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Determine the Length of Your Workouts

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"Doing more exercise with less intensity,"
Arthur Jones believes, "has all but
destroyed the actual great value
of weight training. Something
must be done . . . and quickly."
The New Bodybuilding for
Old-School Results supplies
MUCH of that "something."

 

This is one of 93 photos of Andy McCutcheon that are used in The New High-Intensity Training to illustrate the recommended exercises.

To find out more about McCutcheon and his training, click here.

 

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Do You Have Change for a Dollar?
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Ellington Darden, Ph.D.

Do You Have Change for a Dollar?
Four Quarters of Clean Advice

Note: My wife is at the supermarket and I’m home alone with
some laundry to do — which made me think back to this article.
There’s a certain something about washing, drying,
and folding clothes that gets my attention.
There’s a lesson here, so pay attention.


Wednesday is laundry day for me. That’s right, I do my own laundry — and I’ve done so for the last ten years.

Since I relocated to Celebration, Florida, about a year ago, I now do laundry at my home — naturally, with the help of a washing machine and a dryer.

But when I lived a hundred miles north, in Gainesville, I visited a coin laundromat on University Avenue. There were some interesting things about that old laundromat that I really liked.

First, it was convenient. It was located between the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center, where I did research for my books, and my townhouse, which was only a two-block walk from the laundry building.

Second, it was in small strip shopping center, which was a hub of activity. On one side was a Subway sandwich shop, a Handyway store, and a small post office. On the other side was a shoe store, a barber shop, and a video rental place. And across the street was the fitness center, which is the largest fitness club in the United States. It has 20,000 members, and 4,000 people train there on most weekdays.

Third, the woman who worked at the laundromat was a memorable person. Her name was Millie.


MILLIE’S SPECIALTY

When I first met Millie, she was 70 years old, stood 5 feet tall, and weighed 92 pounds. She had deep wrinkles over her face from too much sun and too many cigarettes. She was meek, soft spoken, and you could tell from her actions — a hard worker for much of her life.

Most of all, Millie knew washing and drying: backward, forward, inside, and out. "The key to getting your laundry right," Millie used to say, "is not overloading the washer, the correct amount of soap (less is best), a hot dryer, and quick fold."

What’s quick fold? Quick fold, according to Millie, keeps the wrinkles out of most clothes. You remove clothes from the dryer immediately and you begin folding the ones you want the fewest wrinkles in. Your best shirts and trousers first, for example, and your underwear and socks last. Her folding techniques, however, were implanted from decades and decades of experience.

Take tee shirts, for instance. Anyone who exercises owns dozens of tee shirts. If you’re like me, you dislike wearing a tee shirt that’s covered with wrinkles. But how do get the wrinkles out, especially if you don’t like the thought of ironing a tee shirt? The secret is in the folding.


QUICK FOLDING A TEE SHIRT

Here’s how Millie instructed me to fold a tee shirt:

Well, I’m telling you, Millie could quick fold a tee shirt faster that anyone on the planet. One morning I watched her fold 25 tee shirts in something like 3 minutes. I was so amazed that timed her on the next one: 5 seconds flat.

Since Millie’s laundromat was located just down the street from the campus of the University of Florida, she dealt with thousands of students. She would do washing, drying, and folding at the rate of 50 cents per pound, or offer free advice if you wanted to do it yourself. I usually preferred to do it myself, especially since I enjoyed conversing with Millie.


GOOD BYE MILLIE

In 1996, at age 75, Millie retired. I kept using the facility until I left Gainesville 18 months later, but it just wasn’t the same without Millie. The man who owned the laundromat hired at least six or seven different women — over the next year — to take Millie’s place. None of them lasted longer than six weeks. They probably couldn’t tolerate the routine, or the customers.

About six months before I left Gainesville, I’m doing my laundry one morning. The place is empty, except for me. I’m sitting in back reading a magazine and minding my own business. In walks a well-built, male, college student. Obviously, he’s either going or coming from a workout at the fitness center across the street. He fumbles at some of the machines up front, looks around the place, spots me, and walks to the back impatiently.

"Do you work here?" he asked.

Usually, I would have given him some sort of fast, comical answer. But because this was still Millie’s place in my mind, I smiled, looked up at the young man, and said: "Yes, can I help you with something?"

"Do you have change for a dollar?" he asked. "The machine up front seems to be out of order."

Since I had four quarters in my pocket, I replied, "Sure," and handed him the quarters. Millie always said it was important to have plenty of extra quarters handy — just in case the machine jammed.

The guy quickly walked back to the front, threw his sack of clothes into the first washing machine, and cranked it up. I returned to my magazine.

"Hey, man," he hollered several minutes later. "I’m going across the street to workout. When the machine stops, could you move my wet clothes from this washer to that dryer (he pointed as he talked)?"

Not even waiting for my answer, he hurried out.

