Tuesday, 26 June 2007

Making the most of train travel

After a long day at work mostly sitting on my posterior, the last thing I want for the journey home is more sitting on my bum. I had a few idle moments on the way home today, and without a book to distract me, I found plenty time to study the possibilities for a bit of post work exercise presented by the interior design of the South West Trains service to Portsmouth Harbour. So, without further ado, I present to you:

Dr But Why's New Guide to Training

1: Stand, don't sit. This is a basic exercise for beginners and develops the balance skills required for some of the more advanced exercises.

2: Chin-ups. Use the parcel shelves as a handy chin-up bar. This is best accomplished if you position yourself between rows of seats which face each other, which provide plenty room to stand in between sets.

3: Dips. Use empty seats for support. Great for the triceps.

4: If you feel the need for additional bicep burn, use the poles in the vestibule area as a handy prop for a "work to failure" exercise*. Hold the pole with one hand. Stand with your feet close to the pole. Slowly lean away from the pole until the arm connecting your shoulder to the pole is at about 90 degrees. Stay like that for as long as it takes. (In the interests of public comfort, you should probably give up before the pain causes a torrent of obscenities to emerge from your mouth.) Repeat with the other arm.

5: Sit ups. Ignore the rule about not putting your feet on the seats. Do it anyway and tell the guard who tries to admonish you that it's only the backs of your heels on the seat, and not the sole of your shoe. If they really give you grief, remove your shoes before doing this**.

6: Press-ups. Easy. Stick to the vestibule area and you shouldn't be bothered by too many people. Remember to do sets only whilst the train is in motion as doing these when approaching a station can cause injury.

7: Don't forgot to stretch afterwards. The vestibule areas (which I believe were called "corridors" in years gone by) provide useful floorspace for various stretching postures.

8: (Advanced practitioners only) Martial arts. Well, in fact, any form of self-defence is a good idea against those people who've come to take you away.

So there you have it. The next time you're bored on a train and wondering why you never get any time to exercise, dig out this handy guide to a healthier lifestyle.

*I used to derive an unseemly pleasure from these sorts of things in my former life as a rower (that's "rower", pronounced "masochist").

** Only if you have pleasantly perfumed pods. I once cleared an entire carriage by removing my shoes. I was 19, in Zimbabwe and one of the worst sorts of unwashed backpackers you could hope to encounter. I also hadn't removed my boots in over three days, and my socks had been through the magic, dry, detergent-free washing machine that is rucksack storage a few too many times. I rapidly redeveloped normal personal hygiene practises on my return to the UK.


Pixie said...

But, you are a treasure!!! you are just so funny.
next time i get upset i'm going to contact you to cheer me up.

Surely the poles would be good for a bit of lap dancing on as well as those stetches?

KindaBlue said...

Another remarkably good reason for not sitting on an SWT heading to or from Waterloo is that it minimises the chances of any portly, besuited, middle-aged commuter from sitting on ones coat tails, thus rendering one unable to move at all until he alights at Surbiton (or, more likely, Farnborough).

Such are the perils of life down south...

But Why? said...


Thanks for your sweet words, and please feel welcome to contact me for on-demand humour. You may find that unless I'd had a particularly frustration day I may be lacking in inspiration, but I'll do my best to raise a smile.

The poles would be perfect for a spot of exotic dancing, were it not for the fact that SWT appear to have thought about this eventuality and attached a pane of glass to them, presumably to prevent wannabe pole dancers from making a bit of cash on the journey. Lap dancing may still be on, but I think you would be limited to performing in first class, as the legroom provided in cattle class would be insufficient to allow a full range of movement. x


Careful what you say about us besuited and middle-aged commuters, it's something I'm rapidly becoming. I do hope, however, that with my new training plan, I can prevent myself from becoming too portly. I shall let you know how I go on.

But x

Anonymous said...

Buttock clenches?

Gary said...

In 2003 I discovered that it is not possible to wear a pair of canvas shoes for two weeks in france during their hottest heatwave ever recorded.

Even putting them outside the apartment at night did not help, we could still smell them.

Eventually I threw them over the rail of the ferry just before we landed back in Plymouth, they now reside somewhere in the Atlantic and have probably diverted the gulf stream - I drove home barefoot.

It was my wifes fault, she did not pack any shoes for me and the idea that I could have easily bought some in france did not cross my mind until earlier this year.

But Why? said...


Three or so years after the event, what on earth made you think "Oh, I could have bought a new pair of shoes when we were in France - that would have solved the problem..."

I often find solutions to problems after the point at which they would have been helpful, but to the best of my knowledge, never three plus years later!

Rodrigo said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.

But Why? said...


I love BabelFish:

Oi, I found yours blog for google tá well interesting I liked this post. When to give gives passed for mine blog, is on personalized t-shirts, shows step by step as to create a well personalized t-shirt way. Until more.

Well, thankyou. However, I'm unconvinced the world is ready for personalised t-shirts of the Laws of Mugs, World Naked Bike Ride, or the South West Trains Service to Portsmouth Harbour. But I'll think about it. Bye for now...

KindaBlue said...

Who knows? You could generate a fan base in Brasil!

Anna MR said...

Actually, But, those t-shirts sound just the sort of stuff I would like to be seen in. Let me know when you are in business.


A xx

But Why? said...

Thanks Anna,

If it ever happens (and I think becoming a t-shirt entrepreneur is probably as good a way as any to earn a crust or two), I'll be sure to advertise prominently!

But x

Anonymous said...

your socks sound sexy, mmm, have you ever heard of pink socking?