Richard Simmons gave his heart to the world. It was no small feat to be an energetic & effeminate fitness celebrity in the homophobic ‘80s, and yet he still rose to prominence and encouraged self respect at every size many years before it was cool. Richard’s videos didn’t just have us grapevining for our lives, he encouraged us to get there by loving ourselves.
But now that Richard has retired from the limelight to live a well-earned private life and we’ve long since worn out our VHS copies of Sweatin’ To The Oldies, where to turn for that special brand of campy lo-fi cardio? What if you’re not a hardcore exercise fiend trying to get into a titty flex contest with Terry Crews and are instead just looking for a fun way to keep that ass in motion while sheltering in place?
Legendary punk singer and Violence Girl author Alice Bag’s “Fit for the Apocalypse” workout videos on YouTube are a good place to start. Each episode is the length of a punk song, which isn’t always enough time for a proper workout but, you know, just stream them all consecutively and jog in place while you scrub through to the action. After years of being punished by crappy club music in every spin class ever, this is the exercise soundtrack you’ve been yearning for. Squat and punch along to cool new punk bands like the Linda Lindas and Amyl & the Sniffers or lunge to classics like The Tissues. Along with standard aerobics moves like the grapevine, get ready for new Alice Bag signature classics like "The Hallelejuah" and the “Tit-sa.” Read the rest
A few years ago I decided to piece together my own Peloton-compatible stationary bike, it has been a fantastic investment in me. Building your own is easy and significantly cheaper than buying the bike Peloton sells!
Ironically placed in a window overlooking the Pacific for its first few years of service, my Sunny Bike was in storage for the last 12 months and I ached to get it back. When I packed my life into storage last April I thought I would be living in a new home by the end of summer, and haphazardly packed stuff into boxes as labeled by a madman. I did not take my cycling shoes, shorts, heart-rate monitor with me.
Of the 11,000lbs of crap I had in storage, I spent a year missing 3 cardigans, my espresso machine, and the fakey-Peloton. I was thrilled when I saw the movers haul it out of the truck and bring it into my home. It took three days to find the espresso machine.
In the months before going into storage, my physical therapist told me I had to stop riding the Sunny Bike as often as I had been. I was riding 5-6x a week and he suggested some of my back problems might be alleviated by riding less and doing more core building strength exercises. I find that riding the bike not only helped me burn calories, and maintain a better level of cardio fitness than I had in years, it was a huge emotional release, and frequently as I pedaled my heart out, I would just start to laugh or cry. Read the rest
This clip is apparently from "Malltime," a 1987 episode of the British TV documentary program Equinox. Some insist that the woman is an actor, and that may very well be true especially given the mall is located in Los Angeles. But that doesn't mean she isn't also a very enthusiastic mall walker.
(via r/ObscureMedia) Read the rest
In 1994, exercise equipment maker Life Fitness partnered with Nintendo on the Life Fitness Exertainment System with games designed for the Exertainment bike. Above is a promotional video for this short-lived product.
The footage shows how the system works and also alludes to Tetris and Pac-Man being made for the system as footage was even shown, but the only games to come out for the system were Mountain Bike Rally and Mountain Bike Rally/Speed Racer combo for the Lifecyle 9XS gym version.
And here's a description of the the Exertainment System Mountain Bike Rally/Speed Racer cartridge that now sells for more than $1300 on the collector market:
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Welcome To The Exertainment System Game Pak! In this one Game Pak you can select from three exciting game titles: Program Manager Your Very Own On-Screen Trainer! Life Fitness Program Manager is your electronic personal trainer. It sets your personal workout goals and retains personal workout information for up to four members of your family. Program Manager is perfect for motivating you to get in shape and for tracking workouts - all while you're having fun on the Exertainment system! Mountain Bike Rally Wow! What a ride! Hop on your Lifecycle trainer and race against riders bent on winning at all costs. Watch out for punches and strike back at those cycling foes. But keep one eye on road obstacles. They're at every turn. Quick, choose the ramp routes and leave your opponent in the dust! Speed Racer Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines.
I needed new shoes for cycling. These Shimano SH-RP1 cycling shoes are great.
Fairly lightweight, and certainly durable enough for spinning class, I'll be using these Shimano shoes 3-4x a week. They are stiff enough and the velcro straps cinch them down tight.
There are some interesting vent holes cut in the sole that my old pair did not have. I do not really notice much airflow, but maybe when on my roadbike.
I needed to buy a set of SPD clips to make them truly useful. I could have taken the old ones off my last pair, but they are not currently with me.