Gee, I thought to myself: What an asshole. How did Millie tolerate all these types (and worse) for half her life?

She would have dealt it, I realized, with a smile on her face — and a helping hand.

So, that’s what I did. I transferred that asshole’s wet clothes to the dryer. I waited around another 15 minutes after my laundry was finished, took the asshole’s clothes out of the dryer, quick folded them (he had six tee shirts), and put them back into his sack. As I walked home, I felt sort of misunderstood and uplifted at the same time.

That’s not the end of the story, however.


"EXCUSE ME, ASSHOLE!"

Approximately a week later, I’m at the fitness center putting one of my research subjects through a high-intensity workout. The subject happens to be a very attractive woman who I’m planning on featuring in my "Body Defining" book.

Since the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center contains more than a dozen lines of strength-training machines, I usually exercise my people in an upstairs, out-of-the-way area to get away from the crowds and the noise. No one bothers us in this remote part of the gym. But today, I’m incorporating negative chins into this woman’s routine and the multi-exercise machine that I use for chins is located downstairs in the middle of all the action.

So, downstairs we go into the chaos. As I suspect, someone is already using the multi-exercise machine. This guy’s doing sets of fast calf raises. There we stand: me with my pencil and clipboard and her with a body that would stop traffic on a busy street. A minute goes by. Then two minutes. This guy just keeps doing more sets. What an asshole he is, I think to myself.

Finally, I decide to say something to him. "Excuse me, could we work in for a brief set?"

He steps aside, turns around, and yep, this calf-raise asshole is the same asshole from the laundromat. We make only brief eye contact. I’m not sure if he recognizes me or not.

It doesn’t matter, however. My trainee is already into position for her negative chins and we continue with her workout.

Then, another two weeks go by and something else happens.


A BOOK TO THE RESCUE

I’m good friends with Joe Cirulli, the owner of the Gainesville Health &

Fitness Center. He’s in charge of training all the instructors, which number more than 100. Most of the instructors are college students who work 20 hours a week. Every three months, there’s an orientation session for individuals who are interested in becoming instructors. Since I wrote "The Nautilus Book," which is used at the fitness center as a training manual, Joe often asks me to say a few words to the prospective instructors.

Anyway, here I am, dressed for the presentation in a coat and tie, speaking to this group of about 50 young people. As I look out over the audience, seated in the back of the room, is — you guessed it — that asshole.

After my presentation, there’s a 15-minute refreshment break. Several of the people in the audience approach and ask me to autograph their copies of "The Nautilus Book." As I’m signing the books, several more individuals walk over and start peppering me with questions.

I like such questions because they let you know that during the presentation, you caused the audience to think a little. As I’m pitching my answers in my Texas drawl, I notice that the asshole has drifted over within ear’s reach.

After several more minutes of chatter, someone asks me about career possibilities in the fitness business.

"Look," I say in response, "qualifying and becoming a part time instructor at the Gainesville Health & Fitness Center will provide you with a great view of what it takes to be successful in the commercial health club business. But if you fail to qualify (there’s an initial written test, as well as a supervised high-intensity workout, that a prospective instructor must pass), then maybe I get you some equally gratifying work — across the street — at the laundromat."

Because of the way I emphasized "at the laundromat," everyone chuckled, including the asshole. I still didn’t know if he recognized me from the laundromat, but it appeared that I now had his undivided attention as I moved in for a final jab.


ONLY THREE THINGS

"After 30 years in the fitness business," I concluded, "there’s only three things I really like to do: train people, write books, and do laundry . . . in no particular order!"

Again, because of the way I accentuated those last concepts, everyone laughed. Just then, Joe Cirulli asked the group to be seated as the orientation session was about to continue.

Later that day, I had finished training the attractive woman that I mentioned earlier, and was heading out the front door of the club. Suddenly, I feel this tap on my shoulder followed by . . . "Dr. Darden, have you got a minute?" To my surprise, it’s Mr. Asshole. Except now there’s something different about him.

We go out the door together and walk to a more private area. He politely introduces himself to me. Sam is his name.

Yes, he remembers me from the laundromat and he thanks me for helping him that day. Yes, he definitely thought I worked there. No, he didn’t make the connection several weeks ago at the calf-raise machine. He didn’t connect all the dots until this morning — from my final comment about those three things that I really like to do.

As a result, we had several good belly laughs — together.

Maybe he’s not such an asshole after all, I think to myself, especially since — in addition — he’s just asked me several intelligent questions about my book.

In fact, Sam went on to become an instructor — and a darn good one. He even helped me train some of my participants in a later research project.


For the remaining time I spent in Gainesville, sometimes when I’d see Sam at the fitness center, my parting line to him was: "Do you have change for a dollar?"

It always brought a smile to both of our faces.

I never helped Sam do his laundry again, but I did advise him how to quick fold a tee shirt. Sam said he would spread the word . . . not only about quick fold, but also about having extra quarters handy. You never know when you’ll need to make change for a dollar, right?

