I was finishing up dinner tonight when my phone rang. I looked at the caller ID thing and realized it was my buddy Steve, the one we call the Jewish Rambo here at Vinnie’s Blog and Country Club. We chatted about meaningless stuff for a while, then he said, “I haven’t seen a blog from you lately. What’s the matter?” I reminded Steve that we put up something new every day on the blog. Beside Andy’s Recipes, we also put up items from around the internet. I guess he forgets I have a day job. We went on to talk about a few other things. Before we got off the phone, I told Steve to throw out a subject for my next blog. The phone went silent for a few seconds. Then he uttered these words: “Can a person be both fit and fat?” The example he gave was a lineman in the NFL. I told you that to tell you this. I’ve defined fitness before on this blog, but it’s always good to define it again. I mean, what does “fit” really mean? It means “fit” to do the activity at hand. An example is a fit swimmer. If you get caught in a flood or get thrown from a boat, you have a greater chance of survival than a person who is a fit jogger who never swims. Getting back to the NFL. The guy who is fit to play on the line is not fit to be a running back or wide receiver. Each position is a specialty position. The wide receiver has to be fast and nimble. A lineman needs to have quick feet and enough girth to stop opposing linemen. To this point, I think the NFL is running into a real problem, not to add to the problems it already has. But I digress. The average lineman during the first Super Bowl in the late 1960s weighed around 240 pounds. Remember Jerry Kramer and the boys? The average lineman now tips the scales at over 300 pounds. These guys are literally becoming sumo wrestlers without the fancy diaper. Is it healthy? Hell no. As a matter of fact I saw a report on this on Bryant Gumbel’s Real Sports. Some of these guys die before they reach 50. Under Vinnie’s definition of whether you can be fit and fat at the same time, I say yes. And yes I used myself in the third person. Will a fat person have the same quality of life and longevity as their thin counterparts? I think the answer is definitely no.
What I’ve realized in life is that people are effing crazy. Take for instance the earthquake/tsunami in Japan. I can’t think of an event in my life time that’s anywhere near what’s going on in that country right now. As Americans, we don’t care about that. Yeah, we pay lip service to it, but all we care about is how it affects us. Since I live in California, several hours after the event, we got tsunami warnings here. The thought pattern was the ripple wave would make its way to our shores. The government did what it was supposed to do and closed the beaches. I personally stayed as far as I could from the coast. But a lot of idiots went to the beach to see the tsunami. What were they thinking? Have they not seen the devastation on television and online from other tsunamis? I’m not an expert, but I don’t think you can out run a tsunami from the beach. The story gets better. Remember, my first sentence was that people are crazy. We would do anything to look young and healthy…even if it’s not healthy. Here in L.A., women use restylane and botox to look younger. Then there’s collagen, and silicone for breast implants. There are all sorts of augmentations. Years ago when women wanted to lose weight, they would go get “The Shot,” or gonadotropin. All of these things are proof that we may be the nuttiest nation on the planet. And we can’t figure out why the Europeans are always laughing at us. I told you that to tell you this. The situation in Japan has gotten hairier than a Persian’s bath bar. It’s not bad enough that their whole world was crumbled. It’s not bad enough that what may be tens of thousands of their people were killed. Now it seems their nuclear reactors are failing and exploding. This is a crisis of biblical proportions. Apparently with the nuclear reactor, people need iodine to counteract the radiation. True to form, over 5,000 miles away in California, there is now a run on the market for iodine. It seems our narcissistic friends somehow feel that radiation will float through the air 5,000 miles and affect us here. You really want to do something? Ship that iodine to the people who really need it…the folks in Japan.
You know what sucks about breaking up? You still care about the other person. That’s the case with me and Serena. I guess the only good thing about breaking up is break up sex. But I digress. For anyone who pays attention to my relationship with Serena, we really care about each other. There’s another part of breaking up that sucks. The person might have a kid that you’ve come to know and love. It feels like a double break up. Such is the case with Serena’s daughter Tallulah. She turned 14 a couple of weeks ago. Being the animal lover that she is, she decided to have a birthday party at the Los Angeles zoo. She also has her mom’s knack for photography. She just got a brand new Canon SLR camera. The zoo would be the perfect place to try it out. I told you that to tell you this. During the day on her birthday, when I knew she’s be home, I called to wish her a happy birthday. I wanted to be sure she had gotten my gift. I ended up spending some time on the phone with Serena as she looked through Tallulah’s pictures. She told me about a picture of a monkey Tallulah took. She said it reminded her of me. I became somewhat upset. I said, “What the hell? Is that some kind of slur on Italians? Or are all men hairy apes?” She said no. The monkey was lean and muscular. It turns out, she was giving me a compliment. She e-mailed the photo to me. Upon receiving it, I studied the monkey’s anatomy. I thought she must be crazy. I then went through my own pictures of myself. This proves I have too much time on my hands. I began to realize what Serena was talking about. This all coincides with a book I’m reading called Manthropology. Modern man is compared to men of different eras, sometimes going back 100 years, sometimes 1,000 years. I think it’s a good read. It studies man through the ages the same way Freakonomics studies economics and sociology.
