Sunday, June 22, 2014

DDP Yoga: A Fat Review For The Fat

I chose this as my leading image because how could I not.

This is not a real review. This is more like a cry for help.

I just finished Day 3 of DDP Yoga, which is the first day that includes a real, honest-to-God workout. I am typing this through a haze of sweat and nausea.

The workout I just finished is called ENERGY!, and I find it terribly cruel that the workout named itself after the thing it took from me. It would be like me kidnapping your son Ferdinand and then being like, "Hi, I'm Ferdinand."

If you're not familiar with DDP Yoga, that's because you've never been on YouTube. Or perhaps you just haven't made the connection between the famous disabled vet video and the workout that un-disabled him.

Arthur Boorman is an Internet-famous retired paratrooper who used to weigh 140 pounds more than he does now. He was a disabled vet who couldn't walk without canes, and now he sprints around the country being all yoga in people's faces, and helping DDP sell his program.

Arthur before, looking pissed at life.

DDP, by the way, stands for Diamond Dallas Page. That's right: he's a professional wrestler.

At first, my husband and I were making fun of DDP for his silliness as we went through the intro video a couple times. But after I graduated from learning the basic moves to doing an actual workout, I stopped laughing. Because you owe some respect - nay, some allegiance - to the man who invented the thing that is killing you.

DDP is weird, yo. I've been doing workout videos since Legs of Steel 2000 on VHS, and I've never done anything quite like it. Keep in mind there are several workouts in the program and I've only done the Diamond Dozen and ENERGY!, but so far it's kind of like doing an easy power yoga sequence, except it's made harder by the concept of Dynamic Resistance.

Dynamic Resistance is basically the idea of pushing against your own body weight and keeping constant tension in your muscles. Think of it as your muscles being dicks to themselves. You basically just tense everything until you lose all hope.

For a while I was confused as to why they didn't crop the other people out of the photo on the left. Then I realized: she looks even huger compared to those regular human-sized humans, making her shiny-coated transformation (right) all the more impressive. (Dear Stacey, lose the shiny coat. Xo.)

Diamond Dallas Page says he invented this program after injuring his spine and being forced to do sissy exercises instead of pumping iron and doing shups* and lups** at the gym like a true bro. He swears yoga repaired his seriously messed-up body, and that now, at age 55 and ripped all to hell, he doesn't do any other exercise but the sweet-ass program that bears his name.

Ridiculous-looking pro wrestler Chris Jericho also credits DDP Yoga with keeping him jacked sans lifting.

I'll admit Arthur Boorman's tear-jerking transformation video is what piqued my interest in the program, but what sealed the deal is this excellent video comparison - created by an unbiased reviewer - pitting DDP Yoga against the supposed gold standard in home fitness programs, P90X.

The video shows how you get comparable results in a fraction of the time with DDP Yoga. And most importantly, you do not have to be a dadgum American Gladiator to start the program. DDP Yoga is totally non-impact, which is how even a guy who couldn't walk was able to do it.

Arthur after. Holy shit.

The ENERGY! workout is 21 minutes long. You don't have time to get bored. There is barely enough time to bargain with Satan to make it stop, and then it's over.

There are several "packs" to choose from when buying. I picked something in the middle. It would have cost me an $80 one-time payment, but I chose three monthly payments of $30 each.

The program is 13 weeks long, or 91 days. I started with the Beginner's program, but the booklet also includes schedules for Intermediate and Advanced. There is a possibility that I will switch over to Intermediate before the 91 days is up. Or I may just do the entire thirteen week beginner's program and then move on to Intermediate and then Advanced. There is a lot of flexibility, which is nice.



The workouts are deceptively simple, and you really get out what you put in. If you're being lazy and not using Dynamic Resistance when you move, it will feel a little too easy. It's up to you ramp it up. But when you do, boy howdy.

One day, when I, too, look like a crunchy snack for my former self, maybe I will share the ridiculous Before photos I'm supposed to take of my gelatinous form doing DDP Yoga poses, alongside the majestic After photos of me bending into impossible shapes and holding my foot aloft over my head like a trophy.

*douche for "push-ups"
**douche for "pull-ups"



UPDATE: I just finished Day 1 of Week 3 and I'm a little amazed at how much progress I've made already. I've only done my seventh DDP Yoga session, and it's remarkable how much easier it's gotten in such a short time. I can now actually do the slow burn pushup, without even having to be on my knees for the plank part.

I look forward to doing this instead of finding excuses to skip it.

Combined with strict adherence to low-carbitude, DDP Yoga is already beginning to show me results. I'm starting to see my abdominal muscles again. My flexibility has improved, and my booty looks higher and firmer. (I was passing a full-length mirror the other day and did a double-take at my own ass.)

I'm gonna go ahead and tentatively recommend DDP Yoga.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

A Refusal To Mourn



You're not supposed to speak ill of the dead. But I'm bad at rules. And anyway it's been five days. I think that's plenty of time to wait before blogging my refusal to mourn the death by natural causes of a poet in North Carolina.

