Love Handles: Chapter Two


By Bob Merrick is proud to present the wacky and wild (and absolutely true'although some names have been changed to protect the guilty) adventures of a 30-year-old guy in Hollywood who just wants to lose a few (dozen) pounds. And find eternal happiness and fulfillment. Is that too much to ask?

Part Two: Let's Get Physical

Bette Midler once quipped how ridiculous it was that she found herself taking Jazzercise classes'to the strains of Olivia Newton-John, no less. Bette would sing, '''Let's get physical, physical, let me hear your body talk'' My body said, 'Fuck You!''' It used to make me laugh, until just the other day, when I swear my body shouted that same exact sentiment.

The good news is that I have lost 13 pounds in my first two weeks. On Brittany Murphy, that would mean her head and right arm had been lopped off. Sadly for me it is the equivalent of losing a toe, and I am not even sure it would be my big one. (I'm now at 282 lbs.)

Last week, I decided to go to the Bally's near my house in Hollywood with a new, more positive outlook. I found a bank of treadmills and chose one in the back, so that no one would be able to watch me jiggle from behind. For my motivation, I chose a treadmill behind a guy who obviously had a much different relationship with the gym. His broad shoulders stretched out, exposed beneath his tank top, while his waist came down to a small V, like an arrow pointing out how firm and round his buttocks were. He was just the kind of carrot I needed dangling in front of me to help me forget how miserable I was.

My friend Rand, an aspiring actor and personal trainer to celebrities like Lance Bass, had suggested I walk on the treadmill with an incline of 10 for 30 minutes followed by another 30 minutes on a stationary bike. Not to worry about weight training, but just cardio to increase my heart rate so that I would burn more calories and fat. I think this is something I should have worked up to. This was, after all, only my second workout in six months. I needed windshield wipers on my eyes to see the carrot in front of me'the sweat was pouring into them like the recent rains in Southern California. But I figured I should stick with it, as anyone that can make Lance Bass look good in a space suit must know what he is talking about.

I finished my half-hour on the bike and was able to drive myself home without the aid of an ambulance. I decided that maybe the gym wasn't my best option for my physical fitness commitment. All of the books I have read say that you should find an exercise that you love so that you actually enjoy doing it. That was certainly the theory I had subscribed to with my gin martinis.

About a year and a half ago, a group of my girlfriends became obsessed with an Israeli fighting class called Krav Maga after seeing the Jennifer Lopez movie Enough. They have been trying to get me to go ever since, each bragging about how they can now kill someone who attacks them, and they no longer fear walking in an empty parking lot. After complaining about my dread of the gym, my beautiful friend Paddy, an estate manager for a famous Hollywood producer and easily one of my most responsible friends, suggested I join her for a 'different kind of workout.'

Krav Maga, from what I can tell, is Hebrew for 'look at me the wrong way and I will kick your ass.' It should be noted that when I arrived there, I had never been more afraid of an exercise class in my entire life. Fear of the unknown, coupled with the knowledge of how out of shape I am, led me to believe a heart attack was imminent.