles on fitness. I was really impressed with the resources their webmster put together.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Mobility Aids Center said...

Hi thanks for your blog, I liked it! I also have a blog/site about portable wheelchair ramps that covers portable wheelchair ramps related stuff. Please feel free to visit.

At 9:44 AM, Blogger paymaster said...

Hey Tony Calabrese,

Your blog "Exercise or Exorcise?", leads me to believe you will find my information on our Best Career Wages site to be very beneficial.

Some of the not so common searches that found our extensive wages site included ...

Boilermakers Wages
Brickmasons Wages
Blockmasons Wages
Carpenters Wages
Carpet Installers Wages
Cement Masons Wages
Concrete Finishers Wages
Construction Inspectors Wages
Building Inspectors Wages.

We have many hundreds of "essential to read" articles on wages and career topics in addition to many other popular subjects in our Average Career Wages site.

Best Wishes

At 3:28 PM, Blogger job opportunitya said...

Creative blog.  I thought it was the best site out
and we had to go back to it! Every chance I get on the
net I search for blogs just like your site.
I will give you access to jump to my plastic surgery michigan blog.

At 6:31 AM, Blogger job opportunitya said...

Exciting blog. Your site was amazing and will be
back again! I never get tired of looking for blogs
just like this one.
You must peep out my breast plastic surgery blog.

At 3:35 PM, Blogger job opportunitya said...

Energizing blog. It blew me away and I loved your
site. when I have the time to surf the net, i try
finding blogs as good as your site.
Sweetie, go and search my plastic surgery michigan blog for what you need.

At 2:13 AM, Blogger job opportunitya said...

Exciting blog. The site out did itself and will be
back! I love surfing the internet for blogs that are
exactly like this blog.
Where you been? You have got to look at my breast plastic surgery blog!

At 3:35 PM, Blogger job opportunitya said...

Hype blog. And I admire your site and plan on
returning to it! When I web surf it always helps me to
find great blogs.
Please take a journey to my bad plastic surgery picture blog.

At 10:58 PM, Blogger Wheel Chairs Center said...

I just came across your blog and wanted to drop you a note telling you how impressed I was with the information you have posted here.
I also have a web site & blog about electric wheel chair so I know what I'm talking about when I say your site is top-notch! Keep up the great work!

At 11:41 AM, Blogger Wheel Chair Center said...

Hi Thanks for your interesting blog. I also have a blog/site, covering free wheel chair related stuff. Feel free to visit my free wheel chair site.

At 7:22 PM, Blogger meggablogger2 said...

I love your blog, I've found another cool site wheelchairs

At 5:47 PM, Blogger uh-oh said...

Hype blog. And I admire your site and plan on
returning to it! When I web surf it always helps me to
find great blogs.
Stop by and look at my cash advance columbus ohio blog site.

At 3:50 PM, Blogger Tinwa said...

Hi - I’m a newbie trying to find some information
relating to exercise
However, I managed to find your Blog which I think is interesting and had some relevance to what I was looking for. Thanks for your post and do keep up your good work.!

At 7:51 AM, Blogger Cornie said...

Hi Tony Calabrese, I read your post which I find interesting and very informative! I was also looking for related info which I found
Some at diabetes
It's not exactly what I was looking for but it was nonetheless interesting to read.

At 6:25 AM, Blogger superduperone said...

I found a cool site on wheelchair lift, check it out wheelchair lift

At 5:12 AM, Blogger Tim said...

Very informative blog. I found everything I needed here. Great content! massage therapy and bodywork

At 6:02 PM, Blogger fitness-o-matic said...

Hey, I was reading through your blog. I love it!

I thought you might like my site motorhome wheelchair lift canada.
It focuses mostly on Exercise or Exorcise?.

At 11:01 PM, Blogger LJP said...

Okay, I'm going to stop reading your blog now. I have to answer phones here and the phone rang and I was in the middle of a laughing fit so to the person on the other end I sounded like I was crying or insane. I even laughed into the phone at the end then collapsed over my desk.

At 3:13 AM, Blogger Brett said...

Interesting Addition!
Mesh Sponge


Post a Comment

<< Home