Road Foodie

Some people drive simply to arrive.

La Bella Figura

Posted By on January 11, 2009

The view from my treadmill

The view from my treadmill

1.11.09 San Luis, CA
Okay people, What Happened to My Waistline? A few years ago when I first started the bi-annual tradition of the Great Cross-Country Drive, I’d emerge from the car on the other coast having dropped a few pounds. Okay, this may have been due to muscle atrophy, but what’s with this new, apparent consequence of my recent sedentary and culinary life?

In Italy, the commonly-used term La Bella Figura refers not to the shape of the person, but to the cutting-edge level of his or her style. Maintaining La Bella Figura is not about time on the treadmill, but, rather, rapt attention to attitude, fashion, and lifestyle detail. Here and now, I am contemplating my size 2 J.Crew vintage cords and finding them insufficient for my newfound girth. They’re ok around the thighs, mind you, but I am seeing an entirely NOT cutting-edge muffin-top where my waist once resided.

Resistance-training area

Resistance-training area

Back in upstate New York I belong to a great gym, and go there religiously four times a week (some weeks, anyway). Out on the road, exercise becomes a matter of more powerful motivation. When you roll into the local La Quinta at 4pm after 465 seated miles, the lure of Facebook and that soon-to-be chilled bottle of travel chard is more tempting than locating the running shoes, suiting up, and sharing the hotel gym—if there is one—with who knows what manner of pale and rotund pals. This year, I have purchased a set of 10-pound weights, a poofy exercise ball, and a pair of those elastic bands with handles on them. In spite of the fact that they are cutely color-coordinated in purple, I never use them on the drive West. So the plan for my stay in the West this winter: attempt to burn as many calories with feet on the street as I normally do on the treadmill.

The street here at cousin Bob’s, luckily, is more of a rural road. Within a mile of the house, it ascends about 750 feet. At least. So by the time I speed-walk around the two-mile loop like some obsessive Angeleno I am well and truly winded (actual running is out, due to lower-back issues).

But the view is like nothing New York has or ever will see.

Then there is a session of weight-lifting, ball-bouncing, and band-tugging in the sunny courtyard, listening to Moby and trying to keep Stella from sitting on top of me whenever I’m on the ground.


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