How to Cheat in Aerobics
by Mike Broderick
Aerobics classes are an excellent way to burn off those excess calories
and tone those muscles in need of fine tuning. At least that is what
people who own gyms would have you believe - unless, of course, they are
trying to sell you time on a computerized rowing machine instead.
I used to believe all those television ads that told me I could attain a
high level of physical fitness in the privacy of my own living room.
Using a variety of torturous instruments seemingly designed by
unemployed executioners, I could tone and firm various portions of my
anatomy in just three easy payments.
My rowing machine now stands in the corner of my balcony where I use it
as a laundry rack. My easy-to- store GUTBUSTER is easily stored in my
sock drawer, and I split the seams on my Trim Jeans. My cross country
skiing simulator only comes out at yard sales were it remains unsold.
Prospective buyers must be unimpressed by my physique and assume the
machine is a waste of money.
My apartment is a graveyard of grim reminders of my commitment to
physical fitness. After all the money I spent, the only reducing that
was done was to the inside of my bank account. But fitness means pain,
and pain means misery. If there is any truth to the adage that misery
loves company, then to become truly physically fit, you need to roll off
the couch and into an aerobics class.
For those who don't know, aerobics classes are hour long sessions of
spine popping stretches, shoulder knotting arm swings, thigh cramping
knee bends, heart and lung mutilating cardio segments, abdominal denting
sit-ups, and a host of buttock maneuvers designed to make your bum feel
like it is being massaged by a herd of stampeding bison.
All this carnage is carried out under the vigilance of an instructor who
is so well proportioned that she could easily pause mid-sit-up to pose
for a glamour magazine.
While we sweat, the instructor merely glistens. While our hearts and
lungs sound like threshing machines, she calmly chants, "Forty more. Yes
you can. Keep it up. Keep it up." Later, when you emerge from that soggy
pool of your own perspiration, you learn that she gave birth three days
Needless to say, attending an aerobics class can be a rather
intimidating proposition. One needs not only to match movements with the
instructor, but also with the rest of the class. This will help you
avoid the embarrassment of collision. You also don't want to be branded
a show-off by falling over.
But there is some hope. After months of attending these torture
sessions, I have devised a systematic strategy for becoming fit by
aerobics. Introducing: Mike Broderick's 5-Step System for Cheating at
1) Avoid Beginners' Classes.
Beginners' classes are particularly dangerous for the beginner. Here the
instructor feels compelled to leave the stage and stroll among the class
to assure herself that each person is in enough pain. In advanced
classes, she stays up front where she belongs.
2) Learn to Create Diversions.
It is considered bad form to scream in pain just because your thigh has
developed a charley horse that could win the Triple Crown. It is more
acceptable to plan your workout by wrapping an elastic bandage around
your knee. This will permit you to pause occasionally to massage that
throbbing muscle. Everyone will admire your dedication to fitness, and
your aggressive attitude to your own recovery.
3) Hold the Velcro.
Sadistic athletic footwear manufacturers, always alert to the
possibilities of making money in the fitness industry, now use velcro
strips in place of shoe laces. To cheat at aerobics, you need laces -
the longer the better. With loose tying, they can be trained to come
undone during the cardio segment. This should be at about the time you
realize that one more jumping jack will kill you.
When you mercilessly whip your classmates with your extra long laces,
you can take a break to retie them. Also, if you can engineer a
substantial snarl for a knot, you can miss half the abdominal section.
This is usually done with the shoes off.
4) Jockey for the Best Strategic Position.
Working the ham muscles means getting into a position on the elbows,
hands, and knees that anywhere else would be compromising. The position
is complicated, involving a pelvic tilt (whatever that is), and
extending one arm while waving a leg about in a variety of unusual
directions. The trick here is to get behind someone who is large enough
to block your view of the instructor. This way you can take a periodic
break by standing up and comparing her position with hers.
The problem here is that I am usually the largest person in the class.
All my classmates jockey for position behind me.
5) How to Cheat at Push-Ups.
The push-up is the time honoured test of strength. The tough drill
sergeant will snap, "GIMME FIFTY," to the reluctant recruit. This is
appropriate punishment for some heinous crime such as forgetting to put
the toilet seat down. The tough and glamorous aerobics instructor will
likewise snap, "Ninety push-ups," to the class. The class, in need of
extra adrenaline to make it through the ordeal, responds by cheering.
Be sure to watch what is happening. Your classmates all have their knees
bent and resting on the floor. The resistance becomes counterbalanced by
your feet. Now that's built-in cheating. Depending on the size of your
feet, a good portion of your mass is eliminated from the push-up.
Do ten real push-ups with your legs straight. This should take about the
same length of time as doing ninety fake ones.
My 5-Step System for Cheating at Aerobics is one that works. If you are
going to cheat at aerobics, you have to be there. You will automatically
get caught up in the enthusiasm of the class. You may even grow to like
some of the techno music played (though I doubt it.) Soon you will find
the need to cheat lessen as you become stronger and stronger. As an
example, just this morning I was almost able to do eleven push- ups.