“You can do side bends or sit-ups. But please don’t lose that butt.” — Baby Got Back/Sir Mix-A-Lot
The Aspen Idea is commonly referred to as our guiding principle: Mind, body and spirit. But with the amount of time we all spend working out, shouldn’t “body” come first?
In Aspen one of our many addictions is exercise. It gets to the point where if I don’t exercise I become even more unpleasant to be around than usual. Is there more to living here in Aspen than having washboard abs and making sure your ass looks good in a pair of jeans?
Gone are the careless days of youth where fitness came naturally. We now have to surgically carve out time from our busy schedules to get in our workouts. Some go to indoor gyms and run around like hamsters in a Habitrail, and lift the stones of vanity to achieve a well-sculpted body. I used to lift weights but soon noticed that when I stopped, the muscle turned to blubber. God forbid a recreational weightlifter with stretch marks. Use your own body weight, there’s plenty of it. Ideally, my workouts take place outdoors.
I have a fool-proof way to get in shape — eat less and exercise every day. It’s more complicated than that, though. There are so many tasty restaurants in town, coffee shops, fresh donuts, plump breakfast burritos, overstuffed sandwiches, sushi, Chinese food, Thai food, ribs and steaks and so on. I could easily eat out every day, and often eat at least one meal a day “out.” I wish I could be a local food critic eating my way through town every week.
A lot of my motivation to work out is for the very reward of being able to justify over-eating. And conversely, I often guilt myself into working out excessively as a punishment for eating too much. I will eat so much that I will give myself a food hangover. It’s an ugly wasteful cycle.
Looking at your physique in the mirror is a double-edged sword. Based on how you are feeling at the moment, your perception of what you are seeing varies drastically. If you are in a good mood and sucking in your stomach, the appearance can be somewhat pleasing. If you are in a bad mood, your body can look lopsided and disfigured. Mirror, mirror on the wall ...
I own a bathroom scale and that can be a trap, too. I have a perception of what I should weigh and it’s always 10 pounds less than what the scale says. Every time I look down at the number all I can think of is that kid in the back of the family station wagon asking, “are we there yet?”
How many sit-ups a day does it take to get washboard abs? There are many different schools of thought as to what type of sit-ups you should be doing to get that illusive sought-after chiseled stomach. A hundred a day, every day, for a year, is a good starting point.
This is a tough six months ahead of us in terms of eating well. It basically rains candy from Halloween through Christmas, Valentines Day and culminating with Easter. These holidays are centered on over-eating and indulgence — fitness’ dark master.
I can’t tell you how to get in shape, but I’ve come up with a fool-proof way to tell if you’re overweight or not. It can be done at work while on the clock, or in the privacy of your own home. Simply take your index finger and stick it into your belly button. See how far it goes in. It should only go about fingernail deep. If it goes in past the first knuckle or further, stop what you’re doing immediately and start jogging.
There’s another interesting concept being batted around in the weight-loss industry that in the future could perhaps tell you when you were getting overweight. You know those buttons on frozen turkeys that pop up when the bird is cooked? If you could have one of those surgically implanted on your mid-section that would pop up when you were say, 10 pounds overweight, that would be very helpful. It may prove embarrassing, however, when you’re out to dinner and the thing pops up underneath your shirt and your date asks you about it, in which case you’d have to cover it with a piece of duct tape. It wouldn’t pop back in by itself — you’d need to go the doctor for a consultation and have it reset.
If you had an “either or” choice in life to be rich, or have a flat stomach which would you take? I’ve been baffled lately as to how to get into the kind of shape I used to be, and am slowly realizing that when you turn middle aged you get your baby fat back. Fitness is like a dog chasing its tail. Is peak fitness the pinnacle of happiness and success, or a grand illusion? Regardless, it’s time to get back on the program and slowly chisel away at this washboard-protector before ski season.
Email Lorenzo at firstname.lastname@example.org .