Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Getting Fit with Gilad and Two Dogs

This morning, I decided that it was time to step up my fitness program. I was hoping to expand my exercise routine from working only mouse-friendly muscles to include something more adventurous like seated neck rolls or bilateral ankle flexes.
Of course the last thing I wanted to do was enter a fitness center with all my jiggly parts so I did a few bicep curls with the TV remote, switched hands then rotated through the cable channels until I found Fit TV.
(Let us just pause here for a moment to appreciate the irony of the words "fit" and "TV" in the same sentence.)
The profusion of workout shows on cable today amazed me. There's a hip hop dance show for those of us who want to bust a move and get our street on from the comfort of our own homes. Or I could follow any one of a whole passel of yoga shows, thereby eliminating the possibility of passing gas next to a perfect stranger in a 500 degree room.
There was even a Bollywood dance show which promised "moves that are bold and sassy." I passed on that, too, figuring it could only lead to me explaining to the world how I got a black eye from my own hip flab.
Then I found an old friend: Gilad.
Gilad is like the General Hospital of fitness shows. Back in the '80's when unitard-clad, tousle-haired ladies made history with their oooh-aaahh come-hither fitness shows, Gilad was already inspiring housewives everywhere to move closer to the TV and watch his muscles make the most of physical fitness. With his dark curls and exotic accent and no-nonsense routines, Gilad was mesmerizing. Not that I ever exercised, but I hated soap operas and only got three channels back in those days, so burping babies and eating fig newtons while watching Gilad was pretty heady stuff.
And here he was again on my TV, fitness god Gilad. Older yes, but still in amazing shape and still with the curls. Seeing Gilad again was familiar and comfortable. Gilad never made me feel stupid when I'd lose my balance and knock the lamp off the table. Gilad never judged me for being uncoordinated or forgetting my left from my right.
So safe, my Gilad.
I put down the remote, moved the coffee table out of the way and prepared to get fit.
First we did some basic breathing stuff - inhale, exhale, hands over my head, hands at my sides, stuff like that. By this time, Charlie and Sammy had figured out that I was not going to be returning to the chair anytime soon, so they decided to stand next to me in case I was forced to drop out with a leg cramp or something. I shooed them away because we were now walking in place with our knees high. So far so good, although I did get a twinge from the toes on my right foot that I broke last week when I kicked a chair (not while participating in exercise). But I made do, just putting my weight on my right heel when I stepped down. Then Gilad introduced the v-step, something I remembered from my 6AM step aerobics classes way back in the day. The memory of those classes seemed oh so remote and other worldly, but I had loved the energy, the adrenaline, the sense of accomplishment as I had kicked, stepped and jumped along with 20 other crazy people dying for a Big Mac for breakfast. But that was then and this is me today, no longer buff or toned.
I had to wait a few beats to get back into sync with Gilad. Left foot out, right foot out, back to center with the left, tap down with the right. Ouch! Dammit - there were those toes again. But no time to stop - out with the right foot, out with the left foot, back center with the right (weight on my heel), tap down with the left. Got it.
Then Gilad added arms. After a few amateurish, karate-chopping motions, I finally got in the swing of things and found myself doing everything Gilad was doing. I'm pretty sure he winked at me when he said to keep walking while he went to a commercial.
Yes, sir.
It was then that I noticed something was wrong with one of the steam pipes in the house. No matter that I have gas heat- there must be a steam pipe somewhere because I kept hearing a rhythmic hissing sound, like the lead-in to a big explosion. Keeping my hands dutifully on my hips, I marched out of the living room and through the dining room trying to determine where the sound was coming from. But no matter how carefully I listened, the sound seemed to follow me.
That's when I realized the hissing sound was coming from me.
I caught sight of my reflection in the mirror - seven minutes into a half-hour TV work out show and I was already cherry-faced and frizzy-haired. Not only that, but Gilad's warm up alone had me making noises like a pin-poked blow up doll. I marched resolutely back to the living room, careful to keep my knees high.
Charlie was standing on the arm of my chair, licking the jelly off half of the bagel I'd been eating for breakfast. But Sammy - he was blithely standing on the coffee table, completely absorbed in gulping down the other half of my bagel. When they saw me, both dogs jumped down and ran over to me with their little hopeful faces, as if to say Enough of this nonsense - come back to your chair. I grabbed the remote and turned the TV up. Gilad was back and now we were going to work on our glutes.
