Category Archives: exercise

Looking cool in a penguin costume does not make you a literary giant …

If there isn’t already, there should be a law which states clearly and firmly that fit, healthy 21-year-old lads are not allowed to always be first on the WiiFit leaderboard. This is particularly pertinent when the WiiFit actually belongs to Rocco’s mother. She should be allowed to be best at something

The Hunter Gatherer gave Rocco’s mother the WiiFit for Christmas. The frightening part was that it wanted to weigh her. Naturellement, she thought NOT. Who in their right mind wants technology to tell them they are obese?  You could argue that machines don’t know everything – and Rocco’s mother did. Therefore, she closed her eyes while the machine did its worst, and didn’t ever click on the WEIGHT button. A little knowledge can be a very dangerous thing – and Rocco’s mother wanted to venture forth into 2009 without much knowledge at all. Especially the kind which might impede her prior knowledge regarding how excellent chocolate and sea-salt potato crisps taste. And icy cold iced coffee by the gallon. And we’re not talking the low-fat kind. Why would we?

Rocco’s mother made herself a nice little avatar person and had a few happy hours trying out the games and exercises. Her nice little person happily zipped into a fetching penguin suit to compete in Penguin Slide – and was doing very well at that, and several other things. Rocco’s mother found she had surprisingly good balance. Because of this, she stupidly bragged to Rocco. A bad mistake, because Rocco has a competitive nature – and being a surfer, scoffed at the fact his aging mater might consider she could out-balance him at anything. He was sure he could do better. In a penguin suit, even.

Rocco set about making himself an avatar. A very cool one indeed – with spiky hair, sunglasses and a lime green outfit. Rocco’s mother *sigh* had to admit it was the height of coolness. Surreptitiously, in edit mode, she removed the spectacles she’d given herself. After all, she only wears them for reading and there are no reading activities to compete in. The fact she could whup Rocco’s arse in a spelling bee is her own personal and heavily guarded secret.

Rocco’s avatar zipped itself into the penguin suit – and even looked cool thus attired. He flashed backwards and forwards on the iceberg with gay abandon – not falling off once. Rocco’s mother, on the other hand, spent a fair bit of time flailing in the water. And was too obese tired to leap elegantly to catch the prized red fish (10 points each).  At the end of his turn, Rocco’s penguin leaped and cheered and punched the air. He then took his place at the top of the leaderboard. By this time, Rocco’s mother had broken out a packet of biscuits and settled down to watch whilst he took away, one by one, her records for Table Tilt, Ski Slalom and Tightrope Walking. In fact, he had so many turns at Ski Slalom that Rocco’s mother dropped off the leaderboard completely and will possibly forever remain unranked.

‘Look at it this way,’ Rocco smugly assured her, ‘It will give you something to aim for!’ There actually was something his mother would have liked to have aimed for. But one doesn’t do that to one’s only son. No matter how great the provocation. It also rankles slightly that Rocco’s body fitness test placed him right in the middle of IDEAL. In fact, it then proceeded to tell him he should aim to gain three kilos. There was no facility for file sharing – or Rocco’s mother would have happily downloaded some of hers into his fatbox.

On a happier note, Rocco’s mother is top of the leaderboard in Jogging. This is because Rocco can’t be bothered doing that. It would be beyond his dignity to run on the spot for 10 minutes in the middle of the living room when he could reap greater rewards in far shorter time at other activities. Nor will he try the yoga poses. To be perfectly honest, Rocco’s mother hasn’t attempted these either. She will wait until the holidays are over and she has the house completely to herself in order to pose in private.

There is some light on the horizon, however, Flygirl and Roo will both be visiting towards the end of the month. Flygirl has her own WiiFit and a very active, sporty partner to compete with at home. Roo is a gym junkie and jogs for miles and miles. Rocco’s mother hopes these two will prove formidable foe. Watch out, Rocco – your time may almost be up.

And bear in mind, your mother will always be able to whup your arse in a spelling bee. No amount of looking dashing in a penguin suit will ever change that …



I sing the body demented …

Quite a few years ago I started going on a morning walk. It was before my eldest daughter’s wedding, and I’d noticed I was a bit (nay, a lot) boombah. There really wasn’t very much time to do anything about it, seeing as the wedding was only a couple of weeks away – but I decided I would force myself to walk for half an hour each day in the interests of health, happiness and the Australian way.

