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Damned Bikes Don’t Seem To Go Nowhere

David Landau

Someone once said, “Nothing fails like success.” This brilliant saying exemplifies the true hidden vanguard behind all the claims of physical fitness, but this message unfortunately is lost in the underbelly of it all. Think not? For example, reflect upon your past love affairs where in the very beginning, you experienced the excitement, the fresh passion, and the newness of it all. Oh those youthful fleeting memories, it seems as though romance always worked that way initially. Notice in those first few months of a new infatuated relationship, the passion runs off the charts. But in time, those feelings fade and as in a fairy tale, you find yourself losing something that you thought would last forever.

Just as in a love affair, a fitness fantasy rendezvous becomes by and large just that, a fling turns out to be nothing more than a daydream. But the fitness dream differs in that once you wake up; you should realize the reality of the moment. But this hardly ever happens. Fitness creates the image of the reoccurring pot at the end of the rainbow, which is simply a mirage. The realism should have set in, but likely it never will. Promises and dreams that are commonly preached in fitness are nothing more than the whispering of sweet nothings into your ears. But once you become exposed to it, any shyness you ever had will suddenly disappear as your affair of the heart with Group Fitness becomes your new quintessence.

But remember again with fitness, things are only an illusion. Examples of dreams turned to nightmares can be seen in the commercialized infomercial aspects of fitness on television. The allure of this vigorous fiction becomes a figment of your imagination. It is upon the same platform where we see expert Real Estate Mongrels (telling you how easy it is to make money), Faith Healers, Mystics, Psychics, and many more thriving phonies telling you what you’re begging to hear.

Ironically, the same game is parlayed into the physical fitness world. In the world of fitness it is the same old storyline. In this adventure, there stand the popularly glamorized leaders. They are the imposters in this field who will lead you down the path to failure. They exhibit the same smile and enthusiasm that they have ironically stolen from their fraudulent peers. Their success is seen in disturbingly arcane ways, as they depend on your inability to see the forest for the sake of the trees. Your downfall is eminent if you do not comprehend the simple physical laws of cause and effect in human nature.

But, who even bothers to listen to the truth? It is the same as government leaders who vote for a bill without ever reading its contents. (Just pass it by them, “the populous” – they are too stupid to understand anyway.) You will suffer the same utter failure if you blindly follow this group of incompetent leaders. But the fervent followers will continue to simply take their word for it. The Fitness Crackpots will smile facetiously, in the meantime pleading with you to join in their cult. It just so happens that these popular names that the average fitness layperson recognizes are only just a despicable group of imposters that are akin to Dorothy’s Wizard of Oz (don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain). These caped crusaders have captured the American public and found a way to appeal to their neurotic needs.

The Nightmare

One evening I decided to turn in early to rest, but the desire to sleep did not last long. I was restless and it seemed as though within minutes I awoke suddenly finding myself in my car traveling with no aim in site. For some strange reason I was somehow drawn to a glowing light in the distance. As I drew nearer to the beacon, it became brighter as if it was some sort of a glowing symbol of hope. Still in the distance, I heard the sound of rhythmic music accompanying many more beams of light, as if it were a multitude of sunrays dancing around from the clouds above. I suddenly found myself there at a dead stop, as if my car had been on automatic pilot and run out of gas. In a trance, I marched nonchalantly down a short walkway. Entranced even more by an audible commotion, I tripped over a car stop in my eagerness to get closer.

As I approached what looked like the pearly gates of a large church, I peered in through a crack in the front door and witnessed what appeared to be a laser light show of some sort. There in my vision was a large dark room with participants who were intently focused on a lone entertainer. Standing there isolated on a wide tiered platform above the hall was a dynamic lad adorned in tight colorful clothes. He was commanding all to obey him, as a preacher but of a different type. This was an individual who seemed to be possessed by the roar of the loud accompanying music that was strewn throughout this makeshift amphitheatre. Looking back towards the followers, I noticed that every movement they executed was perfectly choreographed as commanded. I looked back again at this leader and noticed his uncanny capacity to totally mesmerize his followers. I was frightened beyond belief, as I thought I had entered another dimension or another world so to speak. I witnessed the sweat that sprayed freely amongst the participants, and the more it occurred the more they seemed to like it.

