Turbo time brings laughter, lessons learned

Published 9:46 am Friday, February 6, 2015

Things I Tell My Wife by Matt Knutson

“It’s turbo time,” I said to Sera, wishing I was talking about filing taxes. We were about to do something much more unpleasant than filing taxes. We were about to exercise.

I fully support eating healthy and exercising, but man is it hard sometimes. My wife recently brought home some Turbo Jam DVDs from our public library and decided I should watch them with her. They’re in the same vein as Jane Fonda workout videos I imagine my mom used to do, if that gives you any clue as to what Sera and I are attempting to do.

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Yes, when Sera brought home three DVDs of Turbo Jam, she also asked that I do them with her. Our last two joint-exercise attempts have proven hilarious, so I assumed this would be as well.

Months ago I ran a 5K and Sera followed along behind me on a casual bike ride. I’ve since referenced that event as the time I beat my wife in a 5K run while she rode a bike, to which she rolls her eyes. The fact remains that I was the first one home, therefore I clearly won. It’s not the runner’s fault when the bike rider make a choice to not ride to her full potential. We haven’t gone on a joint 5k run/bike ride since.

The other recent memory of us exercising together involved us sitting on the living room floor watching yoga videos on YouTube. All I recall from this experience is laughing until tears streamed down our faces. We’ll file that experience under “Tried It — Wasn’t Our Thing.”

What happened when we first did Turbo Jam? I’ll admit I felt like we’d be laughing too much for it to count as anything other than a brief ab workout, but I was wrong. We made it through the entire 30 minute session, and we’re doing it again. I wouldn’t call it a success, but it was far from a failure. I even learned a few things about myself and exercising in the process.

1. I’m way less coordinated than I remember. Granted, I’ve never been the most athletic guy, but I didn’t realize how large the gap was between what my eyes are seeing on the television compared to what my brain is telling my arms and legs to do. Charlene is on the screen punching and kicking in all directions, and just when I think I’ve got it down, she throws in some weird spin move and I’m flailing like a fish out of water. Sera was much better at following Charlene’s example; my wife clearly demonstrated that I was the one floundering and it wasn’t the DVD’s instructions that were inadequate.

2. It takes guts to take an exercise class at the gym. As Sera and I were following a fitness DVD in the privacy of our own home, I couldn’t help but think somewhere nearby there was a gym full of people actually doing something similar in front of others. These people weren’t embarrassed by their missteps, or if they were, they weren’t embarrassed enough to let it keep them from the gym. I give those people a lot of credit for putting themselves out there. Lots of gyms are very friendly and welcoming, but I know for a fact there’d be plenty of people hiding their grins if they saw me attempting to do coordinated kick spins. Until we watch the DVD a few more times, we’ll continue to keep the blinds closed when it’s turbo time.

3. The space you exercise in is important. We chose the living room because it has the DVD player and television, but that might not have been the smartest place. Our townhouse has a small living room with a large table, meaning there’s not a lot of room for mobility. If Sera and I weren’t coordinating our directions, I’d often come close to kicking and/or hitting her simply by following the DVD’s instructions. I don’t think that’s what Charlene had in mind. When I wasn’t guiding my arms and legs in the opposite direction of my wife, I was being circled by our dog, Beesly. All she ever wants is to be our best friend, so we should have foreseen that she’d want to be involved in Turbo Jam as well. Maybe one of the unwatched Turbo Jam DVDs has pet exercise tips so she’ll be preoccupied. Until then, we’ll be throwing treats her way.

Turbo time may not be the most manly thing I’ve ever done, and it may not be the most fun way for me to exercise, but is it most certainly is an easy way to get ample amounts of laughter in 30 minute increments with my wife. We’re bound to be healthier by the time the DVDs are due back at the library, and hopefully by then we’ll be in shape for another joint 5K run/bike race that I can dominate.


Rochester resident Matt Knutson is the communications and events director for United Way of Olmsted County.