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Guerrilla Exercise

Fitness ideas for the adventurous set

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Get fit with Amtgard -- the weight of the armor alone will help you drop a few holiday pounds - HEATHER AINSWORTH
  • Heather Ainsworth
  • Get fit with Amtgard -- the weight of the armor alone will help you drop a few holiday pounds

Did you do the unthinkable? Did you throw all caution to the wind and exceed your 250 calorie-per-day dietary threshold and allow yourself 3 ccs of gravy on your 1.5-ounce portion of turkey on Christmas Day? Do your former friends scoff at the 2.6 pounds of cellulite now dripping conspicuously from the outer ass region of your former perfectly proportioned 100 pound frame?

Yep, it's January -- time for a litany of fitness features that will prey upon your feeble self-image with myriad techniques for tireless self-flagellation in the name of health.

We at the Independent are always eager to provide you with ample alternatives to, well, everything, and now offer you our gluttonous guide to guerilla fitness.

Fit for fear

If there's one thing that always seems to get in the way of conventional fitness, it's boredom. Who can bear the monotony of jogging!? And other than ogling your workout partners in their tighties, there isn't much impetus for dragging your ass to the gym.

Why not add a little danger to your boring fitness routine? Danger adds the element of fear, and fear adds the element of adrenaline.

Try, for example, running naked. Not only will you be committing a petty criminal offense and garnering potentially unwanted attention from your neighbors, you should find the brisk January wind rather exhilarating. If that isn't enough, try it downtown during lunch hour. If that isn't enough, try it at a health club. If that isn't enough, try rousing the moose in Monument Valley Park.

Get Medieval

Have your friends ever told you not to wear chain mail to your weekly game of Dungeons and Dragons? Have you ever been known to whack those friends with makeshift swords and spears or inadvertently hurl a 12-sided die over a miscast spell? Did the recent screenings of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter get you all hot and bothered for a game of Quidditch or a little bit of Orc bashing?

If you answered yes to any of these questions then get thyself to Bear Creek Park on Sundays at 1 p.m. Amtgard is their name, and live-action role-playing is their game.

Unlike traditional role-playing, you'll probably work up a sweat, get hit, and, at some point, wear a tunic. Like traditional role playing, you'll be able to create your own character, cast spells, and chuck 12-sided die at your opponents (not really. . . OK, maybe).

Jonas, a man with more armor than most people have neuroses, started this branch of Amtgard to let off some steam, and, well, to hit people with foam weapons.

So don your codpiece and join Jonas to burn off a few drumsticks on a sunny Sunday afternoon.

Spit to be fit

It's doubtful she invented it, but Dolly Parton can probably be credited with the recent proliferation of the dubious new fad called "spitting." The buxom and slim-waisted Parton cited the chew-and-spit technique in a recent interview as her favorite way to enjoy donuts. Spitting is pretty much what you think it is: You chew up food, skip the swallowing part, then spit it out.

For food-like products such as donuts, Twinkies and Spam, spitting can be a fabulous way to enjoy your favorite crap without compromising your health.

Who needs a gym membership? Head to the ARC. - NOEL BLACK
  • Noel Black
  • Who needs a gym membership? Head to the ARC.

Unfortunately, the unsightly fad seems to have caught on among anorexics and bulimics as a tooth-saving alternative to starvation or self-induced regurgitation. As such, we issue this warning: This technique should not be used in conjunction with any form of self-loathing.

Thrifty fitness

If you don't have an extra 500 bucks lying around for the latest Nordic Trac, exercise bike or StairMaster, and you can't afford the 50 bucks a month for a gym membership, try using the equipment at your local thrift store. Thrift stores are always littered with the relics of New Year's resolutions past, and most shoppers -- bent on sniffing out the best deals -- won't even give you a wayward eye.

Believe it or not, this newest brand of conceptual exercise is already catching on. I recently met a group of high schoolers at the ARC who'd begun working out there several months earlier during a clearance sale on a recent windfall of rowing machines.

John is reading a cookbook and sucking on a Charms pop while lackadaisically pedaling a "Lifestyler 700" with no chain.

"Whoa, this thing has an odometer on it," Aaron says, clocking a sixteenth of a mile on the Tunturi resistance bike next to the propane barbecue before switching to the DP Body Tone 300 rowing machine over by a box of obsolete computer parts.

Phil takes a spin around the linoleum on a pink, one-foot-tall Pinnacle "Little Lady" bike before moving on to the electric, geriatric Laz-E-Boy for a breather.

"So do you guys ever come here with gym bags and work out seriously?" I ask.

"Not really," Aaron says.

"How are you feeling now?" I ask.

"Pumped up," Phil says, moving to the Schwinn resistance bike next to the snowblower.

Glutton's Yoga

Despite its knee-jerk Western connotations of excessive stretching, the word "yoga" actually means "union" in Hindi, and the varieties of its practice go well beyond the sweaty sessions of Bikram.

Yoga stretches are, of course, an important part of achieving yoga, a state of physical, mental and spiritual equilibrium. But achieving this state of balance may require overcoming otherworldly desires and impediments when stretching just won't cut it.

A Yogi I knew named Swami Kaivalyananda once told me about a practice little known to Westerners called "Glutton's Yoga."

In stark opposition to favored Western forms of dietary asceticism, Glutton's Yoga is a form of absolute indulgence that helps you to overcome food obsessions.

Swami Kaivalyananda's story involved a Yogi who was obsessed with chocolate, and so set out about eating a heaping mound of chocolates mindfully until he became quite ill. He was no longer obsessed with chocolate.

So take yourself on down to Michelle's, order the "Pikes Peak," and enjoy. Just do it mindfully.

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