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July 28, 2006

Infomercial Madness

Many of you know that my friend Mike and I write a twice-monthly column about running in the Monterey Herald. For the first several months of this blog, I made a habit of linking to those newspaper articles that I kept on my original R&R website.

I haven’t done that for a while now, for two primary reasons:

1) A lot of the ideas for the newspaper column originate on this blog, so if you were to read both articles, you’d notice an awful lot of redundancy. Over time, this blog has become the on-deck circle where articles warm up before stepping up to the Herald’s home plate. (That may be an inaccurate analogy – because I have no idea how many people actually read the Herald stuff. For all I know, there may be just as many who read this blog.)

2) I’ve been extraordinarily slow in getting articles posted to the original R&R site recently. For some reason I make this step way more complicated than it should be, and consequently it’s very easy for me to fall behind.

However, from time to time we’ll come up with something for the paper that hasn’t already been test driven on this blog. That was the case last week. Mike had been recuperating from an injury and started to keep track of all the outlandish infomercials he saw for various fitness products. We took that premise and had some fun with it.


The Running Life 7/20/06 : “Infomercial Fitness”

From time to time, both of us have battled recurring injuries. The standard advice injured runners always hear is to take some rest.

Unfortunately, we both happen to be terribly impatient. We get antsy when we can’t go running. So during our “rest” periods, we look to other forms of exercise to stay in shape until we can hit the roads again.

Fortunately we have television access for our indoor cross-training. Whenever we’re pedaling away at a stationary bike or tugging on a rowing machine, we channel surf through the countless infomercials promising a fast lane to fitness. (Unless of course we come across a Girls Gone Wild video, in which case we immediately stop surfing – but not pedaling.)

We’re amazed at how much we didn’t know about fitness before we started watching early morning television. Sure, running is the easiest and fastest way to get in shape, but apparently it isn’t the sexiest.

Now we have some better alternatives. Here then is our money-back guaranteed recommendation for anyone looking to achieve peak physical fitness:

You have a DVD player, right? Buy several DVD’s that you can alternate from day to day in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Monday can be Yoga Booty Ballet, hosted by fitness superstars Teigh and Gillian. Hollywood celebrities use it to flex, firm, and burn. This workout seems primarily aimed at women, but men would certainly enjoy watching Teigh and Gillian work their booties. Like we said, you’re in the privacy of home.

On Tuesday try Chalene’s Turbo Jam Workout. You can lose 10 pounds and 10 inches in 10 days while learning calorie-busting kickboxing and dance moves. And Chalene’s not bad to look at, either.

Wednesday would be the classic, the pioneer: John Basedow’s Fitness Made Simple. John cares about you. Just do John’s workouts and follow John’s nutrition recommendations, and any man will undoubtedly end up looking like John. Single women will land themselves a man that looks like John, so everybody wins.

On Thursday do the Inside and Out 6 Week Body Makeover with Michael Thurmond. You can sleep in a little, too, because you’ll only need 18 minutes for the body sculpting routine. You’ll be able to eat more, exercise less, and get fit - guaranteed. Michael is a master body sculptor who has transformed the bodies of countless celebrities.

Then again, you can work out with real celebrities on the remaining three days of the week.

Supermodel Elle McPherson and less-than-super actor Patrick Duffy are spokespeople for Supreme Pilates. Note that it is “supreme,” meaning it must be way better than that plain old Winsor Pilates crap that Daisy Fuentes sells. But don’t play favorites – give each of them one day of the week. Besides, how exciting would it be to have both Elle and Daisy in your living room? It’s the kind of thing guys dream about.

Don’t think that Sunday is a rest day, because we’ve reserved that day for our favorite workout, Billy Blanks’ Tae Bo Boot Camp. You’ll transform your body and mind, and blast into shape in just 7 days. Have you seen Billy? Would you argue with him? Us either.

So you’ve got your indoor workouts covered. What if you want some fresh air? In that case, we recommend that you park the cars outside and start filling your garage with exercise equipment. No, it’s not “really” outside, but this way you’re protected from the harsh wind and rain. And sunlight.

Sure, it can be quite expensive, but if you are serious about total fitness, you absolutely need this equipment. Start with the Bowflex Extreme, for as little as $20/month. You’ll still be paying for it six years from now, but by then you’ll have the body you always wanted. You’re worth it!

If that’s not your style, how about the Total Gym? In just 6 to 8 minutes a day, you can look like Chuck Norris or Christie Brinkley. All this time, did you think Christie was just naturally beautiful? If it weren’t for the Total Gym, she’d be just as frumpy as the rest of us.

Leave room in the garage for abdominal machines. Those old fashioned sit-ups and crunches are for chumps. Work your abs into a frenzy with the Ab-doer, Ab-blaster, Ab-Lounger, RED (Rotational Exercise Device), or (our favorite) the Torso Tiger. Or if eight minutes per day is too much commitment, just buy the Slendertone Flex Ab-Belt, which you simply wear and go about your daily routine, with no exercise needed.

Got all that? Your exercise regimen is now complete. Oh, wait - there’s one more thing. Read the fine print on all of these revolutionary programs:

Results may vary. Advertised results not typical. You may be less successful. And of course, best results are achieved by using this product along with a consistent program of sensible diet and traditional exercise.

You know, traditional exercise…like running.

Come to think of it, being injured sucks. We’d much rather save our money, and just get back out on the trails and roads.


backofpack 7/28/06, 10:09 AM  

Another stellar article! It's nice to have you back Donald.

Annette 7/28/06, 12:55 PM  

I came across your blog via backof pack. Loved the article! :)

I'm heading to Monterey on vacation in about a week - I'll have to look for the Monterey Herald while I'm there. Got any advice on good places to run there?

Robb 7/28/06, 3:11 PM  

Donald you always crack me up! I agree with you about running being a poor man's workout - it's cheap like me!

TriSaraTops 7/29/06, 9:19 AM  

Ha ha! Love the article!

Darrell 7/29/06, 9:41 PM  

I love the one with Christopher Knight and how they feel that have to show his picture as a Brady Kid so you'll know who he is. Wasn't he on some celebrity weight loss show?

robtherunner 7/30/06, 3:05 PM  

Great article Donald. I'm holding out for the "Body by Britney," not the new trailer trash version though.

Thomas 7/31/06, 6:26 AM  

Damn, for a second I was hoping you'd do a review and recommendation of your favourite elliptical trainer. Or dreadmill. Or stationary bike. Or .. I can't think of what else.

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