Grocery Store Extreme Workout

groceries

Over the past couple of years – okay, the past decade –  I haven’t really spent a lot of time at the gym….okay, no time at the gym.  At all.

I gave up the dream of washboard abs a long time ago, and settled on a tub washer with a lint trap.  Settling is nature’s way of achieving all your mediocre dreams.

I did get a gym membership once – carried that sucker around in my wallet for a whole year, but didn’t lose an ounce.  Total waste of money!

Well, I have to tell you my latest secret for staying in such great shape….average shape….I have a shape.

I get groceries.

That’s right – the geriatric crowd has kept this little exercise tidbit from us all this time. It’s probably why they go shopping every day.

capture

Here’s my routine:

‘BAD WHEEL SHOPPING CART FOREARM CRUNCH’

This exercise is simple, but you need to spend some time finding a cart with an annoying wheel that doesn’t turn properly – usually pretty easy to find at my store;  I just look for the abandoned ones.  Now, they will either constantly pull to the right or the left – to balance your workout routine, try to swap it out halfway through your shopping trip, or be sure to focus on the other side on your next trip.

The constant ‘pull’ to one side provides a steady anaerobic resistance that over time will develop not only your forearms and wrists, it might just clear up that sciatica problem in your hip.  Be sure to navigate the store in the opposite direction of the pull or you might spend the day circling the broccoli and never get to the snack aisle.

‘ DROP AND GIVE ME 10…CANS OF SOUP’

Soup cans are surprisingly heavy if you hold them long enough.  Carrying around an arm-full will get you ‘feeling the burn’ in no time.

Try getting the soup from the bottom shelf – this incorporates deep knee bends with the repetitive weight lifting of the cans.  It doesn’t matter if you don’t like the soup down there – this is about more than your sensitive pallet.

You can get some good aerobic exercise as well if you load up your arms then find that your spouse/training partner has moved the cart to the next aisle.

‘BOTTLED WATER WEIGHT TRAINING’

This one is pretty self-explanatory.  Pick up the biggest bundle of bottled water they sell – again, preferably on the bottom or top shelf – waist height is a waste of time.

Be sure that when you try to put it on the lower rack, the shopping cart keeps moving backwards so you have to crab-walk along trying to heave the darn thing into place.

Also, as mentioned above, you can get an extra workout if your spouse/training partner has again moved the cart to the next aisle.

‘REACH FOR THE SKY…HIGH PRICED DOG FOOD BAG’

The great thing about this is that most grocery stores put the heaviest dog food bags on either the ground or 7′ up.

Haul that sucker onto your shoulder and once again attempt to slide it onto the lower shelf of the cart.  Be sure to stretch fully to extend your soon-to-be tight tendons.

Cat food doesn’t count – they don’t eat enough to give you the weight resistance you need.

Even if you don’t have a pet, you can hang out and help someone else get theirs.  That’s a double win – exercise and some goodwill!

‘BAG OVERLOAD ARM CURLS’

Just because you’re done filling your cart and are heading to the checkout, the workout isn’t over yet!

Make sure all the canned goods are packed as tightly and as high as possible into one or two shopping bags.  Take advantage of this to work your biceps by lifting them off the belt and into the cart – then out of the cart and into the trunk.

Once you’re done, give the cart forearm crunch one more good go – walk that antagonistic annoyance all the way back into the store…maybe hand it to another shopper who could use a good workout.  I’m sure they’ll thank you for it.  Eventually.

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…’With a little help from my friends’…

min·ion
ˈminyən/
noun
plural noun: minions
1.
a follower or underling of a powerful person, esp. a servile or unimportant one.
synonyms: underling, henchman, flunky, lackey, hanger-on, follower, servant, hireling, vassal, stooge, toady, sycophant;

I wish I’d thought of it years ago, but hindsight is 20/20 as they say.  I need some minions.  I need unquestioning followers who will do my bidding without reservation, complaint, or hesitation.

Imagine a world where all you had to do was ask, and whatever you requested would be granted; where obedient subjects blindly take all orders and execute them without delay.

Oh sure, I had kids who I could order around for a while, but eventually you see that look in their suspicious little faces, questioning simple requests;

“Go get Daddy another beer.”

“Hold this while I start up the chainsaw”

“Don’t tell Mom I broke it.  It’ll be our little secret.”

