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June 27, 2009


Patrick R. Sullivan

On the other hand, we all can take heart at David Duval's recent comeback at the US Open. He did it by getting fat again.

Jack is Back!

But David Duval at his widest and heaviest is like Daly, very supple with soft hands and a silky sweet swing. Whereas guys like Jason Gore, The Stadlers and Colt Knost are slashers. Guy Boros is another of the "soft" kind of wide men.

I don't think any of them are ready for the Rice workout. But they may be good candidates for a sixty-second one or even a six minute one as long as there is an AED around.

Mark O

I think the next article will describe how one can become fit by having someone else run both long distance and wind sprints.

Captain Hate

Karl Malone was one of the most awesome NBA specimens ever when it came to training. Fairly late in his career he was lifting weights under the hot Looziana sun and one of his cousins said "Aren't you doing too much?" to which the Mailman replied "I'm afraid I'm not doing enough."

The NYT article is as useless as everything else they consider fit to print.


My father always says it as "Lousy-ana." I'm not sure whether that's because I was born while he was stationed there.


The student who wishes to acquire a firm technique on the guitar should not neglect the patient study of scales. If he practices them two hours a day, he will correct faulty hand positions, gradually increase the strength of his fingers, and prepare the joints for later speed studies. . . .

In order to derive the greatest possible benefit from the following exercises, play them slowly and vigorously at first, more lightly and rapidly later. In one hour of scales may be condensed many hours of arduous exercises which are frequently futile. The practice of scales enables one to solve a greater number of technical problems in a shorter time than the study of any other exercise.

--Andres Segovia, from Diatonic Major and Minor Scales, 1953


I don't think Bobby Jones was a fitness fellow. In fact he claimed he didn't look directly at the ball in preparing to strike.


I'm trying an experiment--can sitting in front of a pc god knows how many hours a day and posting here really do wonders for my abs and hips?

So far, it's not working--maybe if I type faster?

Jack is Back!


No, but after you develop carpal tunnel syndrome and astigmatism you will be eligible for Obama Care as long as you sign a waiver to limit your malpractice amount to $250,000 so that it can be taxed at the highest marginal rate.

JM Hanes

"my guess is that anyone who will engage in that sort of self-inflicted torment probably likes the whole exercising experience and is not focused on saving time on a regular basis."

I'd have said just the opposite. The person who is willing to devote hours upon hours to "fitness" activities is the one who must like the exercise, and the routine, itself. Just thinking about it makes my eyes glaze over. Put a squash racket in my hand, though, and I'd be yours -- if I didn't have to drive all the way into town for a court.

"Would this result hold up for a forty or fifty-something who has been exercising regularly since high school?"

I'm not sure anything tested on college kids necessarily holds up for 50 somethings, but for folks like me who just want to get it over with, this would be the best 6 minutes news in a long time. I can put up with most anything for 20 seconds at a time. Unfortunately, it looks like the older you get, the more continuous motion you need just to keep from stiffening up! More seriously, as muscularity and/or bone density decreases, it's also far easier to get hurt, so intensity would have some real downsides attached to age.

I'm not sure athletes are necessarily the best model of fitness for the rest of us either, though! They train for a specific kind of brutal exercise that has no real parallel in ordinary life -- and often comes back to haunt them down the road, when nobody is studying them any more.

Mark O


If one can master the scales, major, minor, diminshed, augmented, etc., almost every piece is instantly playable because the music must be based on the scales. But, it is the rare student who will play scales hours a day. Mostly we want to play "Wake Up Little Susie."

Fresh Air

So this is what it comes to. The Mediacrats pass the worst bill in U.S. history and in order to keep ourselves from going insane, we are reduced to discussing stories about physical fitness appearing in the Pinch News.

At least we don't have to talk about Michael Jackson anymore. Did that Plame-Wilson movie make it to DVD yet?


When Dennis Rodman played for the Bulls, he had an injury (back?) To keep loose when he wasn't in the game, he rode the bike behind the stands. Looked like near full speed to me. NBA game goes about 2 1/2 hours and he was full speed for most of that. Weird dude, but some athlete.

Old Lurker

Best news lately was the study suggesting slightly chubby people live longest of all.



many basketball teams use this to help a player stay loose if they are having cramping or spasms. The Phoenix Suns have the best conditioning program in the league. A very holistic approach based on total body health. It seems to have helped some of their guys stay healthier. Shaq did pretty well there for his age.When they were running more, it was more evident,but the team changed with Shaq and the loss of D'Antoni.

Good cardio work should be on everyone's list 3-4 days/week. 20 minutes at something over a heart rate of 120 should be good enough for most. Longer and higher HR are better within limits. We have to outlive and out hustle these bastids.


By the way Tom there was an article last week in the NYT about another study from Canada also confirming that the chubby people living longer that I wondered if you saw.