The entire crowd seemed to be entranced by it all, in spite of the weird meaningless chants that were delivered by their master. I looked closer and it seemed that cheer was amongst all, but peering more closely I saw through that forced happy look a feigned appearance. I saw hatred and grit. It seemed as though the majority wanted out, but they were urged on by the never-ending energy of their leader. I found myself powerless all of a sudden, and I looked down and saw myself wearing the same descript outfit heard collective voices chanting to me that it was my time. I tried to pull away, but the force was beyond my control. I tried desperately to get away, but was it too late? A distant scream woke me up in a pool of sweat, for it was only a nightmare I had experienced! But as I rubbed my eyes I wondered, was this dream really real?

The dream described here is actually a reality for those that are trapped in their own body and are given the assurance of a journey to never-never land. This is a delusion that insinuates that there is a chance to experience the athlete you never were and without a doubt you will never be. But this is like elementary school children running to their classes after the first bell, as many will simply stand there to be accounted for. The case scenario is as follows: a classroom-like teacher waits at the forefront and commands their attention, but for what reason? But of course you must understand that this is an activity class unlike any other. This one has a different “spin.” The mania involved differs from others ever so slightly. The foundation remains the same, but the ingredients have changed.

Dead-End Bikes

Why the Jock Mentality reigns supreme in all Fitness Culture is beyond me. In your worst nightmares, you couldn’t dream up such a group of poor leaders. To get to the point, the most influential in the fitness world have a cart before the horse approach. As in all the hysterical fitness productions, the Heart is again at the forefront. As in other chapters, this prevailing thought captures and consumes the mindset of the general fitness consumer. It is a fact that Physical Activity is a personal choice based on individual tastes. So normal outdoor physical activity suggests and implies the freedom of movement of choice, as such this could be said about running, walking, sports, games, and recreations. But this is the bastion of another form of what we call “canned” activity. The mere suggestion of arbitrary non-personal exertions has much more to do with cultism than anything else. Therefore we have freedom that disappears in the “chosen” activity here.

This activity is in the form of a Bicycle, but it doesn’t go anywhere! But of course for those involved, it not an ordinary one! It is especially designed for the athletic wannabe who never was and never will be. It is justly called “Spinning.” This is an activity that literally tells you that you are simply wasting your time while spinning your wheels. Talk about the Cult of Physical Fitness taking charge, as it may be hard-pressed to beat this assault. This exercise in futility is a real life-changer, only not a very desirable one. Talk about the so-called peer pressures of not being quite good enough! If you are not a part of this anointed group, you are deemed to be inadequate.

What’s more, this is a drudgery-ridden activity where individuals adorn themselves in costumes that would be “fit” for a Halloween Ball. There, all lined up and ready to be accounted for in bodies decorated in “Tour de France” apparel, is the almighty Spinner. Only in the Fitness Arena can anything like this ever be conjured up. Upon first glance we have folks joining an activity that looks like the poor man’s Mad Mad World. Do you know where we are going? It’s like my father used to say, “Kid, quit bothering me and go play in the street,” – it is just that bad! Imagine being part of an activity, where you are forced to dress in specialized padded pants in order to protect your vitals. You have no choice as you will be forced to mount seats that are not much bigger than a banana. In addition you have to purchase specialized athletic foot wear with attached clips designed to fasten you into bicycle’s pedals. This ultimately makes you imprisoned to a bolted-into-the-floor stationary bike. But be careful when and if you try to stop while participating, as your ankles may just tear away from your legs. Talk about taking the old weekend warrior a bit too far!

In Spinning, your physical skeleton is then forcibly bent over handlebars that grossly contort the postural muscles as those in a praying mantis. Talk about a major case for advanced kyphosis! Is this in essence nothing but a battle of the Bulge or is it just a few bulging discs? After minutes of this enslavement, your sweat begins to pour freely as you get to share the free spirits of the collective’s foreign bodily fluids. All of these “benefits” are here for the offering, for the sake of this Bike that doesn’t go anywhere. You are then left at your own distinct imaginations as to where you are going.

