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Humor August 2015

Ernie's World

Exercising My Rights - and Lefts

By Ernie Witham

Yup, most of the new machines have book holders, so you can read food and drink magazines, while burning up to 11 calories per hour.

You wouldn't know it to look at me, but I have been going to the gym for decades. And I have seen a lot of changes – not necessarily to my body, but to the equipment. Early on there were just barbells and dumbbells. The more reps you could do resulted in bulging, giant muscles.

"Onnnneeee. Onnnneeee-and-a-quarter..."

Then came the advent of Nautilus equipment. The special cam that was shaped like a Nautilus shell was supposed to give equal resistance through the entire repetition, creating a perfect muscular frame.

"Dude, your chest is like concave. I've never seen that before."

Plus each machine was made to isolate a certain muscle for better, quicker results.

"Do I look isolated?"

"Not nearly enough. Try the back corner. The far back corner."

The theory was you only had to do 8-12 reps with lesser weight than barbells. One set per Nautilus machine and then you were done. Which would have been great if they only had two machines.

"What are all these gizmos for?"

"Those are for biceps, then you have tris, pecs, abs, lats, traps, glutes, quads, hamstrings and calfs."

"But I just want to look better at the beach."

"I suggest going very late at night."

I no sooner got the hang of the Nautilus equipment  – "You're sitting on it backwards!" – than they upped the ante by introducing aerobics classes to help with "cardio-vascular."

"Isn't that some kind or surgery?"

"Yes, and you should get some right away."

So, I joined the class and I have to admit it was kind of fun. "Left arm above right shoulder and turn." "Your other left arm!" "Your other right shoulder!" "Duck everyone!"

Then because some folks wanted more of a challenge, they added a thing to step up on and back off – cleverly calling it step-aerobics – and we all did it to the pulsating beat of songs like Madonna's Vogue: "Let your body move to the music..." I would have liked to whistle to if I'd had any breath left.

"Don't fall on the person next to you!" Don't fall on me!" "Ahhhh!"

Next came Jazzercise, Pilates, Yoga. Even kickboxing!

"Ouch. Ouch. Ouch."

And now they have something called Zumba, which incorporates samba, salsa, merengue, mambo, squats and lunges.

"Don't even think about coming in here. Our insurance will not cover it."

Fortunately for those of us who are a little too "heavily-muscled" for the tight quarters of the dance-class room, they have equipment in other rooms that you can sit on, like spin cycles.

"Okay, drop to a lower gear, we are now climbing the mountain."

Gasp. Gasp. Gasp.

Or, if you prefer to go at your own pace, they have individual machines like treadmills, where all you have to do is walk fast enough to keep up with the moving belt.

"What's this button do?"

"That increases the speed."

"Ahhhhh. Phwapp. Ahhhhh. Phwapp. Ahhhhh. Phwapp."

Or they have elliptical machines, with a motion similar to cross-country skiing.

“Would you please stop yodeling, some of us are trying to read."

Yup, most of the new machines have book holders, so you can read food and drink magazines, while burning up to 11 calories per hour.

"You'll burn more if you actually move your feet and stop pretending you are skiing downhill the entire way."

Many of the newest machines also have built-in televisions so you can watch sporting events while you exercise, just like at home.

"Excuse me, can you please stop crunching those corn chips? And I don't think they allow beer on the equipment."

By far my favorite of the new machines is the Stairmaster. There are four stairs so you are really high when you get on and you can watch other people in the gym and see what they are wearing. I'm pining for some of the latest men's Lycra shorts.

"Please, no!"

I also like to take selfies with my iPhone so my Facebook friends can gain inspiration when they see how hard I work out.

"Are you done with your photo shoot? I'd like to actually 'climb' on the Stairmaster."

I can't wait to see what they come up with next to help me maintain that wow factor when I walk into the gym.

"Wow, you must have just joined huh?"


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