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Fancy damn ham

The Atomic Dog is a weekly feature that isn't necessarily about weight training or bodybuilding. Sometimes it's about sports in general, sex, women, or male issues of some kind. At times it's inspirational, but it can also be informative, funny, and even a little weird, but hopefully, always interesting and a little controversial. We hope it reflects the nature of Testosterone magazine in that, just as no man is completely one-dimensional and only interested in one subject, neither are we. If it makes you think or laugh — or even get angry — it's served its purpose.

Of all holidays, Thanksgiving is the one most feared by people who give a shit about how they look. Why? Because we know that one single meal—albeit a huge, single meal—can transform us from svelte, underwear ad-ready Kramers to Hindenburg blimp-sized Newmans.

And since I'm on the subject of things that float, you know those big balloons they float down 34th Street at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade? They're not balloons; they're people who ate too much at Thanksgiving dinner. Imagine the humiliation that my Uncle Lou must feel when parade workers come to his house every November, tether him up, shoot him full of helium, and float him down the street where children mistake him for Wonder Dog. And you know the balloon that looks like Yogi Bear? Nothin' but Charles Poliquin after he ate too much of Momma Poliquin's lighter-than-air moosemeat pie and floated from the Poliquin ancestral home in Quebec all the way to New York City.

I was actually dumb enough to attend a Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade once. I was in town on business and, since I had nothing better to do, I walked down to the parade route to watch the festivities. I almost lost my life. There I was, craning my neck over the other idiots in the crowd, when I noticed that I couldn't move. I was literally pinned by the sea of bodies around me. My left arm was partially engulfed in the ass cheeks of a large woman next to me. I could only smile sheepishly while she glared at me. Likewise, some guy who looked like a trucker had his arm engulfed in my ass cheeks. (He still writes occasionally, but these relationships that were born of lust never last.)

Things got really bad when the crowd began to move. I found that I was powerless to resist. I tried not to panic and, instead, concentrated on not losing my footing. I was swept along for what must have been half a mile until I was finally deposited, like a piece of driftwood on the shore, in the apartment of an Iraqi family who was just about to sit down for Thanksgiving dinner (they thought that I was cousin Hassim, from North Iraq). We shared some pigeon that Ahmed had been lucky enough to run over with his cab. It was pleasant, but it would have been nice not to contract hepatitis and lose 50 pounds. No matter, I made some good friends.

But I digress. Thanksgiving is a weird holiday because, essentially, it's a celebration of wretched excess. We deliberately sit down to engorge ourselves on an amount of food that, had we piled all of our second, third, and fourth helpings together, would probably be so large that it would need to be issued a social security number. We sit down with family members that, for the most part, we manage to stay away from the rest of the year. It's like a perverse Doctor Seuss rhyme:

And the worst part of it is that everything's closed. There's no way to relieve the monotony except for watching football games. Sure, some theaters are open, but I've already seen the "Pokemon" movie three times. Even the gyms are closed, and that's the worst thing of all.

If I could work out, maybe I could clear my head a little and work off some calories so that I wouldn't feel after eating more food than those skinny Back Street Boys probably eat in a year (I've got chunks in my stool bigger than those kids). Better yet, if I could work out before I ate, then I could put that big meal to work for me in building some muscle.

Well, this year, I've decided to take matters into my own hand and work out anyway using things that are lying around the average Thanksgiving household. The idea for the following workout was taken from one of the routines by Ian King who, when faced by the same problem on Christmas Day in Australia, would roust some wallabies out of the tall grass, rope them to his shoulders and back, and proceed to do squats while the struggling marsupials screamed into the vast expanse of the Australian outback. Now, the wallabies would make such a mess out of the hair on his back that it would take a troupe of specially trained Aborigines hours to comb out the tangles. But, hey, if you wanna' get big, you gotta' make some sacrifices. This, after all, ain't no sport for sissies.

On to the workout.

Those of you who have an only semi-ambulatory grandmother perched in a corner of the living room will like this one. (If she's still spry and quick on her feet, give her a tug on her shawl so that she'll spin around on her orthopedic shoes a few times. She'll be so dizzy that she won't be able to hobble away.) Grab her by the neck and her bony ankles and lie on the coffee table. Pump out ten "grandma presses" using a tempo of 401. If you found this to be too easy, have your kid brother sit on her while you do another set.

If she starts making some noise, like moaning "Please, Sonny, please put me down," remind her that this holiday isn't a time to be selfish and that she could be eating Thanksgiving dinner back at the retirement home.

After that, I like to do what I call "turkey squats." Turn off the oven and remove the turkey (you can always rinse it off and put it back later) or, if Mom hasn't started to cook the bird yet, use a raw one. Place the bird on your shoulders and grab on to each drumstick. Squat down as you normally would if you were using a bar, with a very slow tempo of 804. Don't do more than ten reps, though, as freezer burn may result.

Turkey Squats 

Turkey Squats 

The next move works well if the giblets have been removed. Of course, most grandmas object to having their giblets removed, so use the bird instead. Simply place your fist inside the bird and do 8-10 "turkey curls," starting with the weak arm first.

Turkey Curls 

Turkey Curls 

Finish off with a set of "turkey lateral raises" (or any other moves that you may want to thrown in—you're only limited by your imagination!) and you're ready to replenish depleted glycogen stores with a hefty protein, fat, and carb meal. No guilty conscience!

Turkey Lateral Raises 

Turkey Lateral Raises 

Truth be told, I don't really work out on Thanksgiving Day, and I don't worry about eating my weight in turkey, either. I'm so friggin' good the rest of the year (with the exception of Christmas) that one day of gluttony isn't going to hurt me a bit. I can absolve my gut of any caloric sins in two or three days, and it'll have been worth it. I think that too many of us get excessively anal about diet and training, so much so that we forget to have fun.

In other words, take it from me, someone who's been draggin' his dick into gyms longer than most of you: relax, eat something, and give your mind and body a break. Live like a normal person for a few hours.

I actually like Thanksgiving, and even though I sometimes get bored and wish that there were more things to do other than watch the four minutes of football action that you get when you take out all the timeouts and penalties, I still have a pretty good time. And I do spend a few minutes "being thankful" that I live in a country where such feasts are possible.

I'm also thankful that I work for such a cool organization, and I'm thankful to all of the Biotest customers and Testosterone readers for sticking with us and helping to make us successful. If all of you were here, I'd lock the doors and pretend that I wasn't home...nahh, I'd give each of you a turkey leg with a double helpin' of mashed taters. Thanks.

Now, help your granny into her chair, you big lugs, you.

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