Friday, January 13, 2012

"Let's Get Physical"

By Jerry Zezima

The Stamford Advocate

Even though I was recently edged out by Hollywood hunk Bradley Cooper as People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive, I am proud to say that, for a guy with an AARP card, I still have a boyish figure. So I wasn’t surprised when a personal trainer said that I have more fat in my head than I do on my body.


Del Davis, who also has a boyish figure, as well as an AARP card, made the calculation during my complimentary four-day membership at Eastern Athletic, a health club in Melville, N.Y.


Aside from adhering to a strict regimen of 12-ounce curls, I hadn’t worked out in decades. I may not be flabby, but I’m often winded just from getting up at night to go to the bathroom. Del had the unenviable task of whipping me back into shape without prompting People to name me Sexiest Man Deceased.


Del, who has been a personal trainer for 25 years, has amazing abs, bulging biceps, tremendous triceps and other massive muscles. He also has youth on his side because he’s 10 days younger than I am.


“You’re just a kid,” I told him before my first workout. “No wonder you look so good.”


“I am going to make you look good, too,” said Del, who has won several bodybuilding championships in the United States and Canada, including the coveted title of Mr. Apollo.


“In college,” I said, “I was known as Mr. Heineken.”


For that reason alone, I should have keeled over 30 seconds after Del put me on a treadmill. Surprisingly, I survived the initial one-hour session, which included stints on a stretching machine and a pull-up machine. I also lifted weights.


“It’s appropriate that I’m using dumbbells,” I said, “because I am one.”


“Not at all,” Del replied. “I’m very impressed. If I didn’t know you haven’t exercised in years, I’d say you have been working out.”


Fat chance. Which is why I was stunned at the beginning of my next session, a week later, to find out that I am a lean, mean geezer machine. Del took my height (6 feet) and weight (170 pounds) and programmed the information into a small device that measures fat content. After I held it up in front of me, Del said that I have only 19 percent fat.


“I have 18 percent, so your fat percentage is great,” said Del, adding that the average person has about 25 percent.


“Most of the fat must be in my head,” I said.


“Definitely,” Del replied.


The rest of the session was spent on an ab machine, a leg press and a back machine. I didn’t even break a sweat, though I was wearing sweatpants.


“Muscles have memory,” said Del.


“Mine are too old to remember anything,” I noted.


“Nonsense,” he said. “Your muscles are bouncing back.”


They were crying out in pain the following week, when Del stepped it up by making me step up on a machine called the versatile climber.


“Be like Spider-Man,” he said.


“Spidey never needed CPR,” I responded, huffing and puffing and almost blowing the gym down.


The rest of the session, which included a stint on a rowing machine (“I’m not going anywhere,” I said) and a workout with a medicine ball (“I’m going to need medicine after this”), was equally intense.


“You did well,” Del said afterward. “I didn’t even have to call an ambulance.”


The last of the four sessions was, by comparison, a breeze. I got back on the versatile climber, did pushups, pumped iron and did bench dips. But the workout was more invigorating than tiring.


When it was all over, Del gave me an evaluation. On a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, I scored as follows: stamina, 10; agility, 8; strength, 9; fat percentage, 10; pushups, 9; dips, 10.


“And you don’t even do anything,” Del said. “I’m shocked. If you worked out regularly, you’d be off the charts. Overall, you’re a perfect 10.”


Take that, Bradley Cooper.


Copyright 2012 by Jerry Zezima


6 comments:

Dave Astor said...

Your time as "The Exercist" could have been a horror movie, but it turned out to be a funny and expertly written column.

darev2005 said...

When will we see you on late night teevee hawking your own brand of exercise equipment?

The Jerry Z Total Geezer Squeezer Machine!

Jerry Zezima said...

Thanks, Dave, although I'm not in good enough shape yet to turn my head all the way around. At least I didn't throw up pea soup.

Jerry Zezima said...

When you become my agent, Darev2005. Great idea! There's just one problem: At my age, I can't stay up that late anymore.

physical therapist schools said...

This is a good common sense article. Very helpful to one who is just finding the resources about this part. It will certainly help educate me.

Jerry Zezima said...

Thanks, PTS! I've seldom been accused of having common sense, because in my case it's not too common, but I'm happy to help.