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April 9, 2007

We Can Work It Out

What have I been doing today? So glad you asked! I've been zipping up my pelvic muscles!

Remember when holding a kegel for ten seconds was good enough? Well, last night I was asked to do a "continuous kegel" by someone I really didn't want to argue with, and ever since, I've been obsessed with the concept. "'Zip up' those pelvic muscles," I was told, "so you can feel the muscles contracting within your deepest core. And then hold it for the next ten minutes." Ten minutes?! Uh...okay. I'll try. Please don't hurt me.

Yesterday while Simon was napping off his post-birthday-barbecue bloat, I discovered the ExerciseTV menu of our on-demand cable service. In the months since we were blessed/cursed with the cable, we've been using on-demand exclusively for movies, and only last weekend did I realize that there's much more to be had beyond Rockys I through MXLCI.* To my surprise, stored in that blessed/cursed cable box are episodes of all my favorite TLC and Style and HG network shows, not to mention brainy Sundance Channel interviews, and earnest short films and stupid short films (the Harry Potter rap video would have been clever had it not been so vulgar and sexually explicit and just utterly shameful in every way (I will never be able to think of magic wands without clenching)), not to mention a whole slew of offerings for kids--magic and origami how-tos, sleepytime clips set to classical music (bo-ring (either because my brain is more developed than an infant's or because that's how they induce sleep)), and even quick-cook recipes for little hands that just happen to be at my exact culinary skill level ("Don't drop the flour into the bowl from shoulder height or you'll make a mess, silly! Everyone knows that!").

But the best thing by far is ExerciseTV. I adore workout videos, always have, and while I love that Netflix will deliver them to my home within a few days of ordering, I'm downright chuffed that I no longer have to wait by my mailbox hopping from foot to foot in anticipation of the latest rental. Now I can sit on the couch and scroll through a full range of cardio, strength training, yoga, pilates, and balance ball clips while using the other hand to scoop peanut butter directly from the jar to my mouth. Huzzah!

While working out from home does have its disadvantages (I can't lay on the living room floor and starfish wide my limbs without hitting three pieces of furniture), it still beats a gym membership for value; at $34/month and an attendance record of zero (0) times so far this year, it's fair to say I'm not getting my buck's worth these days. And while I do love the gym for its elliptical trainers and weight machines and smelly lockers and ogling creeps, there's only ever one place to try out new aerobic moves, and that's in the home, with the curtains drawn, and the lights out, and my loved one deep asleep in another room.

Last night I forayed into the wild world of on-demand exercise with a little something called Cardio Dance Party or something equally "I live alone with many cats but I'M HAPPY, I SWEAR." A dance party of one is not a dance party, and no, the cats don't count. I could talk at length about this production, put out by the fine people at Elle magazine, but it really all comes down to two words: "diva strut." Oh yes. If you'll allow me to verb a noun, there was "catwalking," in addition to waving my arms in the air like I just don't care. I wish I could stop at this point, but I feel compelled to add that we "shook it out" by doing that obscene and flattering-to-no-one booty-jiggling thing you see in rap videos, and, gawd, there was gratuitous use of the word "funky" by the team of ponytailed unitards who were anything but. I wanted to apologize to the black girl on screen--the only one who didn't look like a complete goon (it's a stereotype for a reason!)--on behalf of non-funky girls everywhere, myself included, for our wholesale bastardization of The Dance. If anything was funky, it was our feet, and I wasn't even sweating. The whole things was just...busted. Sad and busted.

Let's move on.

Since the cardio thing was only 24 minutes long, and 8 of it was spent warming up and 5 was jiggling our lady lumps, I ordered up (demanded!) a short bun and thigh workout. It was fine and good and barely worth mentioning here except to say that I suspect some of those women of steroid abuse and/or grafting tree trunks to their hip sockets. Mightier, solider gams I have never seen.

The other element of my workout that I'll only cover in passing was the 10-minute stretching thing, in which the instructor performed her contortions on a mountaintop whilst clad in a baby blue bodysuit that matched the sky exactly. I think she was trying to blend into the universe or some shit. The stretching bit was fine, and I'm sure I would have benefitted from the relaxation bit as well had I not been battling a feline determined to stick her snout in my mouth (leftover bbq).

What I do have to tell you about, though, was the clip I did between the leg workout and the stretching: "crunchless abs," I was promised. Now, I could crunch all night still beg for more, such is my love of the burn. (My tolerance for crunches is borderline donate-my-body-to-science freaky. I think my physique is wired to crunch the way Lance Armstrong's is to pedal. Are there competitive crunch-offs? If so, I've found my calling.) I was mostly interested in the crunchless abs for Simon's sake since, with his back injury (slipped disc!), he's not able to do traditional horizontal sit-up-type movements. One of the best ways to protect and strengthen his back is, of course, to condition the abs, but since the back injury is effectively preventing that...curses, foiled again.