Of course, the preacher clown instructing you through all this ridiculousness is nothing more than a fitness deejay. Barking and chanting rhetoric is strewn from a leaderless leader, only to be drowned out but the latest in Techno Music. However at the end of the proverbial hour from hell and when you finally open your eyes, well you haven’t gone an inch. But all you can say is that, “Wow, that music was great!” But unfortunately, it is far too late for rehabilitation from this addiction, for there is no understanding that this is a compulsive affliction – “Spinning.” It has never been labeled as treatment disorder, as its dependency is simply disguised as another so-called healthy, but in reality, abysmal fitness pursuit. But again, this is the chase that never quite seems to go anywhere and one that never ever ends. So there we have it, another modern day fitness ordeal and again, history suggests that what is deemed as new is not so new after all. So let’s take a look back at its history.

The Road to Wellville?

The Industrial Revolution showed us that the Early Innovators in the efficiency of manufacturing understood their objectives. Pedal Powered mechanisms were introduced and coincided with the Industrial Revolution. Human mechanical power was the key to the transition to better innovative productional aspects of manufacturing. But from early on, it was the stationary bicycle that emerged as a most effective way to harness man’s power, a humanistic source of energy so to speak.

In the mid 19th century, this Pedal Power was used effectively in Sewing Machines, Lathes, Saws, and even generating power in many multiple aspects of not only production, but for everyday living purposes. It was an obvious evolution for better ways to come. But when we speak truly on the Bicycle in its relationship to “exercise,” it first came in the mode of the principle of the early, more effective means of transportation. This unfortunately is where we see the ironic similarities of how something designed for authentic purposes can go awfully awry.

The advent of the two-wheeled Bicycle (circa 1880) in America was casted as strong a tradition as was apple pie and hot dogs at the ballpark. The burgeoning interest in the bicycle allowed for the addition of the Tricycle, Velocipede, and even the good old Bicycle Built for Two. In the later part of the 19th century, paperboys, curriers, keystone cops, and postmen found new mobility and efficiency beyond the former drudgery involved in walking and jogging to perform their duties. As imaginations flourished, the bicycle was added to the culture of the Sporting Life. It was found that there was the great fascination for speeds, in which the crank driven bicycle could deliver. New freedoms were introduced in the form courting relationships that were long before the good old drive-in movie. The Social aspect was off the charts, as freedom of transportation was at its all-time high.

Undeniably Fresh and Open Air Exercise by way of the two-wheeler became inculcated to the general public in the form of Health by exercise. The American Public had its fair share of Calisthenics and Military Gymnastics and was clamoring for something new. Athletics was thought of for the most part as too harsh for the average schmo, so the bicycle was an equal opportunity for many. Sedentarianism was considered at that time a scourge by physicians as it was said that many maladies could be cured by the hygienic wheels of fortune. It became a family affair also with the idea of health, wealth, and social togetherness. But as in many trends, health trends come and go based on cultural fascination and not factual physiological pathology. But over time, this fascination soon faded back to the original idea that it was a form of transportation that simply fell by the way of the advent of the mechanized automobile.

Conclusion

Sports, Recreation, and Chores do offer personal benefits and outcomes during a normal life. The personal activities one does are just that, individual and distinct to one’s specific lifestyle and desires. These must be considered as an entity unto one being and not a collective pursuit. The concept of the fitness lifestyle sounds like a reasonable premise, but does the end justify the means? Not really. Being driven by a Fitness Lifestyle is no different than being in a Rally whose foundations do not reflect your true inner views. This happens when being engrossed in political-, religious-, or cult-driven lifestyles. Philosophically however, your interest in your own physical improvement depends on an active mind (your own), and if it involves joining groups of people, well, that really is not good enough for you.

The phrase: “If some is good, then more is better” never applies to exercise. Once an individual is inculcated into “activity” such as Spinning, there is no end to such insanity. Remember again that the road to hell was paved with good intentions. You may have a good purpose for yourself, but that can get carried away in a hurry. You simply will end up on a Bike that goes nowhere. The bottom line is that this is a Fitness Lifestyle that is truly an empty pursuit, but like all others, it has been largely implored for all to pursue it as a Healthy One. So you are simply left with bike that goes nowhere? It will be hard-pressed to even challenge this insanity.

© 2010 David Landau