Monday, January 23, 2006

Another new year, another set of resolutions. Many might view this annual ritual in a cynical light, but I actually admire it. A chance to reevaluate and an opportunity for a fresh start. There are those who would say such self-reflection should be a constant in our lives, and not limited to once a year, but life is difficult enough to keep up with to constantly vary one’s routines more than once or twice in a year.

Most of my New Year’s resolutions concern the improvement of my physical constitution. This year I have vowed to go to the gym twice a week, which would be an improvement on last year, when I went twice, period. I skipped the first week of January (generally the worst time of year to go to a gym.) and started going on the second week. I had a good semi-routine built up already, as I had been going to physical therapy twice a week to work on a bum shoulder, so the timing worked out fairly well, and is less of a disruption than I thought it might be.

I go Mondays and Thursdays (my old physio days) generally around 3:00 in the afternoon as that seems to be when the pool is least crowded. I swim around 1/3 of a mile, and am weekly adding laps to end up in about a month or so more at ½ mile per session. That works out to around ½ hour of workout, which is pretty good, considering my current physical state (‘rather tubby’ according to my father). Once that goal is reached I plan on attempting a third day a week or so.

The math is pretty simple: one burns 700 calories swimming the breast stroke for an hour (the most vigorous swimming stroke). 3,500 calories represents one pound, although the body doesn’t work that simplistically. Still, the math is fun. All other things being equal, in three weeks I can burn off a pound. This means that, if I can keep it up, in ten years I will cease to exist.

I use the local YMCA as it has a pool, is noticeably cheaper than other gyms, and is a place where people exercise as opposed to preen. Another thing I noticed today, although I don’t know why I missed it earlier, is that classes are available to members, so of which look rather interesting, if I want to get past swimming as a method of working out. My favorite listed class is a new one this year (I kid you not) Power Napping:

'Power Nap is a blissful, 45 minute class that combines gentle stretching, breathwork, guided meditation and no-holds barred napping!’

Sign me up.

While I was at the ‘Y’ today ABC Television is giving away some bizarre promotional shower slippers advertising their new show ‘Beautiful People.’ Monday Nights on ABC Family channel. To have this promo tie-in at a gym makes a bit more sense when you read the show description:

“Looks can be deceiving in the new coming-of-age drama series Beautiful People, from the executive producer of Dawson’s Creek. Life is turned upside down for newly-single Lynn Kerr (Daphne Zuniga) and her family when her youngest daughter Sophie (Sarah Foret)) receives an academic scholarship to attend a prestigious private school in New York City. Sophie and her sister Karen (Torrey DeVitto) reluctantly move from their quiet hometown of Esperanza, New Mexico, to give the bright lights of Manhattan a try. Though the city is filled with challenges, with each other’s support, all three women venture on a journey of self-discovery in the city where anything is possible.”

I assume the gym tie-in is the producers attempt to go after the weight-loss market segment – offering an excellent opportunity to purge after dinner at 9:00 PM Monday night (8:00 Central).

There apparently is no Esperanza, New Mexico, although Googling it gives some sense of where the producers cam up with the name. There’s a resort of that name in San Lucas, Mexico, “ Where sun, sea, sky and earth join as one to form a tropical oasis like no other,” – clearly a tag line written by the same people who wrote the one on the shower slippers. Also, there is the Esperanza Shelter for Battered Families in New Mexico. Somehow that seems more appropriate.