The Ottumwa Courier

March 20, 2013

Insane enough to do our workout?

MATT BRINDLEY
Ottumwa Courier

OTTUMWA — It’s insane! When you can’t sleep and you’re just flipping around the channels, there’s really nothing on in the middle of the night, except ... fitness infomercials.

I don’t know what it is, but something in our hazy brain at night just doesn’t quite reason the same.

Has this happened to you? Every infomercial starts to look like the greatest product ever! After a few years, you find this late-night equipment you bought makes a good coat rack.

After your second trip to the kitchen, you’re leaning back in a chair, you’ve got your feet up on the counter, clicking the remote in one hand and eating Flaming Red Hot Cheetos with the other. After you start cursing your “orange fingers,” you stop on an infomercial called “INSANITY.”

It’s a DVD set where you see all of these testimonials of people, with their before-and-after pics, telling you about the “most insane 60-day workout ever put on tape!” Then they show people in their living rooms jumping up and down like their crazy doing “insane” workouts!

This is it, you tell yourself. This is going to change my life.

Besides, it’s only three easy payments of $39.95. And you get a free cheap $4 T-shirt that says “Insane” on it ... which looks nice when you’re at the bank. But you have to earn the T-shirt, don’t you see! You don’t just get it — it’s a badge of courage! You have to be “Insane” to get this T-shirt.

Then the testimonials tell you they’ve lost 78 pounds in two months and look like a sculpted Greek god. I mean it’s insane! Did I mention the T-shirt?

INSANITY is the new crazy workout that puts the previous DVD workouts to shame because they obviously weren’t berserk enough. Those other workouts were so 2012 and some were so 2011. Wimpy. Not crazy at all in comparison.

I decided to broach the subject with my co-worker Tracy on these evolving infomercial workouts that keep upping the ante on how intensely nuts they are. I asked Tracy, “You do a workout program, what was that called?”

“TurboFire,” she replied. My head snapped back and I about fell out of my chair, which isn’t hard (you haven’t seen my chair).

“TurboFire! Are you serious?” I asked.

She explained she’d been on it for about three weeks and that it’s much tougher than her last workout program, “Turbo Jam.” Tracy said “TurboFire is like Turbo Jam on steroids! It’s much harder.”

“That’s what their slogan is?” I asked. “It’s like Turbo Jam on steroids?”

No, Tracy responded, “That’s what I say it’s like.” She says it really works. I’m not going to argue — that’s an argument I would lose.

So I was trying to brainstorm what other “crazy-name” infomercial workout programs were out there because they just keep getting crazier. She named off several: Boot Camp, Zumba, Brazilian Butt Lift (that is a real name), Combat, Body Beast and P90X.

In P90X, they keep doing the “X” sign like it’s some kind of gang symbol. Now go to the bank with your “Insane” T-shirt on and start doing your P90X “X” sign. They’re going to think you’re a mental patient. The bank guard might undo the flap on his holster. But  you’ll be in shape.

INSANITY isn’t even the next big thing now. They’ve already come out with INSANITY: THE ASYLUM, volumes I and II. You see, INSANITY’s not zany enough anymore. It’s for sissies.

But, these infomercial workout programs are really making some insane money. P90X as of August 2012, had grossed approximately $500 million in sales! So this is kind of what I’m shootin’ for. One fitness DVD ... goodbye!

You know, Ottumwa could use $500 million. Maybe we should stop fighting it and join the club.

I know a lot of the health-conscious Ottumwans were in the dumps after their efforts were turned down for the state’s Blue-Zones health initiative project.

Who has more potential than us to show percentage growth in improved health or weight loss? If Gov. Branstad wanted to brag to other states about improvement, he could just point to Ottumwa.

Everyone’s already at their ideal weight in some of these “Blue Zones” towns. How much can they improve? Lose 15 pounds in a year? Big deal. We can all do that in a weekend! Gain it or lose it.

Talk about massive potential for improvement! We don’t even know what soy is in Ottumwa. The state missed the health boat on this opportunity.

I think we can achieve our goals without the state’s Blue Zones initiative. We could just create the next “INSANITY” infomercial and make millions. Those millions could be used to fix our budget problems, fix our potholes ... the things we could do with that money are truly insane!

We need a crazy name that takes it up a notch on INSANITY and makes it sound like yesterday’s coward workout.

I’m thinking of “Lunatic Fringe.” We come up with a $4 T-shirt that says “Lunatic Fringe” on it. Something no one would wear to the bank. That’s the test. We’ll charge them $20, and they have to earn it!

We’ll hire some local fitness trainers to bark instructions into the camera. They and their fitness classes will all drink Five Hour Energy and then jump up and down while flailing their arms and screaming like a bunch of lunatics.  We’ll speed up the recording so it looks faster. Maybe add some New Wave techno music.

They’ll do 100 lunges, hop up and down like frogs and then they can take their coats off. That’s just to work up a sweat! Then they’ll swim a 100 meters completely under water and afterward pull a John Deere tractor in neutral while tied to a rope. At the end, they can cool down with the O-Town Polar Bear River Plunge.

We’ll hire some infomercial experts to film it. I can write the testimonials and people from the our fitness centers can read them. I’ll Photoshop the before and after pics. We’ll have a signal like the P90X’s “X” — something like an “L” and an “F” for “Lunatic Fringe.”

Of course we’ll have that  30-day refund that no one in the history of earth has ever taken. They’ll be so confused by our mailed package, it’ll take them 30 days to even get started.

We could balance out our millions in banks across the city, and they won’t freak out when someone walks in with a “Lunatic Fringe” shirt and flashes their sign. This is something to think about!

We want a workout program that’s so crazy, your heart will explode in less than six minutes. A lunatic would buy this. Now flash the Lunatic Fringe sign!

m.brindley@ottumwacourier.com