Millie would have been proud of us.

 

Discuss this article | Text Version

Tobes

Dr. Darden, The attractive woman you were talking about was Jill McCann, right?
What is she up to these days?
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Ellington Darden

Tobes,

The woman I worked with, who was on the cover of "Body Defining," was Rachelle Richardson. Jill McCann was on the cover of "Two Weeks to a Tighter Tummy."

Ellington
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hit4all

Sweden

The first thing that crossed my mind after reading the article was about Sam (aka Asshole):

"Life is like a box of chocolates - you never know what you're going to get."

With the right knowledge and the right way to apply it, Sam turned out to be everything else but an Asshole, but you didn't know this from the start!

Be well, train hard & think smart!
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freedman

Florida, USA

I used to use the laundromats around Gainesville and remember Millie. You must have made quite an impression because although she taught me to use hangers for my dress shirts, she never let on her secret of folding t-shirts. She was always too fast to learn from by watching her.

Not only do I remember you with your clipboard at GHFC, but I was one of you study participants in your Living Longer Stronger book. Do I still hold your record for weight/fat loss?
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Ellington Darden

Larry Freedman!

Of course, I remember you. You lost 52-3/4 pounds in 6 weeks, and 116-1/2 pounds in 6 months.

Guys, Larry was a weight-loss marvel and has an amazing story.

Do you still live in Gainesville? Fill me in on what you've been doing over the last 10 years?

Ellington
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jkdlou

If at all possible, Larry, could you give us some pointers on how you were able to persevere for a year and stick with the program?

Thanks,
Lou
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freedman

Florida, USA

It took an absolute dedication for the first six weeks. I followed the dietary program to the letter, drank lots of ice cold water, slept with the AC on full blast and worked out with determination.

It also helped that I was single at the time and didn't have to get the cooperation from a wife and kids.

After the initial 6 week study I followed the principles of the study and kept up with the workouts.

Funny thing about achieving fitness. The closer you get to it, the easier it becomes to reach.

Larry
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Tobes

Dr Darden, My bad. Do you know what Jill is up to anyway?
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Ellington Darden

Tobes,

Jill married a graduate of the University of Florida School of Medicine, which was 7 years ago, and they moved to Texas. I haven't heard anything about her since then. I'll bet you, however, that she's still in terrific shape.

Ellington
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jkdlou

Larry:

Thanks very much for your reply. I have been following Dr Darden's plan now for over a year. I have lost some weight, noticeable fat loss and muscle gain, but have put some of it back on. I still have a considerable amount to lose, at least to look the way I'd like to. Your comments are encouraging. Now it is time for me to get back on the reduced calorie/fat plan and hit the Bowflex(which I have been following faithfully!).

Lou
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freedman

Florida, USA

Funny on the Bowflex. My wife just agreed to us getting one with our pending tax refund. Looking forward to getting back on the program.

Larry
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c haire

Dr. Darden we meet in 1976 at nautilus.I am the ad and strength coach at a high school. I am going to train 10 of our best football players in a negative only manner. I will train these athletes on negative-attitude equipment. I will measure and test before and after.When I finish I will send you the results. Your last book got me fired up.
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Acerimmer1

I thought you were going to say Millie bulked up to a solid 180 after she gave up her job quick folding and thats why we should all do superslow reps and exercise infrequently! I can imagine reading an article like that in one of the muscle rags.
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shell

I think Millie loved her job because it was something she knew better than anyone else. And I think we love people like Millie because she could see people past that first impression.
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sarahd

Hi daddy!!

I've been doing lots of research on you,for my school project, but I stopped to read this..and I really liked it! It was cute. You are a very good writer, even when it's not about telling people how to workout.

I remember that laundramat! I don't remember Millie, but that's probably because Amy and I would always play outside with the rollie pollies, and then search all the machines for coins. I also remember that fitness center and how Amy and I would play in the aerobics room, and that is seemed like cheetos! :)

hey..was that attractive lady the one who had the big huskey dog???

Sarah
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Ellington Darden

Hey Sarah,

Great! I want to read your research report.

That attractive lady with the dog was Rachelle Richardson and she was on the cover of one of my books, "Body Defining." Yes, I was training her in the article.

Thanks for joining in on the discussions . . . and see you soon.

Dad

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HPB

Dr. Darden,

Neat story, thanks for sharing!

Just wondering something. You mentioned Rachelle Richardson...she was already very slim and attractive in her before photo, yet apparently wanted to improve further. What led her to work with you, and do you know what's become of her in recent years?

Thanks!
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Nate Dogg

Florida, USA

I never knew Millie (and luckily have not had to use the laundry mats in Gainesville much in the past 18 years), but I do my laundry almost exactly as Millie suggested (don't stuff washer, less soap, hot dryer and quickly fold and hang up clothes to prevent wrinkles).

Good story.
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