Let’s Get Physical-ish

Living in the Granite State has responsibilities. If you live in a rock-hard state, you need a rock-hard body. New acquaintances often ask, “How did you get a body like that at your age?”

“I work out in the gym five times a week,” I reply proudly.

“Wow, I thought working out was supposed to help. You are a mess.”

“Ahh, imagine how it would be if I did not work out.”

My Body Pump instructor is Michelle (not her real name, she uses one “l”). Body Pump is a lightweight workout choreographed to music not intended to build new muscle but to tone your existing muscles. My muscles have the same DNA as my ears and both are tone deaf.

Michelle says that it is all about muscle memory. “If you practice good form,” she says, “your muscles learn the correct way to do the exercises. Then your muscles remember.” My muscles seem to have Alzheimer’s.

Folks in New Zealand design the body pump tortures, err, I mean routines, which explains a lot — they are on the bottom side of the earth hanging upside down. All that blood rushing to their heads distorts their thinking.

Michelle says that if you can do an abdominal workout for 30 minutes then you are doing it wrong. She claims that a correct abs workout should wear you out in 10 minutes. I must be perfect since I am pooped on the second crunch. Abdominal workouts are supposed to give you “six-pack abs.” My six-pack seems to be made of Fluffernutter.

She also preaches water therapy. “Drink at least eight glasses of water every day for good health.” This one works. I drink my eight glasses every day and get a great cardio workout running to the bathroom all day.

Michelle says that it takes two days for muscles to recover from a heavy weight workout. I think that my two days are Tuesdays.

My lovely wife, Little Kahunah (her mother is the Big Kahunah), takes spinning classes at the gym. I imagined the homemade woolen sweater she might make for me with all of the yarn that she spun. Then she took me to one of her spinning classes and introduced me to the roomful of stationary bicycles, no yarn in sight.

“Your water bottle goes here,” she explained, pointing to a wire frame holder on the front of the contraption. “This knob adjusts the drag on the wheel. Just pay attention to the instructor.”

I climbed up on the bike next to Little Kahunah as the room filled with students. Soon instructor Melisa (not her real name, inverse of above) came in and began the class with an imaginary warm-up spin around the room. We were doing fine until she announced, “First big hill coming, crank ‘em!” Little Kahuna reached over and twisted the knob on my bike. I promptly hopped off.

“What are you doing?” asked Melisa, whose Granite State body seemed unaware that her bike was set on “Kill.”

“I always walk up the hills when biking,” I explained.

“Maybe you should stick to Body Pump,” said Little Kahunah on the ride home. I agreed.

Toward the end of the next class, as I lay gasping for breath, Michelle instructed, “For lunges start with your weak leg forward first. If you are right-handed then your left leg will be the weak one.” I am ambidextrous, which means that my left leg is my weak one and my right leg is my other weak one.

Maybe I should move to the Marshmallow state. NH

As a frequent Nashua Telegraph columnist John Bachman is more accustomed to pumping irony than iron. He says he is using his retirement years to train as a professional hobbyist.