The only thing that religion and sex should have in common is the phrase…’Oh.. God’. At first I was amused at what BYU did to its star athlete Brandon Davies. Apparently religion and a contract signed by Davies as a BYU player got in his way of performing on the basketball court. Just to keep this short and to the point, apparently it’s the only college in the nation where sex is a no-no. Well once again folks religion did what religion does. It cut off its nose to spite its face. Apparently this is the only kid on the team who could get them to the Final Four. For those who don’t follow sports, making it to the Final Four gives your school millions of dollars in advertising, not to mention the cold hard cash. According to Jeff Goodman, the school received more than $650 million in free publicity in 2006, not to mention the actual dollars the school and league earns by virtue of getting to the Final Four. I told you that to tell you this. BYU stands for Brigham Young University. Brigham Young was the man responsible for the Mormon religion. This is a religion that says it’s alright for men to take on several wives, sometimes as young as 12 and 13 years old. The same religion kicked a young adult off of a basketball team because he had sex. What does this have to do with sports or athletics? Well, not a whole lot, unless you throw in that a basketball team was involved. Sometimes life is stranger than fiction. I just thought I’d bring it to you.
The worst thing anyone can do is piss me off. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t know a lot about anything in life. For some odd reason I know a lot about fitness. Hell, who am I kidding, it’s not by some odd coincidence. I’ve been a student of fitness my entire life, from a young age, before I reached puberty. I’ve talked about the guy who got me into weight lifting often. He was the late great Joe Bonadona. I went on to get a degree from Tulane University while on a football scholarship. There I took such courses as gross anatomy, where you get to pick a human corpse apart like a chicken at a picnic. I’ve been a practicing trainer for 30 years. You can bet your ass if I say something is correct, it’s correct. About a month ago I did a blog where I talked about the merits of stretching. It’s important not only for athletics but for everyday life. In the last sentence of that blog I wrote, “YOGA IS A GREAT IDEA.” Do not confuse it with exercise though. I should have been clear and said heart-healthy exercise. The Lululemon crowd with their yoga mats came after me with the force of Gengis Khan. I was told I didn’t know what I was talking about. One woman told me I couldn’t hold a warrior pose for one second if my life depended on it. Another guy told me I would be in the fetal position before half the class was over with. So I did what I do. I set out to prove that the hemp sack carrying, tofu eating, Hindu wannabe crowd was wrong. I told you that to tell you this. Last Saturday at 10 a.m. I walked into Inner Power Yoga in Calabasas, California. The class was taught by one of the owners, Linda Pushkin. It turns out she was tipped off that I would be there. Before class started, she came over and introduced herself. She said she knew why I was there. She said she wouldn’t make the class tougher to prove a point. I had a feeling she was going to make the class as tough as she could. The class went on for an hour and thirty-three minutes. Once the class was over with, I recorded the data on my heart rate monitor. I then started my watch over, and let it run while I was sitting and having lunch or sitting in traffic on the 101 freeway. Once again, after an hour and thirty-three minutes I recorded a second round of data. Here are the results of yoga versus sitting in traffic and having lunch…
Average heart rate for yoga: 79 beats per minute
Average heart rate for eating and driving: 66 beats per minute
My highest rate in yoga class was 111, compared to 89 as I ate or sat in traffic. My total calories burned in yoga: 236. My total calories while sitting and eating: 160. As you can tell, those numbers are close. It makes yoga look like a huge waste of time. But you know what? It wasn’t. Sure, I proved my point. I knew I would. But as it turns out, I actually got something out of the class. I have a right shoulder problem that is a case study at the Mayo Clinic. My actual doctor at Kerlan and Jobe in Los Angeles said it’s the worst he’s ever seen. I have prescriptions for Class A narcotics that I’ve never once filled. Doing those half-assed positions in yoga like down dog and up dog, and many others, my shoulder felt good for the first time in years. You know what else I noticed? I noticed people having a good time exercising. I’ve often said anything is better than nothing when it comes to exercise. Yoga is not just anything. There is a lot of value to it. Value that goes beyond flexibility. I haven’t had a chance to go back to Inner Power. I found another place in Studio City that works with my schedule. Maybe, just maybe I’ve been there a couple of times this week.