There’s nothing interesting or unusual about someone going on a daily walk, but it’s had its moments. Some of which are worthy of mention. After all, if you’ve read this far, surely you can humour me and manage another 600 words or so. (Thanks in anticipation, for that.)

At one stage, because I really did hate the thought of having to do that damn walk each day – I got it into my head to do it really early and get it out of the way. I’m a very light sleeper, so really early meant 4.30-ish. I’d wake up around that time and lie there thinking about how horrible it was that I was going to have to do that walk and how I wasn’t looking forward to it … but if I got up and did it NOW, I’d have the rest of the day to read the papers and sit in the sun eating chocolate, cake and potato crisps mung bean sarnies and soy crackers.

So verily it came to pass that one morning I hauled myself from my deliciously warm and marvellous bed and out into the darkling night. It was actually fantastic out there, as it happened to be a beautiful moonlit night – cool and still and enchanting. The start of my walk entails a diagonal stumble across a sports oval. It’s quite elevated, and I noticed with delight that even though all around me was pitch black, off to the left I could see the lights of the whole town glittering in the distance far below like a magical little firmament purely for my edification. It was quite fabulous altogether, so I stood there and had a good long look at that, and thought about how I was the only person awake in the whole wide world. Woo.

After a little while experiencing this unlikely epiphany, I trotted off again, and nearly shat myself in horror when all of a sudden something loomed ahead in the darkness and I found I wasn’t the only one awake in the whole wide world after all. Some druid in a cowl and blanket had laid out his gran’s spare chenille bedspread on the grass in the middle of the oval and was assuming a yoga position and doing druidy things under the cloak of darkness. I think a noise of surprise and/or horror might have emanated from me – but not a word from the druid, who was obviously on a much higher plane and swathed in a mist of sandalwood and myrrh from the incense sticks he’d poked in the grass around him. I did a sort of crablike movement in order to avoid trampling his patchouli cones, and trundled up to the highway with my poor old heart hammering away with the sheer shock of it all. I’ll never know what the druid thought. And neither, probably, will he.

Once I got to the highway, there were streetlights. Those really big overhead bright ones, which could have lit up an Olympic stadium. There were also trucks trundling past in fairly regular succession, and I was thinking how nice it would have been if the Mickey D’s on the corner was a 24 hour one and I’d thought to bring some money and could have lobbed in there for a warming thick chocolate drink with double cream skim latte and sat watching the trucks going past and the sun coming up, etc., etc., etc. And while I was contemplating this, I put my hand in my pocket to check whether maybe I did have coinage – and realised with horror that I was standing on a main highway in my nightie, dressing gown and a pair of crappy slippers.

At this particular point in the walk, I’m either halfway there or halfway back – so there wasn’t anything much to do except go forward into the fray. I didn’t particularly want to encounter the druid again, because if he’d come out of his trance long enough to realise the madwoman in the bed gear was returning to accost him from yet another angle in a surprise attack, there might have been a nasty encounter of the zen kind.  So there was nothing for it really than to shuffle on home.

And so, eventually, to bed …


The holiday’s not over ‘til the fat lady sinks …

            Because he’s that kind of guy, the Hunter Gatherer once gave me three nights in Cairns for my birthday. After the initial excitement had  worn off, it occurred to me I had less than a week to drop 20 kilos – and other than amputating my legs with a buzzsaw there really wasn’t much I could do about it.

            Location is part of the problem here. For three nights in Alaska I could wrap myself in walrus blubber, put on a furry suit and drop little gems like; ‘Hard to imagine I’m wearing size 8 knickers under this lot, eh?’ Or with three nights at Uluru there’d at least be something bigger than me.

            But no – I get three nights in the fun and sun capital, where one day’s perfect, the next is obese. Have no fear, I thought. There’s big, colourful tent thingies to wear. And besides, I don’t need to go in the water if I don’t want to.

            ‘We can go snorkelling!’ said the HG gleefully. I should have punched him out. So there we were, in the fun and sun capital, fronting up to the booking office to go out to the reef. By helicopter.

            ‘What worries me,’ I said to the man behind the counter, ever mindful of personal safety and remembering recent events, ‘is being left behind out there.’ He sized me up. I had a feeling he was trying not to laugh.

