Felon Fitness Teaches You How to Get a Hard Body Without Doing Hard Time

The main problem with workouts like hip-hop Pilates is that there is no primal fear involved. The fundamental tenet of Felon Fitness, on the other hand, is that "In prison, being fit is a matter of life or death."

The book on this latest form of alternative exercise modeled on the lifestyle of California state prisoners came out this fall, although a decent introduction with video workouts is available online. In theory, Felon Fitness is really not so different from workouts based on army bootcamp, but reading encouragements such as, "It's likely you don't have the worry of being attacked with a makeshift knife by a gang member, but you have to be concerned about survival" is slightly alarming.

It also seems presumptuous, as a free person, to use the hard-knock life of a convicted criminal as motivation to stop being a lazy sack and start doing burpees. What happened to just pasting photos of your face over taut models and staring at them while running in place?

The basis on fear of death is really the only alternative aspect to Felon Fitness, though, and the exercise and diet tips are surprisingly reasonable. You might be encouraged to tie a stack of magazines together to use as a weight, but that's only because the Felon philosophy prizes economy alongside discipline and balanced meals of protein, carbohydrates and fat. In fact, this sounds remarkably similar to the values of my immigrant mother. I smell a Tiger Mom Fitness book deal in the near future.

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Nikki Metzgar
Contact: Nikki Metzgar