My reasons? They are many. First, and least: she was a mediocre poet on a good day. I'll let Colleen O'Beirne at The Overrated Times say it for me, since she said it so well:

The bottom line on Maya Angelou is that she’s symptomatic of what’s wrong with modern poetry in general. It’s controlled by an overly cerebral, politically correct academic establishment. It serves as a meta-comment on what poetry is supposed to be, rather than standing on its own as an art form.

Maya Angelou got famous because she was in the right place (California) at the right time (the late '60s) and was the right sort of person (a weird black woman who wrote weird prose about her weird life.)

Here's Thomas Lifson at The American Thinker:

There is an important phenomenon in cultural life that the hard left has exploited for many decades. Most people cannot really tell what good poetry, or painting, or serious theatre (or artsy film, for that matter) is, but they fear looking stupid if they fail to appreciate what others say is good. So, an “artist” in these semi-esoteric fields who is helped along by a claque of politically sympathetic cheerleaders in academia or journalism can become “widely acclaimed” and, if he or she plays the part well (as Angelou did), even “beloved.”

Angelou was a professor-for-life of American Studies at Winston-Salem University, and boasted several visiting professorships at other universities. She preferred being referred to as "Doctor," and while she certainly lived a varied and interesting life, she didn't have an advanced degree of any kind - not so much as a B.A.

Her resume included prostitute, madam, cabaret dancer, and later, composer, actress, and world-famous writer. Some of those are impressive. But do they - should they - qualify one for a professorship and an honorific? Ms. Angelou reportedly taught whatever subject struck her fancy, including theology and science.

"The solar system - IS - like a woman - WHO..."

This is, of course, when she was teaching at all. Thus goes Daniel J. Flynn's eloquent piece in The American Spectator:

The doctor without a doctorate became a teacher without students at Wake Forest. “She collects an annual salary well into the six figures, yet presently teaches no classes and has no campus office,” John Meroney, then a senior at the North Carolina school, wrote in The American Spectator twenty-one years ago. “The office listed for her in the Wake Forest telephone directory is a storage closet in a building far from the main part of campus.”

Remember, kids: America is super unfair, and the only way to make it more fair is to be unfair in what you perceive to be the opposite direction.

Maya Angelou believed America was an unjust and inherently racist colonial experiment in oppression. She said this of Obama's detractors not long after he was re-elected:

I tell you we are going to see some nastiness, some vulgarity, I think. They'll pull the sheets off.

Did you catch that? If you are an Obama critic, you are secretly as racist as a Klansman. "Nastiness," Dr. Angelou? What's that like?

She praised Louis Farrakhan and Mumia Abu-Jamal, not to mention Castro and Kruschev. Her first published article appeared in Cuba's Revolucion. She celebrated the murderous Castro in part because he wasn't white.

Said the doc:
Of course, Castro never had called himself white, so he was O.K. from the git. Anyhow, America hated Russians, and as black people often said, ‘Wasn’t no Communist country that put my grandpappa in slavery. Wasn’t no Communist lynched my poppa or raped my mamma.’

This shrugging opportunism is nauseating. In other words: it doesn't matter who Communists are oppressing, imprisoning, and murdering, as long as it's not me and mine. How is that justice, social or otherwise?

Or was she utterly ignorant? Did she really believe in the lie, the collectivist paradise? Did she know why the caged bird sings, but not how the damned thing gets in the cage?

For the record, this is how it gets out.

Either way, she doesn't deserve a professorship, a title, or a webiverse of social media tributes.

Flynn writes:

Her greatest performance wasn’t in the miniseries Roots or on the album Miss Calypso. It was playing the character Maya Angelou. There’s a P.T. Barnum quality to Maya Angelou. 
Convincing the world of your greatness requires a greatness. This is especially true of the mediocre.
Going from rags to riches by conquering the business world serves as one American Dream. A more common, albeit less realized version, involves enjoying a six-figure living from a no-show job. 
Her mouth occasionally called the promise of America a big fat lie. Her life begged to differ.

Maya Angelou put words together to make poetry, which is rare. She sometimes told the truth about her life, which takes courage. She certainly lived a rich and varied existence, which is enviable.

But....

But.

Sometimes I wish I could be young again. I wish I could recall what it feels like to read Maya Angelou's poems and like them because I was told they were good. I wish I could read her inspiring quotes on Pinterest and look at her lined face, aching with gravitas and experience, and think, "Wow, what a wise and wonderful woman. We should truly mourn the loss of such a powerful voice." And then go back to reading O magazine and watching "The View."

But instead I'm gonna go ahead and be bitter old me, and use my brain.

Maya Angelou was an overrated writer who built a career on victimhood. She praised despicable men and cheered when evil regimes took power.

I'm not mourning the death of Maya Angelou.