As you know by now, when I go to the health club, I rely on the local beefy boys for inspiration. Nothing gets my motor racing like the big boys in the fitness pit, huffin’ and pressin’ and curlin’ and sweatin’ and generally trying to outmuscle one another. It is sheer joy to me, like air and water and sunshine.



Sometimes, however, on a slow day, when most of the patrons are (like me) slow and feeble and elderly, I have to rely on my treadmill TV for inspiration.



Have you seen the infomercial for something called P90X? It is some sort of exercise program which appears to involve jumping up and down, pushups, and clapping your hands. It is extreme. It is guaranteed to turn you into Johnny Weissmuller (or at least Elmo Lincoln) in ninety days.



I like the transformation stories on these infomercials. They always start with an athletic guy (there are a few women in the mix, but the marketers concentrate on the men here, and I think they know what they’re doing) telling his story, wearing only a few scraps of clothing; then we see pictures of him fat or skinny or unwell; then we see him jumping and bouncing and doing his P90X routine; then we return to the vivid reality of his sculpted new body. All these guys are adorable, and very pleased with themselves. I would just like to munch them all up.



As for the actual exercise routine: I have my doubts. I’m sure it’s a perfectly valid program – anything that involved that much jumping and hopping would probably make you healthier – but ninety days? Dubious at best.



This, of course, is a bow to our results-obsessed culture. Remember when Bart Simpson took up the guitar, then quickly gave it up? “I wasn’t good at it right away, so I quit.” And Homer approved of this, saying: “If something’s hard to do, then it’s not worth doing.”



But wait! I recently saw an ad for Shaun T’s Insanity sixty-day fitness program – with guaranteed results!



And last week, on the Cape, I saw a commercial for a thirty-day program!



Eh. I’ll wait for the ten-minute version. I’m a very busy girl.




About Loren Williams
Gay, partnered, living in Providence, working at a local university. Loves: books, movies, TV. Comments and recriminations can be sent to futureworld@cox.net.

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