You know, the usual stuff. That’s when you know that they know something isn’t quite right with this symbiotic relationship, and your hope of having a permanent underling to do your dirty work is done.  They’re so ungrateful, those kids!

I have lots of friends…well, a few friends, but they’re all too smart to go along with any wild world domination plans I might have.  I need to wear dark sunglasses when I ask them to get me the necessary parts to make a death-ray.  They can see the crazy in my eyes which is a giveaway that I might not be quite right.

I’m too broke to hire a personal assistant, like they do in Hollywood.  That looks like a pretty sweet gig!  Imagine having someone walk the dog, pick up laundry, cook supper, clean the pool and massage your tired feet after a long day of shouting ridiculous orders at them.

I have a dog, who I guess would be a good minion since she has unwavering loyalty to me, except that it kind of works in reverse for us.  I feed her, carry her down the stairs, walk her, pick up after her, brush her fur….hmmm.

I might have looked at interns, but big business has ruined that sweet little free labour pool for the common man.

Even Dr. Frankenstein had Igor, but you could tell that the poor hunchback would shiv the bad doctor at his first chance, given the way he was treated.

The only thing left for guys like me are ‘minions’, but where do you start?  Is there a ‘Minion Mail Order’ website?  Where do these minions come from anyway?  How do you know that they’ll stupidly accommodate every insane request you make without hesitation?  Is there a vetting or interview process?

There’s lots I need to research, to be sure.

How many do I need?  Do I start with a half-dozen and see how things are going?  Do I have to give them names?  Maybe they all get the same name and somehow can just figure out who I’m talking to, kind of like George Foreman did.

What about feeding?  Do they need a special minion diet, and if so, do I get a minion to serve it to himself?

I know they’re all ‘him’s’ because no girl minion would be dumb enough to blindly follow me around all day.

What if they unionize? I’d hate for them to be carrying me over to the treadmill then stopping halfway because of a negotiated coffee break.  I’d be stuck there for 15 minutes!

Where do they sleep?  Do they sleep?

If one gets away, do I go after it like a lost sheep, or just call up my minion supplier and order a replacement?

Wow.  This is getting to be a lot of work!  Maybe this whole minion thing needs a rethink.  Maybe I should just depend on me to do my dastardly deeds.  At least I know I would do things exactly the way I wanted them done.

Maybe that’s the fatal flaw with minions.  The movies prove it.  Every time a super villain (not suggesting I want to be one) has minions do his dirty work, something goes wrong and they end up failing in their bid to blow up the moon or detach California from the rest of the continent.

I think villains should aim a little lower, at least to start.  Pretty sure that if you want to vaporize a planet, a lot of people are going to try to stop you, but if you wanted to take a shopping cart past the store parking lot, you might go unnoticed.

That’s a job even the simplest of minions could handle.

My insidious little plan?  Why do I really need minions?  I haven’t figured that one out yet, and it would spoil the surprise, but you have know that being the master of a bunch of mindless followers has it’s appeal.

Regardless, I’d start out small, maybe washing the car if the weather gets above freezing.

I won’t work them up to continental annihilation until I’m sure they can follow basic direction.  There’s nothing worse than commandeering every television station in the world to give the nations notice that if they don’t comply with my demands, I’ll blow up Iceland, only to find out that the minions forgot to plug in my death ray.

Or, maybe I just need to stop watching sci-fi reruns and go outside…it’s been a loooong winter!

Yeah, forget the minions.  I’m the only one who can do things my way.  I’ll be my own master, and serve my dog mindlessly.

P.S. – I tried to warn you about winter in my last blog, but nooo!  You all thought my little petition was a hoax, and now we’re stuck digging out of another lousy storm.  Well, you can’t complain if you didn’t vote.

Life Lessons from Street Hockey

street hockey
If you grew up in Canada in the ’60’s or ’70’s, it’s likely you spent a lot of time outside.  Those were the days when the big rules at home had to do with being within ‘ear-shot’, meaning your mother could yell your name from the front door and you could hear her…naturally, if you were playing hide and seek, you couldn’t give up your location, so you had to weigh the odds between being caught or being in trouble with Mom.

