10
Jan
09

Harness the power of your children’s annoyingness to lose weight and tone up

There’s good news and there’s bad news.

The good news is that doctors have discovered that six minutes of exercise a week does as much to improve a person’s fitness as a regime of six hours every seven days.

The bad news is that you still have to do six minutes of exercise a week.

According to the Journal of Applied Physiology, moderately healthy men and women could cut their workouts from two hours a day, three times a week, to just two minutes a day and achieve the same results.

Of course I’m not entirely sure what a “moderately healthy” man or woman is like, but presumably they do everything in moderation, and therefore smoke only five to 10 cigarettes a day and eat deep-fried Mars Bars just on Fridays and Bank Holiday Mondays.

Anyway – presuming you’re moderately healthy (somewhere between terminally ill and Madonna) you can get away with “enduring the discomfort of high-intensity activity” for six minutes a week by “cycling furiously on a stationary bicycle in four 30-second bursts”.
This seems but a simple step up – or perhaps down – from what I’m already doing, which is driving while furious in 30-second bursts in snarled-up citycentre traffic in a car which is normally stationary. Perhaps this makes me more than moderately healthy.

For those of you less active souls, you’re going to have to find a stationary bicycle, which means strapping your entire family to the saddle of your normal bike and trying to make it up Mam Tor or Snowdon or visiting a gym and unleashing a whole new level of self-hatred into your life.

By rights, when you visit a gym you should be surrounded by grossly obese individuals wheezing like punctured bagpipes and sweating like onions in a hot pan – after all, they’re the buggers that need it.Instead, you find yourself in a sea of pure muscle, searching for an inch of body fat like Zammo hunted for heroin on the toilet floor at Grange Hill.

Why aren’t these people out celebrating the fact they can see their toes?

If I had abdominal muscles that could crack walnuts, I wouldn’t be in the bloody gym every night – I’d be dancing on a table in Stringfellows andinviting some bloke from Hollyoaks to open his beer bottle on my navel. This kind of attitude is, of course, why I do not have abdominal muscles that could crack walnuts.

Facing facts, the very best you can hope for at the gym is that there will be a sizeable contingent of desperately ugly people who work out obsessively because they want to make sure that, at the very least, they look OK from the back.

Perhaps it’s possible to bypass the stationary bike and substitute cycling for other forms of equally strenous exercise, like “enduring the discomfort” of taking the children shoe-shopping, or listening to other people’s kids singing at school shows.

Granted, my fitness plan takes an hour and a half a day, five days a week, but I think you’ll find it easy to fit into your daily routine without having to waste six precious minutes cycling nowhere when you could be using that time to eat a bun.

Start: 3pm. Finish: 4.30pm. Special equipment needed: children.

How it works: You burn off calories depending on the activity you undertake. Your aim is to burn off more calories than you ingest, but if you break even, frankly it will be a miracle. For example, the following activities burn off the following number of calories:

1) Rush to complete work before leaving for school run: 40 calories.

2) Rush from work to school, fail to find parking space. Finally find space 1.5 miles from the playground, limp to school in high heels while mowing down as few tinies as possible, arrive eight minutes late (again) and receive disapproving frown from classroom assistant: 150 calories.

3) Have a bar of chocolate and can of Coke at the shop while buying “sorry for being late (again)” treat for daughter:  minus 800 calories.

4) Attempt to squeeze through the gap between the hedge and the row of 4x4s parked between shop and car: 200 calories.

5) Argument about why I cannot buy another jumbo pack of cereal in order to get a mini light sabre which will inevitably be blue again, because we have a backlog of 478 cereal packets at home and we still haven’t found a green light sabre (substitute for whichever toy/book/pointless piece of tat is currently being given away by cereal companies): 70 calories.

6) Try to get children to eat dinner, including the “children in Africa…” lecture: 600 calories.

7) Eat children’s dinner because it shouldn’t go to waste: minus 800 calories.

If you feel particularly strong, you can supplement this plan with extra options, such as chasing children up and down stairs brandishing a nit comb (100 calories), removing plasters from their knees (200 calories) or explaining the facts of life to them (9,000 calories). Suddenly cycling for six minutes a week doesn’t seem like such a bad deal.

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2 Responses to “Harness the power of your children’s annoyingness to lose weight and tone up”


  1. January 11, 2009 at 2:58 pm

    ‘Facing facts, the very best you can hope for at the gym is that there will be a sizeable contingent of desperately ugly people who work out obsessively because they want to make sure that, at the very least, they look OK from the back.’

    Hilarious stuff. Reminds me of a guy at my gym who continually does calf excercises, then actually looks at them to see if they have bloomed into muscle since the last time he checked, which was about a minute earlier. He is continually disappointed.

    Even when he is doing other workouts I know he is thinking about his calves. Every time I see him I think that I’ll make his day by casually mentioning “hey, nice calves”. But however well-intentioned my plan, it would inevitably backfire because I don’t think I could stop myself laughing.

    If only he knew that if he ignored the lengthy calf routines, he could achieve the same results in only two minutes a day…

  2. 2 womaninblack
    January 11, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    Imagine – you could throw him into a quandary by simply catching his eye, looking him up and down and saying: “have you ever thought about targeting your calves…?”

    Perhaps one day he will look down and his calves will have ballooned to the point where walking feels as if he’s wearing lead trainers in quicksand. We can but hope.

    Am impressed you go to the gym at all. By definition, you are one of my newest heroes.


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