Buy Photo

Felix Adamo / The Californian

Heather Ijames

I had postponed working out last week until I found myself on a Sunday needing to squeeze in one last workout before Monday. In preparation for this dreaded workout, I procrastinated by hopping on Facebook. There, I found an advert for a "revolutionary" four-minute workout that will "blast your fat."

I knew everything in the advert was a complete lie, but it was either click the link or go to the gym and run for an hour, so naturally, I clicked the link.

The workouts were longer than four minutes, but 10 or 12 minutes was still acceptable and by now, I'd already wasted an hour at home and wasn't going to make it to the gym anyway. I did one 10-minute workout and one 12-minute workout, thinking that the spray-tanned exercise carnie on the screen had better make my time worth it. Otherwise, my procrastination would be predictably worthless. With all the lunges, squats and push-ups shoved into those 22 minutes, I sure hoped there was some calorie burning to the program.

The next day I woke up with sore muscles, but nothing too bad. It wasn't until I spent the first three hours of the day sitting in front of my computer at the office, and then tried to get up, that I realized I had entered the first gate of hell. My quads were on fire. It continued to intensify throughout the day to the point where I was hesitant to use the restroom for fear I wouldn't be able to get back up. A friend suggested that I had better get back on that proverbial horse and work out again, or the pain would worsen.

Instead of doing that 22-minute program again, I went to the gym and ran three miles, hoping that would ease my muscles into submission. But, one of my knees was killing me from all the blasted lunges, which made running impossible. That's when I remembered a new running position I'd heard about called chi running. It's supposed to be a pain-free solution to running. The premise is you run like a child, chest slightly leaning forward and your feet catch up with your "enthusiasm" to move forward.

Admittedly, this chi stuff worked right away. The only problem -- if I can call it a problem -- is that while slightly leaning forward, I had to run a lot faster to keep up with the momentum created by my posture, lest I otherwise fall on my face and be spit out by the treadmill. And, sprinting like I was being chased by a bear, so I wouldn't tumble over like a buffoon, to overcome the agony of 22 minutes of lunges, only made my muscle hurt more. As in kill-me-now more.

This new, slow death of my legs occurred at the same time my arms and pectoral muscles started to ache from all the pushups I had also done in the video. When not lunging and hearing my knees creak like an old wooden ship, I was kissing the floor in push-up position, getting more acquainted with the fact that it was time to shampoo the rugs again than worrying about proper form. Apparently, I still pushed up enough because I noticed I had a teardrop shaped bruise near my left shoulder, which confirmed that my muscles had been crying. Crying blood, of course.

My hands and wrists also felt sluggish from the endeavor, and this resulted in me dropping almost everything I held.

As I watched items drop to the floor, over and over again, I realized I had arrived at the second gate of hell. How was I going to pick anything up? I couldn't bend my legs because if I did, surely they'd rip in half. And even if I picked something back up, my hands and arms weren't strong enough to keep hold.

This is when I dropped my car keys in the middle of the school parking lot. I looked down at them on the asphalt. My son then looked at them. Even the lady in the white suburban who was about to run us all down was looking at the lonely keys on the ground.

I said to my youngest, who's closer to the ground anyway, "You're going to have to pick those up for mommy, buddy."

He did, and added, "Mom, I think this is why old people shouldn't work out."

Touche, kid, touche.

On the bright side, I've decided that for all major discipline infractions in our household, the boys get to do one of the 10-minute workouts I purchased rather than a timeout. That'll teach them. They'll also be ripped by the time they hit junior high. It's a win-win, right?

-- Heather Ijames is a community columnist whose work appears here every third Thursday. These are the opinions of Ijames, not necessarily The Californian. Send email to her at