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By Jason Offutt
I hate to exercise. It’s not that you can tell by looking at me; you’d think I’d never tried at all.
But I have exercised, sweat, pulled muscles, ran, panted and wheezed like a chain smoker. Hey, I just thought of something. Maybe I wouldn’t hate exercise so much if I were in some kind of shape, you know, other than round.
That’s what pushed me toward the workout aisle of the local discount store. Well that, and my wife, who’s obviously insane. Something about me not dying when I’m 50. Crazy talk.
Have you been to the exercise aisle of a store that also carries Ding Dongs, bacon, Miller Lite, and other things that are counterproductive to your health? It looks like the kind of place medieval prison guards went to stock their torture chamber.
There were weights, and benches and giant rubber balls with an indistinct purpose. Really, what are you supposed to do with a ball the size of a loveseat? Give your spouse someplace to sleep when he makes fun of your giant rubber ball?
The videos really scared me. What kind of person uses a video as an exercise tool? Women, apparently. The only man on a DVD case was Richard Simmons, and the traditional concept of “man” is somewhat suspect in this case.
I scanned shelf after shelf of DVD cases, a different woman on each cover, all looking as if they were confused as to what they wanted to do with their life, compete in the Olympics or punch me in the face. I sure hoped it was the Olympics. I think each one could hurt me.
Then I saw a DVD labeled Zumba? Isn’t that the war plan the Zulus used to defeat the British at the Battle of Isandlwana? Well, at least that’s manly, which gave me an idea. Men are a great untapped resource for the exercise video market.
What’s the best way to get men to buy a workout video? Make it dangerous.
Jason’s Manly Workout Videos
The Southern Chain Gang Workout: You’ve seen the movies with sweaty convicts breaking rocks with sledgehammers, filling holes with shovels, and using other tools no one in their right mind would arm criminals with unless all the guards had shotguns (they do). Then one of the criminals makes a run for it while the guard in mirrored shades takes aim at his back. Yeah, that’s a workout.
The Tarzan Workout: Swing from a few trees, hunt down a few poachers, kill a lion with your bare hands and eat it raw. That’s enough to break a sweat on any cubicle dweller.
The Rambo III Workout: Requirements: a really big knife, a few Mi-24 Hind-D helicopters, a bow with explosive-tipped arrows and the ability to be constantly angry. By hunting Soviets through the rough terrain of Afghanistan, you’ll work off those unwanted pounds in no time. (Warning: the Afghani death toll in “The Rambo III Workout” is a bit high for the average American consumer of commercial exercise products).
Feeling good? Me too. I’m exhausted just writing this.
Jason Offutt’s column has been in continuous publication since 1998 appearing in newspapers and magazines across the United States.