I totally want to produce a 10 Minute Booty Blast-Off Cardio Atomic Kickboxing Yoga-lates video

I am so over winter. I’m bored. I have cabin fever. I want to go kayaking. I want to go trail running. I want to sleep in a tent. I want to ride my bike. And I’d like to skip the upcoming mud season to get there, thank you very much.

As much as I usually like running and I like the treadmill and I like working out, this week I have been fighting some kind of internal treadmill rebellion. The very idea of running – of hurling myself forward – is exhausting, and I don’t want to do it. And lately, the rowing machine just feels like a pathetic approximation.

So, instead running or fake rowing, I’ve been doing workout videos on Netflix Watch Instantly. It’s TV! I love TV! There’s a finite time to the workouts. Bright colors! Cheesy music! Bad outfits. And hey, even if it’s not the optimal workout, I’m moving. There’s sweat. Glutes get clenched.

After making my way through several workouts on Netflix, I’ve come up with a formula for the perfect workout video.

  • Combine at least three previously popular forms of exercise to create a brand new workout. Don’t worry too much about the actual exercises. It’s really all in the name. A stray kick here and there totally qualifies as kickboxing. Similarly, all yogic arts and philosophies can be distilled into a modified lotus pose.
  • The title should promise the workout is only 10 minutes, even if, when you add in the warm up and cool down, it takes 45 minutes to complete.
  • Set the video on a beach, by a stream, at the base of a mountain, or in a funky looking studio with a weird drummer (who plays constantly, even though the music track is mysteriously light on drums).
  • By all means pan to scenery or drummer when the person leading the workout is switching moves, so viewers will have no idea what to do for the next set.
  • For added bonus, film legs while doing arm moves and vice versa. Keep viewers guessing!
  • Find the most ripped woman on the planet – one who looks like she could make He-Man say uncle in three seconds flat – and assign her the modified moves for less active viewers. People who can’t do full lunges will totally be able to identify with a woman who’s ass is made entirely of muscle.
  • The woman leading the workout should constantly promise “just one more” after every rep, no matter how many reps are actually left.
  • After a step combination so complicated that it would take Baryshnikov a few tries to learn, make sure the workout leader says, “You’re doing a great job!” while looking directly at the camera, so the viewer, who has possibly just dislocated something she didn’t even know she could dislocate, feels even more ridiculous about all the flailing she’s just done.
  • Make up ridiculous names for moves like, “Double Aardvark Metronome,” and “Power Snake.”
  • Ridiculous names for body parts are even better. Refer to arm stretches as “releasing your angel wings!” It will totally make the viewer feel like she can fly (if she ever stops gagging).
  • At least one of the extras working out in the background must have her hair in pigtails.
  • If the scenery or the drummer doesn’t provide enough interest, make sure another of the extras is wearing yoga pants cut low so low that it looks like she’ll expose her girl parts on camera if she lunges any deeper while doing the “Downward Orangutan Blitz Twistie.” Ongoing drama!
  • Bonus points if it looks like her boobs might slip out the bottom of her sports bra.
  • Everyone’s stomachs must be exposed. Even the drummer. It’s the law.
  • The cool down stretches should be the hardest and most complicated part of the workout.

Actually, if I were to make a workout video, it would probably involve a few chest presses followed by the Molly Ringwald dance from The Breakfast Club, followed by some light stretching while groaning like an old man. And instead of a drummer, we’d just listen to Boston.

Speaking of which, I may or may not have promised @dot2dott that if STAY hits the NYT Bestseller list, I’d do the Molly Ringwald dance on camera and post it here. And she may or may not have said she was going to hold me to it. This, people, is why you don’t drink and tweet.

Actually, I wasn’t even drinking. . .

Backpacking My Way Through Stars Hollow

I haven’t been graceful about accepting winter this year. Back in late October/early November, I started feeling this panic about dark, grey days, temperatures that I believe would convince sane people that this area of the country is not inhabitable, and the wonder that is lake effect snow. I felt the weight of impending cabin fever so heavily, that we broke down and bought a treadmill. It was the best damn purchase ever.

We trained the dogs how to use the treadmill, and when it’s too cold out, or the roads are too messy, they get their morning walk indoors (while I happily read and drink coffee, sitting on our big blue exercise ball next to the treadmill, cheering “good job” every five minutes or so). And I have discovered the extreme awesomeness of having a treadmill in the privacy of my own home.

I can walk barefoot. I don’t have to worry about having a cute, (or at least presentable) workout outfit. I can exercise with crazy I-just-woke-up hair. And, I can backpack.

I’ve been walking on the “mountain climber” program setting, carrying a 15 pound pack. I’m working my way through the seasons of Gilmore Girls (except I’m going to skip the last one, because everyone knows it started sucking when they ditched the original writers). And I look forward to that 45 minutes every day more than I’ve ever looked forward to any workout.

I’m planning to add a few more cans of beans to my backpack to get up to 20 pounds this week, with an overall goal of being comfortable hauling 30 pounds. And when backpacking season starts up, look out. It’s one thing to be in shape, and it’s another thing to be in backpacking shape. It’s great to run all winter, but then you put on a pack and you’re using different muscles and your stride is different, and muscles you forgot you had start telling you to f-off. I might not have a lot of time to go backpacking this year, but when I do go, I’ll be able to make the most of it. No re-acclimating to my pack. No sore ankles. No feeling like I’m going to fall over backward the first time we hit a big hill.

I know some hardcore backpackers hit the gym treadmill with their packs, but I’m really not comfortable working the crazy out in public. I prefer to maintain the crazy in the privacy of my own home. And then blog about it.