What To Do When Nothing Else Effing Works: A Short Guide To Silliness

Not exactly safe for work.
Didja know Richard Simmons has cruises? Seriously. They're called "Cruise To Lose" and the next one leaves from NOLA in late September of this year.

How cool would that be? Imagine: a whole cruise ship full of Richard Simmons devotees. And the man himself, teaching classes.

I'll just let you imagine the Bedazzled possibilities there.

All kidding aside, I love Richard Simmons. Dude has it *down* as far as eating right and exercising goes; he started doing what he's still doing in 1973, and has modified his plan according to research on nutrition and fitness. He's a darn sight better than the Johnny-come-lately fitness "gurus" who recommend you eat only carbs (*ahem*, Susan Powter--whatcha doin' now?) and those who recommend that women be "tiny" and not lift anything more than two pounds at a time (Tracy? Tracy Anderson? You got those lawsuits dealt with yet?)

But you know the reason I love Richard Simmons so much?

I'll tell you.

He's silly.

He has silly down as much as he does eating right and the whole process of learning to love yourself. He's not afraid to look like a big ol' queen on national TV, he still wears the same shorts he wore back in 1981, and he admits freely that his hair is all plugs--in a silly way.

He frolics, in much the same way young kids frolic when they play. Fitness is, I think, less a matter of daily slogging for him than of finding the fun, exciting things you can do to get yourself moving.

Therefore, this post on Silly Fitness is dedicated to Saint Richard.

Jo's Tips For Silly Fitness:

1. Frolic. It's the single most important thing you can do. If you feel too exposed when you frolic by yourself, find a frolic partner. Borrow a dog or a kid or go to an all-women's gym or class (my old gym had *great* women-only classes in a windowless room, in which the Pentacostals and the Muslims and the chicks like me would all get frolicky) and have some fun. Play basketball instead of going for a run if you like, or play "FORKS IN A BLENDER!!"*

2. Refuse to be put off by complex moves. Even if you screw it up, short of personal injury, you'll do no harm, and provide a laugh to somebody else. Attila had me doing something this last session that involved a series of short steps, a weight ball, a step, and the eventual collision of Jo with the wall. It got my heartrate up, made us both laugh until we cried, and showed Attila that this was not perhaps the best combo for her clumsier clients.

3. Take the opportunities that boring things present to be silly. Mopping the floor is one thing. Mopping the floor while doing your best Mick Jagger imitation is guaranteed to raise your heart rate and burn more calories than grumbling. Washing the car is great exercise--but it's better with Gloria Gaynor on the radio, turned up loud enough that you can hear it through your (closed) car windows. Even grocery shopping can be fun, if there's good music on the store speakers and you're in a deserted aisle. I'm lucky--the local Kroger plays everything from Louis Armstrong to Rage Against The Machine--but there are possibilities in upbeat Muzak, too.

Here's the thing about being fit: Being Physically Strong Enables You To Enjoy More Of Your Life. Period. That's the only reason to run, lift weights, and watch what you eat. Even if you're kinda fat, like me, you'll get way more out of life if you can keep up with your dog/the neighbor's kid/the hippies on the longboards than if you're a couch potato. And the way to get to where you enjoy More Of Your Life is to Enjoy What You've Got Right The Hell Now.

Seize the day. Frolic. Be silly. Set a bad example for the neighbors.

In twenty years, they'll be the ones muttering, "Stupid kids" while you zoom past on a skateboard, screaming in delight.

*FORKS IN A BLENDER!! is a favorite at the local gay bar. Everybody stops what they're doing, raises arms above head, spreads their hands wide, and yells "Tinkatinkatinkatinka!" while hopping around in circles. Trust me: if you can't do it for more than ten seconds without falling over laughing, you're doin' it right.

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