‘I don’t think that’s likely, Madam.’ I should have punched HIM out. If I’d known what was coming next, I would have. ‘It’s a requirement,’ he continued, ‘that you provide your weight. For the helicopter pilot.’

            Slight problem looms on the horizon. Found the bathroom scales drowned in the bath one morning many years prior, and hadn’t been able to weigh myself since. Actually, I liked the scales that way. They were so rusted up they never managed to creak past 40 kilos. But I digress.

            I pulled my stomach and cheeks in while the nice man made a few brave guesses. It would have been less embarrassing to give birth with the Iranian Army watching.

            Anyway, we front up the next morning at the helipad. The nice pilot gets out, opens up the back and starts removing ballast. More stomach-and-cheek sucking-in, to no avail. There’s nowhere to suck it into.

            We managed to get out there without the nice pilot’s helicopter plunging into the briny because I’d had a happy winter in the company of potato crisps and Whitman’s soft centres – and we had a happy afternoon feasting on seafood and other stuff before HG brings up the snorkelling again.

            Well, I had to admit the water looked pretty good. Warm, blue and inviting. Couldn’t find any walrus blubber to pack under the lifejacket – but no matter. Borrowed a pair of HG’s board shorts to pull over the worst bits, and in I went.

            The water was packed with neat little Japanese people gliding gracefully around. And me. Not gliding – floundering. I don’t know how anyone breathes through those pathetic little tubes. It was beyond me. In my mind’s eye I could see my lungs, thrusting in vain against the fat as I tried to draw breath.

            Once home, there were three options.

1.      Diet. (And make my life a bloody misery – not likely!)

2.      Amputate my legs with a buzzsaw.

3.      Book the next holiday – to Alaska.

Yeah … bring on the walrus blubber and the furry snowsuit. And the size 8 knickers to wear underneath …



Dodging the molecules …

            That which is lost will invariably be found – and not always by the one who lost it. A case in point – fat.

            People lose fat every day. They literally work their butts off doing it. They do not consider for one cotton-pickin’ minute where it goes when they lose it. They have absolutely no consideration whatsoever for those of us upon whom it falls.

            Somewhere out there, intangible in the atmosphere, are fat globules on the move. Transparent, invisible and downright deadly. They’ve been banished from the tummies and buttocks of those who pound the pavements and shun Sara Lee, and are, even as we speak, winging their way sanctimoniously toward those of us lying back on our banana lounges with our contented, dimpled thighs supporting trays of Chicken Delight and Whitman’s boxes with only the hard centres left.

            How does the fat know where to attach for maximum effect? Simple. It doesn’t pick a moving target. This is why people exercise – not because they’re burning up calories, but because they’re dodging fat molecules. Always remember – fat molecules don’t land on the person jogging past Krispy Kreme – they land on the person staring wistfully in the window deciding whether they could put away half a dozen glazed before lunch.

            Non-smokers get riled all the time about passive smoking. They don’t like it when a passerby blows smoke in their faces or fills a public place with noxious fumes. It’s probably never occurred to them the amount of fat they accumulate when a thin person trots by. Smokers with diseases sue tobacco companies after they’ve made themselves ill. Fat people should be able to sue Cadbury’s or the smug, stick-insect woman next door in the size 8 hotpants.

            Because fat is such a problem to so many of us, scientists are kept frantically busy working on ways to create fatless fats. The day will come when fat is no longer fat and we can all be thin. Hooray! Human nature being what it is, when thin is easily attainable and everyone has it, it will probably no longer be desirable. In the meantime, society delights in giving us handy hints and guidelines on how to cope if we happen to be one of those upon whom other people’s unwanted fat molecules descend.

            . Don’t wear wide horizontal stripes. You will look like the grand staircase at Tara. People will walk up the front of you and down the other side.

            . Don’t hang around with thin people. It will make you look worse. It will also put you in a prime position for inadvertent fat-catching. Make sure all your friends are equal-to or greater-than.

            . Don’t EVER be sucked into trying things on in changing rooms. They do something with the mirrors. When you walk in, you actually feel quite attractive, albeit in a fat sort of way. By the time you walk out you’ll be wondering why you bothered heaving your sorry carcass out of bed that morning and taking a breath. (Why do they do this? If mirrors were flattering, it stands to reason they’d sell more stuff.)

