Under a layer of dust, all the stuff you could ever want for a workout

August 05, 1999|By Kevin Cowherd

SO YOU finally decided to get off your duff and lose some weight, and now you're in the market for some exercise equipment to release the inner god or goddess that surely resides within.

Terrific.

But do yourself a big favor: Call me first.

Because I have every piece of exercise equipment and paraphernalia known to man, all of it gathering dust out in the tool shed.

Let's see . . . you into Tae-Bo? The kick-boxing thing with the bald guy?

Sure, I got Tae-Bo tapes. I got every Tae-Bo tape ever made.

The 13-year-old was into Tae-Bo. One day she saw this Tae-Bo infomercial on TV, OK? It featured that Billy Blanks dude, who has the same body-fat content as bamboo, and two grinning, anorexic babes backing him up.

Anyway, the music was pulsating and Billy and his backup cadavers were kicking and punching the air and whooping it up, and I guess it looked like a whole bunch of fun.

Because the next thing I know, the 13-year-old announces: "I'm off to the video store."

She came back an hour later with what turned out to be the entire Tae-Bo oeuvre: "Basic Tae-Bo," "Complete Tae-Bo," "Tae-Bo: The 8-Minute Workout" -- you name it.

"Billy Blanks has made exercise fun!" she announced. "I'm going to do Tae-Bo every day, you wait and see."

And she did do it every day.

For four days.

Every day for four days she'd slap that tape in the VCR and kick and punch and sweat, only she never seemed to be having quite as much fun as Billy and his starving babes.

On the fifth day, she went to the mall with her friends. And the next time I saw the Tae-Bo tapes, she was using them to prop open a window in her bedroom.

How about free weights? You need free weights? How much you need?

I got 200 pounds of plates, a bar and a bench. I'll even throw in a few dumbbells and a couple of those hand-squeezer things if you take this junk off my hands.

The 16-year-old was into the free weights. One day he announced his intention to become "big and cut" like some thuggish wrestler named Big Poppa Pump.

While he was willing to forgo the requisite lifelong steroid habit, he said he needed to buy a set of weights pronto.

"Wait for a yard sale," I said. "People are always unloading free weights at yard sales."

Apparently, he considered this sound advice.

In fact, he considered it so sound that he immediately went to the sporting goods superstore at the mall and burned 75 bucks on a set of weights.

Every day we'd hear him working out in his room, the weights clanging against the floor.

Once after a workout, he came downstairs and flexed and stared at himself in the mirror.

"Man, I am ripped!" he said. "Look at these guns!"

"You've been lifting for two days," I said.

"This is the beginning of a lifetime project," he said.

Oh, he kept lifting, all right.

He kept lifting for exactly two weeks.

After that, we never heard the weights clang against the floor again.

The next time I saw the weights, they were buried so deep in his closet you needed a lantern to find them.

But maybe weights aren't what you're all about. Maybe what you're all about is a treadmill.

Sure, I got a treadmill. This baby's state-of-the-art, too.

It's got all the bells and whistles: four different exercise programs, full cardio readout, even an emergency stop button in case you get lightheaded and start to keel over.

Heck, this thing could probably even call a cab for you, if you could figure out how to program it.

Anyway, the treadmill was, uh, my little toy.

The thinking here was: Instead of going for a 45-minute walk around the neighborhood every day, why not set this baby up in front of the TV and do a brisk half-hour while watching the Czechoslovakian Open on the The Golf Channel?

But after a few days I discovered the essential truth about treadmills, which is that they're mind-numbingly boring.

In fact, there is nothing more boring than a treadmill, except maybe a StairMaster. No, I take that back. A StairMaster is like a Club Med cruise compared to a treadmill.

Anyway, what else you need? A rowing machine?

I got a rowing machine. It's my wife's. She got it for Christmas. If memory serves, she used it for, oh, 45 minutes.

Right now, it's down in the laundry room. We use it to hang wet sweat socks. Does an incredible job, too.

Pub Date: 08/05/99

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