Functional fitness and maybe much more

For the better part of four hours, Sarah Garvin’s voice filled my head this morning.

Sarah Garvin

It could have been the voices of Danelle Much or Marnee Acker, friends whose fitness classes I have attended at the Muscatine Community Y. But I’m pretty sure I was hearing Sarah, who owns Warrior Crossfit Muscatine with her husband, Jacob Garvin.

“Keep those abs tight. Suck in that gut,” the voice kept telling me.

But the good thing was the voice distracted me from the task at hand: Mopping floors.

Did he just say mopping floors? WTH?

Let me explain. For the past couple of years, I have worked on weekends at Menard’s, a home-improvement store where I run what my friends call the Zamboni. It cleans and mops the floors. It takes four to five hours to hit the entire store. And the hardest part of the job is simply staying awake.

I started this job as a way to make a little extra money since I had worked the last three or four years at my old job at the Muscatine Journal without getting a raise. It was a way to finance my bicycling habit — pay for RAGBRAI, bike repairs and the occasional beer when I was done riding. Since I lost the full-time job due to budget cuts, the Zamboni has helped pay my cell phone bill, pay the car insurance and even occasionally buy some groceries.

Today, however, the Zamboni was on the disabled list and I had to go old school, breaking out a mop and bucket for somewhere between three and four hours of work.

Now there are a lot of ways to view mopping the floor when you are a 45-year-old under-employed white guy who used to be the editor of a daily newspaper. And I’m sure I saw some people today who looked at it exactly like that: Look at what he’s doing. Mopping floors. Serves him right.

I just looked at it as a job that needed to be done. And my parents raised me to believe you should just do whatever job was before you. You should do it without complaining. And you should do it as well as you possibly could.

It’s a pretty safe bet both of my parents did many things on that old, hilly farm that they didn’t want to do. So the least I could do this morning was mop the floors. And to do a good job.

For all I know, it may have been an audition for my next job. We never know who might be watching us and I never know who might be reading this blog.  But I do know that whatever my next job  might be, I’m going approach it with the same attitude and determination I used today to mop floors.

There is another way to look at mopping floors for three or four hours. It’s what one of my friends refers to as functional fitness. And I’m pretty sure it’s why I kept hearing Sarah Garvin: “Keep those abs tight. Suck in that gut.”

Mopping for a long time, for those of you who don’t know, works the muscles in your back, shoulders and core. Try it and you will find out.

Which brings me to a final observation: For some reason, many of the female customers I encountered this morning seemed to really enjoy watching a big lug like me mopping floors. They would grin or laugh, say hello and then ask if I wanted to come home and mop for them.

This could be good advice for any single guys who are trying to meet women and might read this: Pick up a mop and demonstrate you know how to use it.