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Burpees aren’t for babies

My chest muscles hurt.

It’s not often you can say that as a woman unless you’re an Olympic rower or an American Ninja Warrior.

But I’m no glamorous Ninja. I’m just an ordinary Jane in a wellness program.

I was forced to join this “optional” program at the bidding of the Man, and I don’t even work for the Man. My husband does, and he has been brainwashed into believing we must earn points to receive a premium “discount” on our health insurance next year. (Knowing the cutthroat insurance industry in this country, perhaps we should be earning points to prevent them from harvesting our kidneys and selling them for a profit.)

So I joined a fitness challenge to get those points that my husband weekly reminds me I lack.

Basically, a small team of desperate people must track a few thousand charming little exercises called Burpees to receive their reward. Never mind that this exercise makes us sound like a bunch of chubby infants who need to belch before we take a long, refreshing nap; it’s a brutal combination of strength training and aerobics that forces you to discover muscles you hoped never to think about.

Ah, if only these cruel burpees gave me more energy for sex instead of boob cramps!

For years now I’ve lied to myself about my fitness level, utterly convinced that carrying small piles of laundry back and forth in our small home was sufficient cardio. Now I am exposed by this exercise, left trembling and immobile on the floor, hoping that I’m able to drive my kids to school in the morning.

Personally, I think the real purpose of this Burpees challenge and others like it is to make us drop dead. Then the Man won’t have to pay our insurance at all. No slow decline and multiple doctor’s visits for us! Just run our lazy, big butts into the ground!

Honestly, there may be even bigger concerns here. Based on this current Big Brother climate — making us grovel for points to give us health insurance we have already paid for — I think we should all be warned that in the future our health choices may no longer be our own. “The Man” will hack our Fit Bits and smartphones and record every step we take (or don’t) and every move we make (or not) just like that Police song for stalkers.

Sure, they’re still taking our word for it that we don’t eat fast food more than once a year, that we only drink cocktails to kick a nasty cold and that we always wear our skintight active wear because we pop into the gym at least twice a day.

But soon they’ll find a way via all our devices to smell the beer on our breath, measure the flab tucked beneath our shapewear, weigh our weekly fast food intake, and examine the plaque between our teeth. And considering that many of us now take our precious phones everywhere, they’ll know whether we’re regular or not, too.

Maybe they’ll even figure out how to send an electrical current through our smart watches to shock us when we haven’t moved from our couches in over an hour. Then where will we be?

I’ll tell you, my friends. We’ll be doing Burpees for the rest of our natural lives.

— Hillary Ibarra

Hillary Ibarra has had several humor pieces published online, most at the incredible She is hoping to publish a book this year that she began when she was 17 and recently rediscovered with the help of her children. She is the mysterious blogger at No Pens, Pencils, Knives or Scissors. In her spare time she likes to threaten to sell her children to the zoo, and their little dog, too.

Reflections of Erma