All guts and no glory...

Our unofficial exercise guide will help offset the 1,200 calories the average Super Bowl fan consumes. Best taken with a grain of salt ... and a beer

Touchdown, jump around, then go get another beer

February 02, 2007|By Janet Cromley | Janet Cromley,Los Angeles Times

The Super Bowl is coming. Time to tighten up, close the gaps and hunker down -- on the couch.

Some fans have been in training for months, logging hours on the Barca- lounger, moving as little as possible while reaching for Skittles and beer. Sunday, they'll be going for the burn.

In fact, during the game, as the average 300-pound Indianapolis Colts or Chicago Bears lineman rips through an estimated 4,000 calories, most viewers will burn bupkis. Well, almost bupkis. A standard-issue 180-pound Super Bowl fan will kill about 265 calories cheering and shuffling around on the couch over the three-plus hours of viewing.

And fans will do all this while pounding down a breathtaking lineup of snacks -- 30 million pounds in all, representing 27 billion calories and 1.8 billion grams of fat, according to the Calorie Control Council in Atlanta, an association for the low-calorie food and beverage industry.

Although Super Bowl eating is a team sport, it's individual effort that matters. The average viewer will polish off about 50 grams of fat and 1,200 calories in beer, guacamole and other snacks during the game, according to dietitian Robin Steagall of the Calorie Control Council.

For a healthier Super Bowl, trainers and various do-gooder health associations inevitably recommend cutting fat and calories by substituting junk food with low-fat snacks and yada yada yada.

But we have a better idea.

During the game -- instead of exercising your constitutional right to eat Doritos from an artfully constructed reclining position -- channel that emotion into carefully crafted, trainer-approved Super Bowl exercises.

Outlined below, the officially unsanctioned NFL exercise guide to Super Bowl XLI is designed to reduce ailments commonly associated with extended Super Bowl viewing: stomach distention, lumbar atrophy and gluteal enlargement.

The payoff?

When someone says, "It's a blowout," they won't be talking about you.

How it works

The accompanying exercises are designed to be performed on certain cues -- from plays on the field or comments from the announcers' booth. Make sure to stretch first.

Football fans know that many of these events and comments can be predicted during any given Super Bowl. The mere location of the game, held this year at Dolphin Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla., offers clues to what the pregame show will cover.

In addition to trotting out glamour shots of grilled sausages and ribs, pregame hosts James Brown, Shannon Sharpe, Boomer Esiason and Dan Marino will no doubt do a splashy feature on local indigenous cuisine.

For example, they may pull out a clip of an alligator farm or someone frying or barbecuing alligator meat. If they call these fritters "gator tots," that's your cue to do the Up-Down Beer Cheer.

During the game, our personal trainers are CBS' sportscasting A team: Jim Nantz on the play-by-play and Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil Simms on color.

Good. Here's an easy-to-follow guide to onscreen events and the appropriate exercises:

Announcers use the term "football dynasty," or show Peyton Manning giving Eli a wedgy: Do the Couch Potato Crunch.

Bears coach Lovie Smith expresses 100 percent confidence in his young quarterback, Rex Grossman, and does it with a straight face and without his eye twitching: Do four Beer-Keg Pumps.

The network does a retrospective on the Bears' 1985 "Super Bowl Shuffle," and Brown and Boomer re-create the shuffle in the studio: Do The Shuffle at double time.

Fellow personalities will refer to Marino's contributions to various charitable causes, the city of Miami and the Earth in general. If they mention that he was 27th pick in the 1983 draft or call him an "institution," perform the Up-Down Beer Cheer.

Your team scores a touchdown: Do the Seated Touchdown Dance.

There's a touchdown celebration in the end zone: Re-enact it twice, once at double-speed.

Your opponent scores a touchdown or field goal: Do the Trash Toss.

Your team or the opponent scores a safety or two-point conversion: Do the Furniture Shuffle.

Your team scores a field goal: Do the Field Goal Dance.

The opposing coach calls a timeout to rattle the kicker: Do the Couch Potato Crunch. When the timeout doesn't work -- it never does -- do the Crunch double-time.

Your team has to punt, or it's third and long: Do the Rally Circuit.

Simms points out the quirky personality of kickers, the camera pans to the kicker's wife and she's blond, or someone mentions the salaries of long snappers: Do the Trash Toss.

Nantz or Simms describes how many gallons of guacamole are consumed on Super Bowl Sunday or how many toilets flush at halftime: Chip 'n' Dip Rotation/Serve.

Someone, anyone, declares, "There are four quarters in the game of football, and you've got to play every one": Do Beer Keg Pumps.

The halftime entertainment is Prince, a name synonymous with football: Re-enact Prince's patented signature moves. For every deep-knee bend, do one but not as deep. For pelvic thrusts, steady yourself by placing a hand on the couch.

Prince smiles, completes a sentence, or appears to find the experience more enjoyable than hernia surgery: Do the Up-Down Beer Cheer.

The announcers compare the 5-foot-2-inch Prince to sawed-off quarterback Doug Flutie: Do five Beer Keg Pumps.

Any entertainer or announcer has a wardrobe malfunction: Do the Coffee Table Butt Squeeze.

During the second half of the game, fatigue may set in. This is called "the wall." Work through the exhaustion and continue the exercises until the final second.

At the end of the game, celebrate victory with extended Beer Cheers or acknowledge the loss with four dejected Keg Pumps for every turnover and undeserved penalty that doomed your team.

Elite athletes know to set realistic goals and adhere to proper rewards. We recommend you do the same.

Go get a beer.

Janet Cromley writes for the Los Angeles Times.

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