With my feet shoulder width apart I did as Gilad instructed, taking care to squeeze my backside and my abs as I squatted. Sammy began to lick the sweat off my left calf. I ignored him. If you can't see your toes, Gilad said helpfully, you need to lean back further as you squat. I looked down. Charlie was planted in front of me with his hopeful face again but I could see my toes and boy, did I need a pedi. Most of the red polish was chipped off the two sore toes on my right foot, and the big toenail on my left foot was really long. Squeeze, instructed Gilad. I squeezed. Exhale as you come up. I exhaled. Squeeze, instructed Gilad. I squeezed. Exhale. I exhaled.
Things were going pretty well at this point, the moves coming back to me like old friends. I could do this. Gilad moved to a side kick on the exhale. Squeeze and squat. Exhale, stand and raise the leg to the side. Squeeze, stand and raise the other leg. Unfortunately, Sammy was still licking and I beaned him square in the face. I thought I'd poked out his little doggie eye with my toenail. Poor baby, I crooned. Mommy didn't mean to kick him widdle head. I scooped him into my lap, which was a huge mistake because both dogs jumped all over me in a snarfing/licking ball of joy, thinking I'd just be heading back to my chair now.
No, I said firmly, sliding both dogs off my lap. Back to my work out. Official-like and all.
Gilad was doing upper body moves now. Damn. Where are my weights??? The last I remember, they were in a closet somewhere. No worries. I ran to the kitchen followed by Charlie and Sammy who figured I was just teasing about the work out and was really running for their leashes. Much to their consternation, I threw open the cupboard and grabbed two cans of Progresso soup. One was black bean and one was chicken but they seemed to be of equal weight as I hefted them in my hand so I ran back to the living room to catch up with Gilad.
DaBoys followed me, grumbling under their breath about flights of fancy and hating Gilad.
I planted myself in front of the TV again and began doing bicep curls, letting the weight of the Progresso work its magic. The muscles at the top of Gilad's arm bulged and rippled. I pulled up the sleeve of my tshirt and focused on the mole on the top of my right arm.
Squeeze and curl. . .
The mole didn't even wiggle although there was a noticeable wiggle in that saggy part of my arm between elbow and armpit. I tried it with the other arm. Squeeze and curl. Only the saggy part wiggled. Damn.
Gratefully, I discovered Gilad was now lying down on his mat. I stowed the soup cans on the couch and laid down on the floor to work my abs. I placed my hands behind my head like Gilad and focused on keeping my shoulders relaxed. I inhaled and tried to flex whatever puny muscles still existed underneath my tummy flab as I tried to lift my shoulders off the floor. That's when I realized Sammy's entire dog body was laying on my hair and it was at that exact instant that Charlie launched himself full-bore onto my stomach. Before I knew it, I'd curled into a fetal position trying to figure out if I had any hair left to hold back while I threw up.
Lift, Gilad was instructing, completely unaware that I was breathless and pinned to the floor by two dogs who were now jumping all over me and licking my face with joy because I'd decided to sit down.
Off! I instructed firmly as I tried to get back into ab-working position which only momentarily confused the two dogs. Once they realized I was not getting up off the floor they figured I wanted to play with them and just didn't know it yet.
The more I tried to get up the more frenzied they became. Sammy jumped on my shoulders, licking my neck and ears. Charlie got all caught up in the excitement, nipped at my butt and climbed up on my side. I rolled onto all fours to get up but Sammy jumped up on my back king of the mountain-like and started barking. Charlie pointed his little nose to the ceiling and began yipping in between licking my elbows.
Stop, I cried trying not to laugh.
Lift and squeeze, offered Gilad helpfully.
Arf arf, barked Sammy happily as Charlie happily nipped my nose.
And that's when I gave up.
I lurched over to the chair where two truimphant dogs piled onto my lap and licked my face.
You two are rotten, I said.
IloveyouIloveyouIloveyou, licked Charlie and Sammy.
Breathe, instructed Gilad, raising himself into a sitting position and lifting his arms languidly over his head.
Oh, my Gilad. So nice to know you're still out there in TV land providing eye candy for the jiggly masses.
As for me and DaBoys, our fitness routine for the rest of today will consist of putting on leashes and going for a nice, long walk. Then maybe I'll exercise some mouse-sliding muscles and see if I can find a fitness center specializing in the unfit and uncoordinated.
One that doesn't allow dogs.

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