Anyway, the crunchless ab routine was phenomenal because it actually has me sore to the touch the next day, something I usually don't get from ab sessions. The secret? Maybe all the isometric presses and unique ways of twisting. More likely, though, it was the Continuous Kegel. The host of the video, Linda LaRue, told me to clench those vag muscles, and there was really no way to avoid at least trying, unless I wanted her to jump through the screen and beat me about the head with her medical degrees. Or perhaps just chastise me over email (hi, Linda!). See, the thing about Linda LaRue is that although her name makes her sound like she was born to lead aerobics classes at the local Y (that even beats the name of my fitness instructor in college: Barbie Niederhauser), she's much tougher than any of those bouncy cardio bunnies you usually see, which is to say that if Linda LaRue locks your gaze through her glasses (they call her "the Professor" or "the Lisa Loeb of Fitness") and tells you to hold that kegel until your teeth shatter, you better damn well do it. Or at least TRY. Because holding it for ten minutes? Really? Is that even possible? Is it legal? All I'm saying is the woman who can do that can probably also chop cucumbers without a knife, if you know what I mean.

I think that's my cue to stop.

*Not a real number. I think.

20 Comments

MXLCI = 1041 (more or less).

-Simon.

Ah the Pilates kegel. It is seriously good stuff. I love my Pilates. Really works those core muscles and oh my can it hurt. But it really works those Kegels too and that helps in other endeavours. Really.

Ha! Just Ha!

Good for you on the Pilates! I, also, work out at home to videos. I prefer the jumping/kicking variety. Nothing beats Billy Blanks in a unitard telling you to reach out to your Higher Power and ask him to "Give you some!"

:)

I just wondered if anyone else out there felt compelled to try the kegel while reading Leah's post. Oh no... just me. ok.

10 minutes?! seriously? i feel so inadequate.

I had no idea one could DO a Kegel for 10 minutes. Blogs - entertaining AND educational!

I think I can hit 5 seconds and then I really feel the need to pee. I will never, ever be able to birth children if this is an indication of my Kegel fitness level.

Yeah, I'm sooo in trouble on that. Which reminds me... I should try to start practising!

This is the part where you get angry at me when I tell you that abs are made in the kitchen. When I had a six-pack, I did nary a crunch.

I don't usually laugh out loud when really blogs, much less while I am reading them at work, but man, girl, you had me going and kegeling, oh the kegeling. I thinking it's been 2 minutes. I'm going to pass out.

TEN MINUTES? My god woman. Ten seconds is a stretch (heh, no pun intended) for, err, someone I know.

As was mentioned above, I feel inadequate.

Really? 10 as in t-e-n minutes?

Hi Leah-Luv your review including comments about my glasses! FYI my Crunchless Abs set up not only improves your PC muscles (my "Beau" thinks I'm a rock star), but strengthens your core and back too. FYI top celebs like Kate Beckinsale and Jessica Biel use my CABs set up to keep them in peak performance mode while giving them flat, sculpted abs to boot.

Hey My Sista's out there I know I said 10 Minutes which sounds like a lifetime, but you can build up to it. Like everything else in life, it's a process...

Namaste,

L.

"People who say it can't be done should not interrupt those that are doing it."

Oh my god, I'm DYING here. And, may I add, completely proud of my own bladder control. Thank you, Keegals. ;-) HA!

wow... i think we may be twins, separated at birth... are you about 5'7"?? J/K... i just discovered the exercise portion of On Demand (yes, you posted this blog quite a while ago... i just happened upon it from a search for "crunchless abs") but I have now discovered that my once "rockstar-like" muscles down there are now barely able to accomplish 10 seconds... I shouldn't even be typing right now... I have work to do. thanks for the motivation...

wow... i think we may be twins, separated at birth... are you about 5'7"?? J/K... i just discovered the exercise portion of On Demand (yes, you posted this blog quite a while ago... i just happened upon it from a search for "crunchless abs") but I have now discovered that my once "rockstar-like" muscles down there are now barely able to accomplish 10 seconds... I shouldn't even be typing right now... I have work to do. thanks for the motivation...

Has anyone ordered and actually received Crunchless Abs video? Its been almost two months and their customer service people are clueless. They cannot even give out the correct tracking number. I was excited to order and receive the workouts but it seems that will never happen. They've even charged my account for the cost of this product. How WEAK!

Hey Monica,
I ordered my Crunchless Abs videos January 6, 2008. I got an email confirming the order and that I would get another email when it had shipped. Two weeks later, seeing that my account had not yet been charged for the videos, I sent an email asking about it. FEBRUARY 1, 2008 I sent ANOTHER email telling them to cancel the order, since they STILL had not charged my account. February 2-I get an email for BOTH my prior sent emails stating that I would get an email response from a representative within 24-48 hours. They charged my account that day. Guess what? I STILL HAVE NEVER RECEIVED MY DVDS NOR HAVE I GOTTEN AN EMAIL RESPONSE!!!!! So I'm out $20 something and get nothing!! WHAT A FRAUD!

i ordered crunchless abs and received the first tape...they said they will sent the other 2 soon after but im still waiting

Note to random people who found this site via a search engine: I'm not affiliated with the Crunchless Abs program, so there's no need to post your complaints here.

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