Get Physical

Some say that the spirit of Christmas is joyful giving, sharing the love of family and friends in a cheerful celebration of life-affirming blah, blah, blah. Others suggest that it's a commercialized greedfest characterized by grabbing, ripping and crying when one doesn't receive the perfect (pricey) gift. But we all know, deep down, beneath the wrappings and ribbons, it's all about the food. Golden-roasted turkeys, plump with moist, aromatic stuffing. Smooth, butter-drenched potatoes and fluffy bread. Homemade pumpkin pie, rich and flaky. Mulled cider, stirred with a cinnamon stick, warming your hands and throat...the special elastic-waist pants, the days-long grazing around the dessert buffet, the tryptophan-induced napping.

What we loved about Christmas, the calorie-rich gorging, becomes what we hate, the "holiday gut," right around December 31. Resolutions firmly in place, ex-gorgers vow to exercise three times a week and forgo carbs, fat and sugar. Yet the Super Bowl finds us again in sweatpants, flanked by a bean dip-queso-guacamole triple threat. For those who seem doomed to fail year after year, 24 Hour Fitness offers a kick-start for your fitness resolution. Between December 30 and January 1, the gym's locations promise free workouts to all comers. Suit up and show up, no commitment involved. It's a guiltless gift to yourself and, besides, when your idea of a great six-pack involves the words "genuine draft," it's definitely time to punch up that paunch. With more than 20 locations in the metroplex and, well, numerous hours, what's your excuse? If your round little belly shakes when you laugh, drag it away from the Sugar/Orange/Cotton/Rose Bowl and jog it on down to 24 Hour Fitness. And the next time someone calls you "gutless," smile and say, "Thanks!"

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Michelle Martinez

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