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Women ramping up to take over

April 24, 2003|by TIM ROWLAND

Occasionally, when I'm walking into the South Pointe Fitness Center to buy a can of Joe Wieder Muscle Building High Calorie Yak Bone Marrow and Cartilage Extract, I'll notice a step-aerobics atrocity being committed in the adjoining room.

I cup my hands to the plate glass window and peer in, before scurrying off like a frightened mouse from a starving cat.

Every so often I'll notice a guy - obviously much more secure in his manhood than me - taking the class, but usually it's an all-female enterprise.

To be frank, aerobics scare the extract out of me.

I think it's the militaristic regimentality of it all. I mean, maybe this is "exercise," and then again maybe it ain't. I picture millions of women in thousands of fitness centers across the nation all engaged in this pursuit every evening and I can't shake the feeling that maybe these females are in training to take over the world.

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One evening I saw they all had their hands on long, rifle-shaped implements, shoving them in and out from their chests like I'd seen the Hezbollah do the night before on "60 Minutes."

I ran into the lobby screaming "They've got guns!" only to be looked at squarely by the attendant and told "Those are barbells."

That didn't make me feel any better. The women all looked too - well, too purposeful.

There are a lot of guys in the gym, too, but our approach is much less sinister. We walk in, spend three hours working exclusively on biceps, and walk out. (And if there were no such thing as sleeveless T-shirts, we wouldn't even do that). If Oneida ever comes out with a line of 120-pound forks we will be well-prepared, but other than that, our regimens pose little overt threat to anyone.

I bring all this to your attention, because I notice the females are gearing up for Phase II. Please notice an article in The Herald-Mail's Lifestyle section this week titled "Ramping offers a new slant on the old cardio workout."

The lede explains: "More than a decade after she helped push step to the forefront of group exercise programs, Gin Miller, the mother of step aerobics, has developed a new format she hopes will gain as staunch a following."

Instead of a step, this involves a half-moon shaped ramp, meaning that women will basically be doing the same thing they're doing now, except on a slant.

Now, I would like to think that "Gin," if that is her real name, having milked the step scheme for all that it's worth, is simply looking for a new revenue stream.

I would like to think that all she has in mind are the profits from a whole new batch of video sales and how-to manuals. I would like to think that all she wants is a cut off of the zillions of plastic ramps that will be sold to replace plastic steps in homes and gyms across the country.

You can think that if you want, but I would suggest that you are being highly naive. Just think about it. Since when has anyone involved in the weight-loss and fitness craze ever done anything for money?

All this "ramp" business points to one thing only: The women plan to open their attack on a slope. I say, watch out Denver!

It may already be too late, but gentlemen, let us not go down without a fight! It's time we began our own cardiovascular/paramilitary workouts. Hit the bikes! Hit the ellipticals! Hit the treadmills! Hit the - What? Oh, yes, of course, sorry. They're the big black machines in the front, usually have like a conveyor belt or a couple of pedals. Can't miss them.

You may even want to infiltrate an aerobics class yourself. See if they don't refer to the instructor as "generalissimo."

This is critical, because can you imagine being ruled by a race of superwomen? Can you imagine being controlled by a race of women with high chests and tight stomachs? Can you imagine being dominated by a race of women with firm glutes and shapely legs and long, slender arms and ... and ... Come to think of it, never mind.

Gin? Knock yourself out.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist.

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