Wednesday, October 26, 2011

A Rocky Road to Fitness

Yo, Taxi!
As a runner who is constantly looking to push the boundaries of my fitness, I sometimes find myself becoming injured. Unfortunately, those injuries seem to be coming more frequently as I age. As a result, I’ve been spending a lot more of my time lately cross training instead of actually running. And, while I do enjoy sitting for hours upon hours on my comfy bike seat, after a while it leaves me wanting something more. So, recently I decided to take a page from the Italian Stallion himself and do some Extreme Cross Training!

Most runners are probably all too familiar with traditional cross training such as swimming, biking & weight lifting. However, these methods can only take you so far. Fortunately, that’s where the patented Rocky routine comes in handy! And, as we’ve seen in countless movies, it only takes a few minutes to get in really, really great shape. Because, as everyone knows, Sly Stallone spends 95% of the Rocky sequels messing around and only about 5% of his time actually training. But, to his credit, he usually does it to a really cool soundtrack!

You're a bum
Now, I know what you’re saying, “What if I can’t find a flock of chickens or a side of beef to train with, but I still feel the overwhelming desire to eat lightning & crap thunder”? Well, fear not! You can start building some “hurtin’ bombs” today simply by following my easy plan to “Extreme Cross Training – The Rocky Way”. So without further ado, here is a summary of Rocky’s best training methods (from easiest to most difficult) with Domestic Equivalents (things you can easily do around the house) for those weekend warriors who are meat or poultry challenged.

Level 1: Ice Skating
Granted, the kind of cross training that Sly did early in Rocky I is a very easy sort of workout. However, you’ve still got to give him props for his ability to keep Adrian from crashing into the boards headfirst all while wearing a leather jacket, combat boots and smoking a butt. That takes serious skill and balance! Domestic Equivalent: Walking Dog – I just want to make it clear that this real-world equivalent is in NO WAY indicative of Talia Shire’s overall appearance in this film.

Don't go there
Level 2: Beach Running
Now, we’re getting serious. In fact, there's nothing more serious than two guys in tight shorts, tank tops and knee high sport socks running full blast down a beach (as seen in Rocky III) before jumping into each others arms in the surf. Umm. Yeah, let’s move on. Domestic Equivalent: Raking Leaves – Bonus points if you bag the leaves by hand and stomp them down for good measure. Deductions for using a leaf blower to clear the leaves and then cavorting around with it in your front yard.

Level 3: Stair Climbing
This is Rocky’s signature end-of-workout routine. Running up the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and punching his fist into the air. This cross train method works on many levels - helping develop the calves, hamstrings and biceps. Plus, as an added bonus, you get a lovely view of Downtown Philly. Domestic Equivalent: Painting – Again, climbing up and down the stairs (because you inevitably forgot something you need in the basement) and then raising and lowering your arm repeatedly as you butcher the walls in your house. Very effective, yet artsy! 

Here chicky chicky
Level 4: Catching Chickens
One of Mickey’s favorite’s. The assumption being that if you can catch a 6-pound, flightless bird you can somehow defeat the 230 pound heavyweight champion of the world! This training is great for the cardiovascular system and also provides much needed protein to your diet. Domestic Equivalent: Babysitting – Anyone with kids please feel free to smile and nod your head knowingly. Anyone without – just trust us.

Level 5: Sawing/Chopping Wood
This workout must have really been effective, because Stallone used it in quite a few of his films. And, it was one of the few (only?) things he did that added any real benefit to anyone besides himself. A whole family of cold Russians (Rocky IV) can thank the Italian Stallion for helping to heat their home – all while working his entire upper body. Domestic Equivalent: Sawing/Chopping Wood – Strangely enough.

Yo, Moo
Level 6: Punching Beef
A workout so severe that merely watching it struck fear into Rocky’s opponents – and nausea for everyone else! So, if you’re not affected by blood splatter (or the sound of breaking ribs) this cross training method is for you. It does some serious damage to your Biceps and Lats. Plus, all your training can take place in a nice, climate-controlled environment! Domestic Equivalent: Shoveling Snow – Also cold. And, the chance of breaking ribs is still quite real!

Level 7: Pounding Scrap Metal
This pointless yet punishing workout from the junkyard in Rocky II was a gratuitous attempt to show off Sly’s ripped physique while still maintaining his manly/gritty edge. That car fender never knew what hit it once Rocky was finished with his “dirty” work. Domestic Equivalent: Digging Holes – Also pointless because most times you just end up filling the holes back in again anyway. But, still really good for the upper body.

Level 8: Log Carry/Hop
What’s more extreme that hauling around a 200 pound log on your shoulders and then hopping up and down like a frog? Rocky did this with aplomb in Rocky II and as a result Apollo Creed was the one who ended up getting croaked.  Domestic Equivalent: AC Installation – Not many chores are more insufferable than carrying a heavy-ass chunk of metal up from your basement and trying to carefully put it in a second floor window - without injuring yourself, the window or any innocent bystanders below.

Again Rocky, again!
Level 9: Human Dogsled
Another crazy-hard workout from Rocky IV, with the emphasis on crazy. Rocky pulls fat-ass Paulie on a sled of freshly cut logs though knee deep powder for about a foot and a half. This workout can help tone your shoulders, hips and thighs. It could be painstakingly replicated, but why? Domestic Equivalent: Roofing – High roofs, shaky ladders, heavy shingles and nail guns under a blazing sun. The very definition of extreme!

Get off the cross Sly
Level 10: Deep Snow Mountain Running
Finally, we reach the crème de’ la crème. A workout so extreme that it’s actually 3 workouts in one: log carrying, running in the deep snow and mountain climbing. Warning: this workout (also from Rocky IV) should only be attempted by highly-paid actors or those with an equally low IQ. Domestic Equivalent: Moving – This “domestic decathlon” is by far the most difficult of those listed previously.  It includes: Lifting, climbing, packing, driving, pivoting, organizing, disconnecting, re-connecting, breaking & drinking. Please do not attempt his at home (or anywhere else) without lots of friends or beer. Or, both!

BTW, I'm The Penguin on the Batman TV Series
This light-hearted look at cross training alternatives has been brought to you by the letter “Yo” and the number 2313 - which almost adds up to nine!  

Biff! Pow!
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental. And, hopefully humorous.

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