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,
Warm-Up (Zhunbei Huodong)
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
"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
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
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.