The one thing you need to know to succeed in life

I loathe going to the gym. I especially loathe it when I forget my earbuds at home, and am forced to consume generic mass media while I’m stretching and sweating and pumping up those feeble strands I call muscles — modern pop music seems to be striving for all the passion of muzak, and broadcast TV…forget it.

So I’m rage-peddling on the exercise bicycle when some insipid collection of TV celebrities are delivering their favorite lines of life-advice to the loved ones in their family, and I’m hating it, and I come up with a line of my own.

If all you needed was the right aphorism, it wouldn’t take a score of years to raise a child.

See? This is why I’m not invited to those kinds of shows. Well, one reason.


  1. Larry says

    Consider what it would be like if you were forced to ingest the swill emanating from fox news whilst pedaling the bike. My former gym seemingly had that on every TV in the place no matter what time I came in. Having my own music helped alleviate the nausea but I still had to see those talking heads and bubble headed blondes.

  2. says

    Yeah, it was that way for a while — a whole wall of Fox News. I wrote ’em a nasty note and said if one TV was tuned to Fox, OK; but if that’s all we get, I’m dropping out. It worked.

  3. says

    I forgot my ear buds one time, but the gym has a supply of dollar store buds, which they sell for a dollar a shot. It’s worth the dollar for me to be reminded never to forget my buds again, because the dollar ones are sub-crap.

    Another time, I managed to lose a plastic cup from my earbuds. I was going out to my car to look for one that should have been in my pack somewhere, and before I cold do that, the guy at the counter had scared one up for me. I emailed the company to let them know that legendary service had been performed, and I’m reminded of it whenever I look at my ear buds with two different color tips.

    From my machine(s), I can see three big screens and three or four small ones on individual machines. Typically, no more than one of these is on Fox News. Sometimes none of them are! There’s also a screen in the locker room, which I generally set to ESPN in order to forestall someone putting it onto a news station—any news station. If someone enters and turns the set off, I usually thank them. (I don’t often turn it off myself, because then the next person might come in and put it on news again.)

  4. Rob Grigjanis says

    If you have a few hundred bucks and the room, why not buy your own stationary bike?

    Akira @4: Never mind glass half full or half empty. I see you’re a glass lying in shards on the floor kinda guy.

  5. jrkrideau says

    @ 5 Rob Grigjanis
    Why not just buy a good bike? Fresh air and changing scenery as one rides along. One can run errands as one gets exercise, and blah, blah, etc.

    From my very limited experience (I once sat on an exercise bike) a real bike is a lot more comfortable too.

    For Minnesota studded snow tires are probably a good idea this time of the year. I just got mine put on.

  6. killyosaur says

    @jrkrideau one could do the snow tires, or get a good training tire and a good fluid bike trainer, you don’t need to go outside.

    But, if he wants to do weights, he needs a bit more room and a good set of select-a-weight dumbbells like these: 83CL4dBD7pQuQs9iJg5nguVW5IAjKIA8aAiiMEALw_wcB
    Which are great unless he’s significantly stronger than the max weight of the dumbbells (or wants to do something with a barbell)

    Sure you can build a pretty decent home gym if you have the room, with benches and bosu balls and swiss balls and a wide variety of free weights, a few compact weight machines, a treadmill, and a bike w/ trainer but at some point it is easier (and just as cost effective, not to mention space saving) to just get the $20 gym membership (or more if they have a pool, maybe PZ wants to start swimming?)

  7. Rob Grigjanis says

    jrkrideau @6: I can get a better 30-45 minute workout on a stationary bike than I ever could riding on roads or bike paths. No traffic lights, no idiot drivers, no idiot pedestrians/roller bladers/other cyclists. Also no snow or black ice in winter. I do miss the fresh air and scenery, though. Wistful side note: I really miss riding to the end of the Leslie Street Spit (Toronto) of a winter Sunday to watch the sun rise over Lake Ontario.

    killyosaur @7: All you need for a decent home gym is a machine (after I had to give up running, rower was my favourite until knee and back said otherwise), a mat, a chin-up bar, and gravity.

  8. says

    I went to the YMCA for about eight years until they pissed me off one day by ignoring me for fifteen minutes in order to shmooze a prospective client. Since then, I’ve been going to a small local gym that has everything I need for less than half the price. In place of the long list of guidelines that the Y provided, they have one with about six items on it that sometimes occupies a spot over the locker room urinal: things like “don’t drop weights.” My favorite item is #4:
    “No grunting.”