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February 26, 2024

Oort Cloud Oddities: Scary Workout Videos

By Alexandra Queen

New Year's resolutions can be so dangerous. I want to jump on the bandwagon and join the chorus of out of breath folk vowing "this year, we will work out more!" But I need to find a way to do it that doesn't scar me mentally or emotionally.

There I was, minding my own business and browsing news on the Internet the other day, when I was distracted by a photo of a seasoned, nicely muscled, middle-aged fellow doing sit-ups. From the waist up, he was wearing nothing but a set of dog tags.

A friend of mine once commented that men are worthless before the age of forty, and while I'm not a zealot about the topic, I do tend to follow the "men are like wine" school. Both are better when aged. Both require moderation and common sense. Despite the fact that French or Italian ones have that exotic appeal, when you get right down to it, the ones from right here in California are just as good, if not better. A skunky one can sometimes be salvaged if you let it air out a little. And finally, your choices at a bar are always limited, so if you want a good one, do your shopping somewhere classier.

But back to the guy doing sit-ups. Since a tightly toned set of abs like his are rare on a steroid-free guy above 25, let alone in the salt-and-pepper bracket, I paused to read the attached press release. For academic reasons only, of course.

Mr. Sit-Up had a name (Lt. Col. Bob Weinstein, USAR RET), and a gimmick -- he's a personal trainer. 53 years "young," he trains tubby tourists on Florida's beaches to stop whining and just work out, already. He calls it "Beach Boot Camp."

I checked out Col. Weinstein's website, but was somewhat disappointed to see that he didn't have any (shirtless, if you please) workout videos. Call me a female chauvinist pig, but dang, wouldn't that be more inspiring than the typical exercise video, with starlets boinging about in spandex leotard thong-and-dance routines?

I actually own a Denise Austin workout video, but I can't use it. She makes these bizarre facial expressions while she works out, and I can't resist mimicking them. In our crowded household, there's always someone to walk around the corner just in time to see my face distorted in some hideous poppy-eyed, insincere smile, as if I had just accidentally swallowed a tube of bubblegum pink lip gloss and was trying to convince the god of bleached blonds that I was too perky to die.

The sight is inevitably too gruesome for the family member to tear their eyes away from, and by the time I say, "No, wait, she was doing it!" and point at the screen, then Denise has STOPPED doing it. It's like that old episode of the Twilight Zone with William Shatner when he was young and pretty and kept seeing the gremlin on the wing of the airplane. (Lo, thou children of today's era who are boggling at the concept of William Shatner being slim and good lookin', keep in thy mind that the episode was in black and white, because verily the Shat's salad days were that long ago -- in fact, I'm pretty sure he's mentioned Biblically, in the part with all the "begats".)

Sadly, even if Colonel Bob did make a topless workout video, I wouldn't be able to use that one either. I suspect my facial expressions would get me in trouble there, as well.

Not that any good looking guy in an exercise video is a good thing. Among the workout tapes I can't watch is a yoga-on-the-beach number with an otherwise pleasant young man who wore only a speedo. I found myself screaming and covering my eyes every other exercise. Too little is far worse than too much.

So anyway, I'd like to resolve to get into better shape this year, but only if I can find a video that doesn't have me following the aerobic warm-up with a reenactment of the "gouge my own eyes out" scene from Oedipus Rex. I guess by my own admission, I need someone with plenty of fabric from the neck down and maybe even a yard or two from the neck up. Yeah, that's it. This year I vow to get in shape -- as long as I can find a Ninja workout video.

Comments and Crane Lotus Cardio routines to Alex.Queen@gmail.com.

This article first appeared in the January 1, 2006 issue of the Manteca (Calif.) Bulletin.

Article © Alexandra Queen. All rights reserved.
Published on 2006-01-09
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