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WHILE I was working at a fitness club, a co-worker was showing a new member around. Turning to the trainer the woman said, "I don't feel comfortable here. I feel fat, ugly and not properly dressed. Everyone seems to be thin, beautiful and wearing the nicest aerobic outfits." In an attempt to make the unhappy woman feel at home, the fitness trainer replied, "You shouldn't feel that way. Not everyone here is the way you describe. Look at the fat man riding the bicycle over there. He's not well dressed." The woman stared at the trainer and said, "That's my husband."

I WAS talking to a new acquaintance at a dinner party, and the conversation got around to unemployment. "You know, it's really sad," she said, "when so many people are out of work, and here I am living off the fat of the land." "How do you manage that?" I asked. She lowered her voice to a confidential whisper and replied, "I'm an aerobics instructor."

OUR waistlines were getting larger, so a group of us sedentary executives started a lunch hour workout session. We called ourselves "Middle Management."

MY HUSBAND, an exercise enthusiast who spends an hour and a half at an athletic club every morning before work, encouraged a middle-aged - and quite overweight - friend to join him for his morning sessions. The co-worker decided not to tell his wife about his new project until after he had shed some weight, and he faithfully began meeting my husband at 6 a.m. every day. At the end of the first week, the friend's wife of many years rolled over in bed and offered this parting advice: "I don't know where you're going, dear, or what you're doing. But just remember: You aren't used to it."

EVERY morning my father, an early riser who enjoyed keeping in shape, sprinted the four blocks from our house to the bus stop, carrying his briefcase. One evening at a social function in the neighbourhood, he overheard one man telling another, "There's a fella living up the block who has to run like a madman for the bus every morning - he'd save himself a lot of trouble if he only had the good sense to get out of bed five minutes earlier."

A FRIEND wanted me to enroll in an aerobics class. "No. Absolutely not!" I exclaimed. "I tried that once."  "What happened?" she asked, looking puzzled.  "I twisted, hopped, jumped, stretched and pulled," I replied. "And by the time I got those darn leotards on, the class was over!"

WHEN Francis hit his late 40s, he started jogging. A few weeks later the familiar figure was no longer going past our house. "Have you stopped running?" I asked him.  "The first week I ran one block and walked one block," Francis began. "The next week I ran two blocks and walked a block. The third week I ran three blocks and walked two blocks.  "The fourth week," Francis concluded, "the math got so darned hard that I just gave it up."

CAUGHT up in the fitness craze, I joined a club that offered a reasonably priced membership. Although I never went, a year later I hurried back to renew. "Do you guys have a name for people like me who join and never show up?"   I jokingly asked the well-muscled man behind the counter.  "Sure," he responded with a grin. "Profit."

CONCERNED about fitness in my middle 40s, I enrolled in an aerobics class. To my dismay I walked into a room filled with much younger women and decided to combat my nervousness with humour. "I'm here to do my postnatal exercises," I told the instructor.  She gave me an appraising look. "How old is your baby?"  "Twenty-six," I replied with a laugh.

MY WIFE and I are avid joggers but seldom run together because our speeds are different. One day she started out before I did. Three kilometers later, I overtook her and said in my best Humphrey Bogart voice, "Where you going, sweetheart?"  Without missing a stride, she replied, "Your pace or mine?"

WAITING for our aerobics class to begin, several of us were standing around chatting about fitness and diets. One woman said that her brother-in-law had quit smoking, gone on a diet and lost weight - all at the same time.  Thinking to myself that no human being could possibly do this without acquiring at least one other undesirable habit for compensation, I jokingly asked her, "What did he start doing instead of these things?"  After a slight pause, she smiled and said, "Well, my sister is pregnant now."

I'VE been a serious jogger for about a year, and as I was warming up for a race I saw a man doing a stretching exercise.  He was sitting in his parked car with one leg inside and his other foot on the ground outside the car.  I watched as he bent his head down until it almost touched the ground.  I walked over to my car and try the same thing.  As I bent downward, I could feel new muscles stretching and complimented myself on this discovery. Then I heard the man yell to his wife, "Hey, Honey, I found the keys!  They were under the car after all."

JOGGING for the first time in my new neighborhood, I saw another solitary figure running toward me. "Nice day, isn't it?" I called out. We passed before he could reply.  The next day I set out again, and saw the same runner heading toward me.  As we quickly passed, he shouted back, "It sure is!"

THE day after my husband participated in an Iron man Triathlon - a 2.4-mile swim, 112 miles of biking and a 26.2-mile run - we stopped at a picnic site for lunch on our way home. Getting out of the car, Pete dropped the keys on the road.   As he slowly, carefully, painfully leaned down to pick them up, a passerby said, "Looks like you could use a little exercise."

MY FRIEND Bill and his secretary were jogging from their office building to the parking lot. As they ran, one would challenge the other, passing and running ahead; then the other would do the same. Nearing the lot, Bill sped ahead, running at full tilt, his secretary in hot pursuit.  They passed a security guard.   Smiling, he remarked, "Now there's a Switch!"

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Last updated May 19, 2008 by Becquet's Custom Programming