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  Beijing Scene

No Pain, No Gain

THE NEW YEAR IS HERE, and you know what that means. (No, it doesn't mean more TV shows glorifying sell-out foreigners; nor does it mean an end to "Chinglish," the bastardization of two beautiful languages). It means spring is around the corner, and that temperatures will be going up and clothes will start coming off. Chances are you made a pig of yourself (baoy"n baoshi) over the holidays and slept late (shui lan jiao) every day. If you committed at least one more of the Seven Deadly Sins (Qida Zuie) in addition to sloth and gluttony, then you probably had a fantastic time.

Now it's time to make up (mibu) for all of that wantonness. Pull yourself together and get your fat butt (pigu) to the nearest gym (jianshenfang), post haste! "Strengthen your body and build the Motherland!" Duanl"an shenti, jianshe Zuguo

Warm-Up (Zhunbei Huodong)
Don't forget that before any workout, you need to stretch (fang song ji rou), otherwise you might pull a muscle (la jin ji rou). The "Chinese lavatory squat" is a good way to loosen up those hamstrings and calves and some other muscles you probably never knew you had.

Aerobic Exercises (Jian Mei Cao)
There's nothing better to get your heart pounding and your sweat pouring than trying to fight your way onto a crowded bus or subway in Beijing. But if you're looking for a good aerobic workout and don't want to risk dismemberment (zhi jie), try the stairmaster (deng jie ti). Anyone who lives above the tenth floor in a Chinese apartment building (fang zhuang xiao qu) and has gotten home after 11 p.m. knows what a great exercise walking up a thousand flights of stairs can be. Next time you get back to your building and the elevator is shut down, just look at the bright side: you're getting a great aerobic workout absolutely free! Not only that, it's also the greatest excuse to keep a date in your apartment:
"Xianzai yijing meiyou dianti le." (There are no elevators now.)
"Zenme ban?!" (What will I do?)
"Me' banfa. Kanlai ni zhihao zai zheli guoye." (What can you do? Looks like you'll just have to stay here tonight.)
If you don't like the stairmaster or you live on a low floor, try running (pao bu). You can run in the street if you're not afraid of getting hit by a car or asphyxiation. Or you can run on a treadmill (pao bu ji), just like a hamster in a squeaky exercise wheel.

Lower Body: Legs (tui) and Abs (fu bu)
Confucius says (Kongzi yue), "nothing beats a great pair of legs." Squatting (xia dun) is supposedly the most comprehensive leg exercise, but it takes a certain amount of skill to keep your feet flat on the ground when you do squats. Maybe you're better off sticking with the leg press (jue tui). If you don't have the cash to join a gym, try pulling a rickshaw (ren li che) for a good lower body workout.

Upper Body: Chest (xiong), Shoulders (jian bang), Lats & Back (bei bu), Biceps (er tou ji), Triceps (san tou ji)
Sorry, raising bai jiu glasses and beer bottles doesn't count - if it did I'd be Arnold Schwarzenegger (A nuo Shiwax"n'ge) by now. The bench press (wo tui) will work your whole upper body, and for some variation try incline (tui shang xiong) and decline (tui xia xiong) benching. Sit-ups (yangwo qizuo) will trim that tummy while push ups (fu wo cheng) are a convenient and classic exercise. Another great upper-body exercise is ditch-digging (wa gou), which will strengthen your back if it doesn't break it first. For a more "civilized" back workout, try rowing (fu wei qu shang bi") or lat pulls (yin ti xiang shang). Shoulder presses (jian tui ju) are better than carrying bamboo poles over your shoulders with buckets of rocks hanging off the ends, and for biceps and triceps, do curls (qian bi ju) and press-downs (shen qian bi), respectively.

The Comrade realizes how difficult it is to get the exercise you so desperately need, when you work all day and then are tired at night but go out drinking anyway. Stop complaining (su ku) already. Now allow me to apologize for discussing such a practical topic and being so informative. I promise that the next Comrade Language will be silly, immature and completely useless.

The comrade tips his hat to Gordon Chung and The Firm Health Club for portions of the above.

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