SHIMANO SH-RP1 Cycling Shoe via Amazon Read the rest
Well, it's not the Iron Maiden or the Brazen Bull, but the treadmill of today's fitness centers does have a "tortuous history" as Dan Kopell writes at Wirecutter
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Inventor William Cubitt subscribed to the “no pain, no gain” philosophy. His “Tread-Wheel,” which was described in the 1822 edition of Rules for the Government of Gaols, Houses of Correction, and Penitentiaries (published by the British Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline and for the Reformation of Juvenile Offenders), was presented as a way for prisoners to put in an honest day’s labor. Prisoners used treadmills in groups, with up to two dozen convicts working a single machine, usually grinding grain or pumping water, sometimes for as long as eight hours at a stretch. They’d do so “by means of steps … the gang of prisoners ascend[ing] at one end … their combined weight acting upon every successive stepping board, precisely as a stream upon the float-boards of a water wheel.”...
This was considered to be more humane, at least compared with earlier methods of punishment, which centered on hanging or exile to British colonies. Hard labor on a treadmill for a fixed term, the theory went, could rehabilitate an offender, who could then return to society and family. Never mind that the prisoner was often left shattered by the experience. Oscar Wilde spent two years on the treadmill as punishment for “gross indecency with certain male persons.” In a poem about his incarceration, he wrote: “We banged the tins, and bawled the hymns, /And sweated on the mill: /But in the heart of every man /Terror was lying still.”
The Sunny SF-B1002 exercise bike that I have based my DIY Peloton around is now $50 less than I paid for it!
The 49lb flywheel matched with a really affordable price brought me to the Sunny Bike. This bike is very smooth to ride and easy to use. I have ridden it mercilessly for over 2 years and not had any problems. The bike shows almost no signs of wear and has taken very little maintenance.
Set up was super easy, but the parts are heavy and you may need help if the bike has to go up some stairs.
All the gear you need to set up and join Peloton's classes is cataloged in this post.
I love this bike and the classes from Peloton. Using this set-up over the last two years I've hit my target weight and am in better shape than almost any other point in my life.
Sunny Health & Fitness SF-B1002 49lb Flywheel Belt Drive Indoor Cycle Bike via Amazon Read the rest
I've been holding steady at my target weight for over 5 months, despite numerous back injuries and setbacks. At the heart of my fitness routine is a homebrew Peloton cycle.
More often than not I forget that my Sunny Bike actually relieves back pain. When I'm sore or struggling with my lower back, the go-to impulse is to stop riding. A single ride can help release tension or trick some mildly spasming muscles into stopping. It also burns lots of calories, makes my body look a lot better and rapidly becomes addicting to the point I have to manage how many times a week I ride.
As part of local tradition, I was body shamed during a visit to Los Angeles last July. A friend pointed out that I had gained more weight than they had seen on me. I had gained about 15 lbs above where I had been comfortably sitting, pedaling away on my Sunny Bike and watching Dr. Lupo stream on Twitch 2-3 times a week. Affectionally I referred to those 15 lbs as "the Fortnite 15."
I decided I'd had enough and immediately went on a diet that I know works for me. I started hitting the bike! I gave up on Twitch and started riding along with 45-minute classes led by Dennis via the Peloton app. I also started a pretty serious regimen of abdominal workouts as prescribed during prior physical therapy. I felt great, lost tons of fat and built a lot of muscle! Read the rest
Six months ago I could not do a single chin-up. I got this chin-up bar and went to work. Perseverance developed body strength, and my vanity has pumped up a notch! Read the rest
I have posted a couple times about my DIY Peloton indoor exercise bike. I recently added weights for the arm and chest exercises. I like them. Read the rest
Bicyclists who also own motorcycles and motorscooters have come up with some clever ways to mount their human-powered two-wheeler on their motor-powered vehicles. Read the rest
At some Chinese universities, students have a fitness requirement, so that means fitness tracker cheating has become a lucrative business for a few enterprising entrepreneurs. Read the rest
A year ago I decided to piece together my own Peloton-compatible stationary spinning cycle, I still love it. I never have to go to a gym full of PEOPLE. Read the rest
A Colorado Springs running enthusiast, known locally as "The Mad Pooper," has been leaving gifts on a private lawn in a most public fashion.
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A mystery woman in Colorado Springs, Colo. is giving runners a pretty crappy reputation. According to local CBS affiliate KKTV, this runner has been defecating outside the house of resident Cathy Budde for the past seven weeks. Even worse—her children first spotted the woman.
Budde and her family have caught the runner at least three times. However, this has not stopped this mystery runner. She continues to leave waste behind at least once a week. The woman has gone so far as to change her running schedule to avoid prying eyes. The community has nicked named her “The Mad Pooper.”
Budde thinks the act is intentional, even if she is unsure who the woman is.
“I put a sign on the wall that’s like ‘please, I’m begging you, please stop.’ … She ran by it like 15 times yesterday, and she still pooped,” Budde told KKTV.
The only thing that would make this video of Chinese firefighters jumping rope would be a Yakety Sax soundtrack.
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I decided I needed to start exercising again, and spinning--cycling on a stationary bike--is the best choice for me. Peloton looked awesome, but too expensive. I figured out a way to enjoy the features of Peloton I care about, without spending the big bucks. Here's how you can do it, too. Read the rest