The other rule that got better as the summer months progressed, was the ‘street-light’ rule, which meant you could stay out until the street lights came on, then you’d better be heading home or else!  That one was a total rip off in the winter.  In Canada, the sun goes down around 4:30 in the cold months, so outdoor playtime was precious indeed.  Most of the time, though, it wasn’t all that bad on account that it was Canada and it was winter.

When we could, we would stay outside all day if possible.  Going in the house usually meant being ‘caught’ by Mom, and having to clean your room, or God forbid, vacuum the living room. Nothing was worse than that.

Because of this, we got pretty good at surviving outdoors for long periods of time.  Fluids came from a garden hose behind someones house – no bottled water for us, and nourishment was found in fruit trees growing around the neighbourhood – the trick was not getting caught.   Outdoor plumbing was never an issue…I’ll leave it at that.  Even injuries were managed outside, as long as they weren’t too serious.  There was one time playing street hockey, a kid got the butt of a stick in his mouth, which knocked out most of his teeth.  Because he was wearing a brand new set of braces though, they just kind of hung there on the metal tracks.  Needless to say, his father, who just finished paying for them, was not at all happy with us.

We loved playing street hockey.  It was a great way to live out the skills of your favourite NHL player.  Mine was Bobby Orr – the great number 4 from the Boston Bruins.  Most of the kids didn’t choose Lanny McDonald, not because he wasn’t a great hockey hero, but because none of us could grow thick mustaches.01f74-lanny

Mom liked us being outside because we burned off a ton of energy and we couldn’t break anything.

There were a lot of kids on our street, so getting a game going was pretty easy.  We didn’t have much in the way of fancy equipment like nets, or pads or anything.  We often used rocks as goal posts, and marked center ice with our hats or something else that we probably should have been wearing.  The puck was a tennis ball.  Tennis balls were as precious as gold back then.  Having one was like holding the conch in Lord Of The Flies…but of course, no one got killed.

We didn’t have blue lines on the road, so kids could stand pretty much anywhere on the ‘rink’.  There wasn’t an off-side rule but we did have the ‘Cherry Picker’ rule, which wasn’t so much of a rule as it was an insult.  A Cherry Picker was someone who would wait near the opposing goal area, hoping that the ball would make it down to them, and they’d have  a clear chance to score.  If you were brave enough or thick-skinned enough, you could be a Cherry Picker, but the other kids would yell out ‘Cherry Picker‘, like it was a terrible insult.

The most important rule in the game was the ‘car’ rule.  Because we were playing in the middle of the street, we had to always watch for cars.  If one came by, someone would yell, ‘CAR!‘.  Whatever play was going on, it would have to stop immediately, and get off the street – this was a great rule if the other team had possession of the ‘puck’.

Games kind of just happened if enough kids were around, and pretty much everyone could play as long as they had a stick.  Teams were organized in one of two ways, mostly.  The way I liked was that all the sticks would get piled up in the middle, and one of the kids, usually the oldest or most respected, would randomly throw sticks, alternating towards each net until they were evenly separated.  The other way was to have 2 captains choose their teams in alternating turns.  This wasn’t much fun if you weren’t very good, because you really didn’t want to be the last kid to get picked…’I guess I’ll have to take Troy…‘.  Either way, it was about the most fair, democratic process I’ve seen, even as an adult.

The interesting thing about street hockey was that although we were kids, and clearly unorganized, the rules of the game were strictly adhered to.  Any kid who refused to follow the rules, either spoken or assumed, was pretty much banished from all social games for a long time – kids could really hold a grudge.

We didn’t know it at the time, but street hockey was teaching us a lot of important lessons about life.  Besides being great exercise, we learned about the order of things.  We learned about leadership and hierarchy.  We knew that rules were important and needed to be followed.  We learned about teamwork and about knowing that we had to respect that we were on the street and it belonged to the cars.  It created the framework of morals and ethics for adulthood, and about hard work.

We had hero’s back then.  People we looked up to, and they rarely disappointed us.  Bobby Orr and Lanny McDonald are still stand up guys.  I don’t know if the same could be said about most sports stars today.

I’m seeing more kids in my neighbourhood playing street hockey again.  I’m glad for this, since they will learn the same important life lessons for future generations.  This gives me hope for the future.  They’ll learn about the importance of order, leadership and teamwork.  They’ll learn about not only how to follow rules, but to respect others.

They’ll probably never learn how to vacuum, though.