They said a bmi from 25 to 30, so for a a woman of average height, 5' 4'', that's I think maybe like 145 to 180? I'm wondering if they will be able to narrow that down more and totell us which end of the scale is better. Weighing 145 at 5' 4'' wouldn't be all that chubby, getting up to 180 would.

Anyway, NYT is late with this article on exercise. I saw this somewhere about 4 months ago. Maybe Reuters Health. I believe there is truth in it. However, doing all those full-on all-out fast runs aren't so easy either, so I don't think it's some easy solution, but it prob helps some. I would guess a combo between the two, fast and slow, moderately done is the ideal way to go. But in the end, I doubt any of it does that much difference to mortality.


You know I was thinking about why chubby people live longer. One thought I had was stem cells, as fat grows stem cells. Another theory I saw, agian on Reuters, was that some people are "elephants" and they have slow thryroids which let them live longer, but a slow thyroid makes you gain weight.

Another thing I thought about was the simplest reason and that is heavier people just simply have more mass, and more mass means that any environmental toxins, or viruses, are diluted in the greater body mass. That leads to increased resistance to environmental toxins. I wonder if there is some study comparing tall people to shorter people to help prove that.

Captain Hate

I'm not sure athletes are necessarily the best model of fitness for the rest of us either, though! They train for a specific kind of brutal exercise that has no real parallel in ordinary life -- and often comes back to haunt them down the road, when nobody is studying them any more.

I think this is most true for NFL offensive and defensive linemen where sheer size is important. A number of years ago I met Al "Bubba" Baker shortly after he retired and the first thing I thought was "You've gotta lose at least 80 pounds (and that was probably low) because there's no way your heart can support that mass." Baseball players, unless they're complete roided up freaks like Bonds, shouldn't have much problem; basketball maybe because of their size.

JM Hanes

Old Lurker:

As in so many things, my mother appears to have been ahead of the ball. She always said she thought older folks needed a little extra weight to cushion against illness and trauma. When older men, in particular, start going gaunt (so to speak!) I find myself assuming they have health problems, not thinking they look fit. She was also a generation ahead of Mark Steyn on the significance of birth rate demographics -- which I didn't take seriously at the time, of course.

Fresh Air:

Oddly enough, my mother had some wisdom to pass on about the value of of lightening up from time to time too! She said a sense of humor will get you through more of life's trials than almost anything else you might rely on.


Your mom sounds really wonderful,JMH.

Old Lurker

I'll drink to that, JMH!


The Times blogs on fitness and drinking are two of their bright spots in an otherwise awful performance environment. Blogs about fitness and drinking strike a chord with the overly self involved core NYTimes readership.

Ralph L

sign a waiver to limit your malpractice amount to $250,000
No, $250k is the new minimum. How else to get the trial lawyers behind the bill?

JM Hanes

Then I've done my good deed for the day, OL. She was very wise in many ways, Clarice, although like most, she had a harder time taking advice than dispensing it! She and Dad raised four kids with the confidence to chose distinctly different paths through the world -- and who still manage to get along famously. Can't ask for better than that.

abad man

Typical get something for nothing (or almost nothing) drivel.

It elegantly proves yet again that it doesn't matter what you do, just that you do some activity for 30 minutes or so 3-4 times a week for general fitness. 30-45 minutes of steady riding would probably produce the same results as the intervals or riding 90-120 minutes in this population. Initial fitness gains should folow a similar curve no matter what you do.

The exercise times 90-120 minutes are somewhat suprising as I am not aware of any training programs that recommend riding that much on a routime basis for general fitness. The 90-120 minutes of exercise does make the time diferential more dramatic though.

I would file the study under garbage in, garbage out

I'm trying an experiment--can sitting in front of a pc god knows how many hours a day and posting here really do wonders for my abs and hips?
Absolutely, clarice.

...of course you may need to adjust your notion of "do wonders" slightly...

Soylent Red

really do wonders for my abs and hips?

Get rid of your chair and start sitting on a 75 cm Swiss ball, inflated until it is hard. It won't "do wonders", but it will give your core muscles a constant low intensity workout (trying to keep from rolling off) the whole time you're sitting. My dimpled ass is perched on one now. You can also do stretches with it when your back gets tired.

As for intervals...

My running days typically include intervals. I do what are called 30/60s (thirty second sprints followed by 60 seconds of comfortable jogging), about five or six sets, after my regular run (3-5 miles). I got this from a plan put together by Jeff Galloway, who knows a thing or two about running. So far it's worked for me.

On weight days, I do 30 repetitions of 18 upper body and ab exercises, divided into sets based on the day. On day one (Monday) I'll do heavy weight, more sets to get to 30. Then on Wednesday I'll do lighter weight but fewer sets to get to 30. Friday, split the difference. Swim on Sundays.

The exercises are paired in groups of two, so while you are resting from one set on, say bench press, you are doing another exercise not using the same muscles as the bench press, like crunches. This is called doing "supersets". t works the same way as intervals, where you alternate short bursts of exertion with rest periods.