            . Don’t ever let anyone see you eating anything. They’ll immediately assume you got that way through greed. We all know this is not a fact.

These smug, condescending points are supposed to make us feel we are lesser  human beings – just because we are more. And something else which has recently come to my notice is the way certain little words have become attached to labels on clothing. Words such as PLUS, EXTRA and ALL WOMAN. Terrific. This is so larger people can have choices like ordinary people. Why don’t they just come right out and put HUGE-UM, BOOMBAH and BARGEARSE?

            And it’s our own fault. For acting like we’re ashamed of ourselves instead of embracing our wobbly bits and showing them off to all and sundry at every opportunity. I have every intention of going out and buying the biggest, brightest tent I can lay my hands on – with stripes wider than zebra crossings in colours never intended to appear together in the same spectrum.

            But I probably won’t. I’m too scared of having footprints going up the front and down the back …



Buttocks to die for in the privacy of your own home …

            There’s something about exercising, isn’t there? Nobody wants to do it, but we tell ourselves we should. We tell ourselves we’d be able to fit into those size 10 jeans again, no worries, if only we could bring ourselves to dedicate just 10 minutes a day to stomach crunches and jumping jacks.

            Or – we could buy an exercise machine! Yup – that’ll solve the problems of the world and our total lack of self esteem – and we can park it right in front of the telly and pedal ourselves away into oblivion while Big Ted sings, ‘Row Row Row Your Boat,’ in a brave, encouraging manner on Playschool … and we don’t even have to leave the house. We can do it without having to wear a fluoro g-string and submit ourselves to the humiliation of people looking out of their windows as we wheeze pathetically by with our buttocks slapping on the cobblestones. In the privacy of our own home we can wear our disgusting pyjamas and – guaranteed or our money back – look like a supermodel before the end of the week. Whoooah!

            Yeah, sure. What makes us think this? The advertisements, that’s what. Because we’re gullible. And the funny thing is, the beautiful people operating the machines in their fluoro g-strings (with not a tad of effort or underarm perspiration even), tell us how the miracle machine did this for them with just 10 minutes a day minimum effort. Are we sucked in yet? Not only that, the new deluxe version of the machine ($499 plus GST) will do it in only FIVE minutes a day. AND it has a super little tray on the front of the handle for an economy-sized slice of mudcake and mug of hot chocolate!

            Think a minute. How many people do you know who own exercise machines? How many actually firmed up their wobbly bits and got back into the size 10? Nobody, that’s who. The thing is gathering dust in the corner of their spare room. They didn’t even dare send it back for a refund because it might look like their own miserable failure. Face it – the only machine that’s going to do it for you is your own personal willpower.

            The willpower, however, is damn hard to operate. It’s not just a matter of hopping on for a few minutes a day and puffing away. It’s a matter of keeping your cheating hand off the ‘fridge door. Pretending you are looking out of the restaurant window (oh look – a two headed monkey!) when the dessert trolley trundles past. Telling your tastebuds there is no substitute for a celery stick and a glob of cottage cheese. Not going anywhere, ever again, because there’s food out there in them thar hills and it’s callin’ your name!

            Another feature of the willpower is how it tends to break down after about a week. You lose a kilo. Feel damn superior altogether. Have a Mars Bar for breakfast on Tuesday because you know you’ll be able to work it off with those three trips down to the washing line and back. Weigh yourself the next morning … the kilo’s back. Must have been hiding in the bottom of that Mars Bar wrapper. Oh well – tuck the willpower into the back of the brain and reach for a quart of dairy custard and a microwaveable golden syrup pudding. There, there … doesn’t that feel better?

            The vicious circle goes round and round. It makes you dizzy. It makes you watch in wonder as the latest machine presents its gleaming chassis to you – a machine which will benefit every part of your body, dammit, or die trying! This machine will take the place of an entire gymnasium – in the privacy of your own home, without you having to put yourself at risk jogging through the crime-infested streets! You won’t have to front up to aerobic classes in embarrassing bodysuits or endure titters of derision as your stomach flubs up over your nose. All you have to do is use this machine for five minutes a day … satisfaction guaranteed or your money back!

            It even folds down neatly so you can store it under the bed. Which is just as well, because it’s damn well staying there.