Monday, April 11, 2011

The Work Work-Out

Gary U.S. Bonds--"Out Of Work" (mp3)


I am not in tip-top shape. I am not a doctor, nor have I ever played one on TV. Nevertheless, as someone looking to cash in, I am throwing my lot in with the variety of ways that one can lose weight, get in shape, feel better about oneself, and generally live a more fulfilling life.

I wanted to call it The Poor Man's Workout or The Blue Collar Workout, but my agent says that those titles limit my potential demographic. Plus, he says, those are kind of depressing. Nobody wants to know that those classes of people exist. So, I'm calling it The Work Work-Out.

What do you think? Too redundant? Unfortunately, it's kind of complicated as well, so stay with me. Here's the plan: instead of going to a gym, a health club, or a spa, instead of working with a personal trainer or an exercise video, you stay home and work.

That's right, instead of driving across town or out to the levee or to The Sports Barn, you do the whole routine at your house. I know what you're thinking: that sports equipment you buy on TV in three, easy installments is getting moldy in the basement. Well, rest assured, you don't need any of that stuff.

Here's what you will need: a house (preferably at least two stories), a yard, a garden or some bedding plants, and a regular influx of entropy from Sir Isaac Newton and the Universe. Easy, right? Now, here's where it gets kind of novel and frankly kind of weird: within the boundaries of that yard, the walls of that home, the rows of that garden, you work.

That's right. You work.

Instead walking around a track, you get behind that lawnmower and push, step after step all around the yard with resistance from the weight of the mower. You carry the full bags of grass and empty them, probably into a budding mulch pile. You weedeat and pressure wash. You work a handsaw and trim the branches above and haul those to the curb. You bend over and pull weeds, you shovel, you push a wheelbarrow filled with bags of dirt and mulch. When the seasons change, you prune and rake and bag and haul some more.

Inside, instead of a Stair Master, you walk up and down the stairs with baskets of laundry and garbage bags filled with clothing for the Goodwill, books for the used book store, things your husband or wife wants moved as part of the endless repurposing of the house.

Instead of those little weights you use for endless repetitions of motion, you buy groceries at the store--not processed foods, but actual natural items that you can cook with--and stock them on shelves low and high, you peel them, chop and dice them, stir them, mix them, toss them, cook them and carry them to the table. You load and unload the dishwasher meal after meal, scraping first and then lifting into the cupboards. You carry the trash out. You improve your house with paint brushes and hammers and scrubbers and other tools.

You will not get "cut." You will not develop amazing abs or a "six pack." But you will gain honest leg strengh and surprising upper body strength. And purpose. Were our muscles meant to become as developed as they can be or were they meant to serve us as tools for work? What? No, I didn't mean that. I'm sure you can get cut with The Work Workout. The latest studies show that hedge clippers are a mini-Bow Flex...

Hey, somebody grab me a bottled water! I'm doing all of the talking here. Why are you getting up? You've got to get to a Spin Class? Okay, okay, I'll hurry up. Wait. Wait. I know you've got to go pay the landscaper. I'm almost finished. I just want to talk about to you about pushing and pulling on abstract machines built for no purpose but...

What do you mean my workout plan will never catch on? Crap, that's what my agent says, too.

1 comment:

Billy said...

I worked out this weekend by digging holes in our rocky earth so that my dear wife and mother could plant nice thingies in our yard. I dug roughly 10 holes, and it took roughly five years off my life. I'm so out of shape that merely thinking about it makes Richard Simmons cry.