Then shuffle the cycle forward one day on the following Monday (still swim on Sundays). Every two weeks you go back and retest for your maximum lift weight and reset the weights. What you're doing is taking advantage of muscle confusion, which helps you make quicker gains.

Believe it or not, the lighter weight days are the ones that really suck, but they are the days that really build muscle endurance. And you don't bulk up the way you do with doing progressively heavier sets.



cathy always gets to the heart of things.

Soylent, if I followed your routine people would be fighting to get an insurable interest in me.

I have been swimming 60 laps a day this week which is helping repair my knee. Last night I added a one mile hike. Really exhausting but it is speeding the knee repair.

I have another good workout tip, Soylent. On the 4th help the hostess get all the food and stuff up and down the stairs ..

It's the endorphins, Honey.

Same business here about receptors.

Soylent Red

You got it clarice


Don't have time to read all the comments, but I know of no better way to get and stay fit than pulling 100 feet of 1" bull line out from a bulldozer winch, up a hill, after two or three sets of placing 15' long, 3/4" chokers around a few logs.
All JOMers are invited to partake of these free(!) and easy routines this summer.

Rehab is the key, c.

SR, an old time way to travel long distance fast was to alternate walking, jogging, and sprinting, sometimes for the same number of steps in each. Small smooth stone in your mouth, too, one too small to block off your whole trachea.


"Ogg, You play scales."

"Ogg no play scales."

"Ogg, You play scales!"

"No, Ogg no play scales!"

"Ogg, You no play scales, you no eat mammoth!"

"Ogg want mammoth, Ogg want mammoth!!!"

"Ogg no play scales, Ogg no eat mammoth!!!"

:(........."Ogg play scales">http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8117915.stm">scales :(

JM Hanes

Lordy, wouldn't you know this post is the one that's going to show up twice. Perhaps is just as well that folks have probably already moved on.


LOL! My spouse and I started out on a farm in a western Virginia mountain valley. Our first house was perched 500 feet up the side (which is enough to turn rain on the valley floor to snow above it). We used to invite friends from New York down for long weekends, and one particular friend, who clearly spent a lot of time at the gym, could run up and down the drive, which was pretty impressive.

In a Tom Sawyerish sort of adventure, he and my husband took off one morning to build fence along a high meadow up around 4,000 feet. Anybody who's done any fence building knows that setting posts and stretching wire is labor intensive, but you could tell our greenhorn friend was determined to show the 2 old geezers who came along to help what a city slicker could do.

You can probably guess the rest. He'd get those post holes dug in half the time it took everyone else! When they stopped for lunch, he was definitely flagging. The two aged locals got back up and went on digging and stretching without a pause till dusk, while he mostly enjoyed the scenery. We had another friend who raised cattle a valley away who used to run up the entire mountain, just for grins. When that got too easy, he started doing it bare foot which meant hopping rocks when briars got in the way. On long summer days, he and his family sometimes walked over the mountain to our place for lunch, picking fabulous mushrooms along the way, and then walked home again. You really have to trust someone to eat wild mushrooms they've gathered themselves!

I wouldn't trade those wonderful Appalachian days for anything. I wouldn't trade my south Georgia days either, although I'm not sorry I live elsewhere now. Rattlesnakes, cotton mouths and fire ants were a major downside which the wild quail mostly, but not always, made up for. All of it, though, is part of rural America that urban Americans will never get, in both senses of the word.

There's a lot to be said for slow steady pacing, and for a life where you don't have to figure out how to fit some physical exercise into your schedule. That's why my own workouts, such as they are, consist of digging plant holes and working trenches to reconstitute the soil my fussier imports need. Lifting heavy clay, and twisting to set it aside, is like the primitive form of what a lot of women do in fitness classes. I just don't have a trainer, and when I'm done, I've got a garden to show for the effort.

In the winter, I spend the afternoons walking up and down in the woods carrying camera equipment and taking photos. Wielding a hatchet to clear deadfall and volunteers from a path uses up calories and builds a little muscle too, but I wouldn't have the guts to try toppling a real tree with an ax or anything else on my own. That's tricky, often dangerous, work which takes experience and serious skilz. My hat's off to the loggers who move big trees for a living.



My grandad was like that; a little slip of a guy but he could get on the end of a shovel and work some big hoss into the ground.

I've let a few friends try the choker setting end of things just to let them see what it's like. They don't last long.
Pulling line is tough enough, but the worst thing is the frequency that one steps on yellow jacket nests and they're nearly always in ill humor.
I once hit a hornet nest with the cab of my cat and received 16 stings on my neck and face in about 30 seconds. My wife barely recognized me when I got home.

The fallers have the truly dangerous job. Were it broken out as a seperate occupation (which it should be) it would be easily the most dangerous job in the country, much worse than fishermen. It is largely a small man's game as well. Wiry little guys tend to last longer than big dudes. But in either case it doesn't take a very large piece of a tree to kill or maim a man.

And I concur, a good covey (or bevy, for our southern contingent) of quail makes up for a multitude of sins.

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