As you might suspect, the intent of these monthly writings is to share our Brick Bodies experiences with others and, perhaps, motivate you to try new things when you visit the gym. Well, I have been bad, in fact, very, very bad, so far this summer. If I couldn’t inspire myself to make it to the gym on a regular basis, how can I write something that would inspire you?

So, even though I have found numerous reasons not to workout at Brick Bodies, it does not mean that I have become a complete couch potato; where there is even a tiny bit of desire, there is a way to make things work. It is in this spirit that I am going to share my “Helpful Hints from the Commish.”

Always remember that people can and still do get exercise without having to go to a gym.

If you have a 3-year-old granddaughter who is a continual whirlwind, you can count watching her for four hours as a total workout. Bending, picking up things, helping her bake a pie, cleaning at least 25 bowls, measuring cups, utensils (not to mentions floors, tables, and dogs) and I believe you have done enough for one day. Treat yourself to an early bedtime.

gardening for exerciseOne day a week go and play outside for yourself. For me, it’s golf. For my wife, it’s gardening, and this overflows into another “exercise” for me. I’m not a “weeder” but Pam is. My idea of weeding is getting our weed dragon (a flame-thrower-like contraption attached to a 20# can of propane) and defoliating. This method leaves little for composting and since Pam likes to compost, she fills heavy containers with lots of unwanted green stuff, and I lift those bales and tote those barges to wherever she directs me. This is, of course, another usage of muscle groups and free weights in a real-life application.

If you work outside in the sweltering heat, we have had lately, stay hydrated and put everything you have into whatever you are doing. Work up a good sweat. A couple of Saturdays ago I worked nine straight hours cleaning some stainless steel rabbit cages. They were disgusting with caked on, well, you can just imagine what was caked on. By the time I finished, those cages looked almost brand new again and, though tired, I felt it had been a day well spent. Even though I tried to stay hydrated, I lost almost 6 pounds that day. Of course, it was sweated out, and, for me, this meant I could expect to get some cramping in my legs later that night.

Now here is the helpful hint to remember: for reasons unknown, a bar of Ivory soap almost immediately causes knotted muscles to relax. My mother swears by this and will sleep with a bar in bed to prevent and/or relieve her leg cramps; but, since I never had a bar of Ivory soap handy, I never tried this technique. Expecting the worst, I found an old bar of unopened soap that was at least 15 years old, and I was ready. This time, my hand cramped rather than my leg, and I struggled to single-handedly unwrap the bar because the wrapper had melded to the soap; but, lo and behold, immediately after rubbing that old Ivory soap on my “locked” hand the cramp disappeared. The same thing happened with a leg cramp later that evening. Now I keep a brand new bar in my nightstand. Just in case, you know.

One last hint: Summer is the time indulge in fresh, just picked foods. We used to love cubing eggplant, battering it and deep frying. Yummy. Now I cut it into pieces, shake them in a large ziplock bag with just a little bit of olive oil, garlic, and spices and cook in the oven at 425 degrees; very low fat, huge flavor, and no “fryer’s remorse.”