Sweat shop

T'was the night after fitness and recommitment day, not a muscle was moving, you could smell the Ben-Gay. The kids are nestled all snug in their beds. It's a good thing, too, 'cause Mom's legs feel like lead.

Another year is upon us and where did the muscle tone go? The year 2000 will be starting off with a groan for those of you who neglected your bodies in 1999. Those of you who maintained the aura of fitness can now sit on the sidelines and snicker.

"Not fair," you say? Ah, but who laughed when you refused all those cookies and chocolates? How easy to "fall off the wagon" when the end of the year approaches. The sweat gear is relegated to the back of the closet and all calorie counters are turned to the wall. All of this is accomplished with the promised commitment of "return" after the holidays.

Along with the new millennium is a whole new batch of exercise excuses (if nothing else, your brain seems to still be active). How about, "It's cold, dark and much too windy." That's a fact all right! Mostly, what you'd expect in the dead of winter in the Sierra.

My favorite excuse, "If I lose fat, I'll be cold." There might be a tiny (real tiny) group of you who could use that one. Mostly, the fat you'd burn off in exchange for muscle can be replaced with a sweat shirt. Trading 30 pounds of fat for a sweat shirt sounds like a good deal to me!

"Exercise is so much work." This excuse belongs to the crowd that would like to take a fitness pill and wash it down with beer. I seem to remember a few of those drifting through class.

How about this excuse? "If I exercise, it makes me hungry." That's a fact. I can't remember a time when I wasn't hungry. Since the body is fueled by food, you'd have to be dead to not require it, whether you exercised or not!

This one's cute. "I'm waiting for my husband to come with me." Nothing against husbands, but if you're waiting for him to instigate the fitness incentive, you will be exercising nothing but your patience. To be fair, this is also a turn around excuse for the female gender. "If I stay at least 10 pounds overweight, and I get sick, then I'll get well faster." I have a little trouble with the logic here.

Any time you take a survey of the general public and their exercise habits, you will get what I call the "90 percent" result. Ninety percent will answer "yes" whether or not they exercise. Ninety percent will say they are at a proper level of weight (or just a "tiny bit" over). And 90 percent will be fudging a bit on either or both questions. (some of these "90 percenters) save up their exercise time like vacation time and spend it all in one week of mad "make up" frenzy. The exercise room reeks of Ben-Gay for weeks.

I'm sure that exercise habits and excuses will not change in the year 2000. And most of the bodies I see in class are Y2K compliant. But it wouldn't hurt to check in your mirror when the clock strikes 12.

Jerry Vance is certified by the American Council on Exercise and teaches fitness at the Carson City Community Center and for the American Lung Association.


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