Opinion: Outside In

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Life Hacks Wanted

By David Weinstein

My column has me exploring Laguna Beach. Last week it took me to the Top of the World neighborhood and Alta Laguna Park. Towards the bottom of my drive up Park Avenue, I saw the morning walkers and joggers. As the road steepened there were a few determined cyclists who were pumping hard on their pedals to make it up the hill. When I reached the top, the Park was crowded with hikers heading out on the trails and mountain bikers strapping on their helmets and readying themselves to tackle the backcountry. I was sitting comfortably in my car listening to the radio and watching all this activity like a sea slug. I had let myself get dreadfully out of shape and it was time to do something about it.

As you might recall from past columns, I have become the list guy. I have diagnosed this as a symptom of a larger condition—procrastination. I am becoming masterful at figuring out ways to avoid commitments and obligations during this pandemic. My lack of fitness and general sloth I blame on the fact the gyms have been closed for nearly a year, or if open, seem like a place a prudent person ought to temporarily avoid. So, in my vow to get in shape, I decide I must do this at home. I could start by doing crunches, pushups, squats and thrusts, but this seems too pedestrian. I decide I need equipment. I love equipment, despite the fact my house and garage are already filled with gear from my other hobbies. I make a list and head to Dick’s Sporting Goods. Have you priced workout equipment lately? If it’s available at all, the prices seem to have doubled. So, I come up with another plan.

I go on YouTube and look for home workout equipment “hacks”. (The definition for “hack” being a simple alternative solution, sometimes inelegant but effective, in accomplishing a familiar task.) Did you know that you can make a passable substitute for a barbell set from a mop handle and those large water bottles with carrying straps, and who knew that in a pinch an antifreeze container with an integral handle was a suitable replacement to work out your latissimus dorsi? The things you can do with a laundry basket full of clothes are simply unbelievable, and unopened soup cans and jars filled with spaghetti sauce can double as dumbbells! I am encouraged by all this and believe I can buy most of my workout equipment from Costco for the price of a dinner at home for four.

I am so excited that I share this news with my wife Ann. She doesn’t seem as enthusiastic as me, but while I am putting together my shopping list, she starts her own list for my home workout plan. When we are done, we compare notes. Her’s looks remarkably like instructions one might give to a cleaning person, but it includes some meal preparation, too. And then she smiles and says, “It’s about time you started pulling your weight around here.”

I decide to re-think my plan. Maybe I’ll buy an electric bike.

David Weinstein lives in Newport Beach with his wife Ann who continues to try to coerce him into selling off some of the gear from his hobbies so she can fit her car into the garage.

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