Monthly Archives: September 2016



2008, $1.50, at Goodwill on Brand in Glendale

First Impression: Denise Austin demonstrates how she wants you to lift her antique desk.

Second Impression: Why am I helping Denise Austin move?

Regarding the cover photo, it does not look right to me. There is something very bizarre about her torso. Is it Photoshopped? She’s got the Mariana Trench running down the front of her stomach. Can the human body even do that?

Maybe Denise Austin’s seven, 10-minute ab workouts actually have this effect and I should get to it, so I too can have a crevasse on my midsection that a passerby would mistake for a Citi Bike parking station.

Just today, in fact, I was made aware that this is a real phenomenon, known as the abscrack. Those who have achieved the abscrack document their accomplishment on Instagram. Those doomed to go through life without an abscrack criticize those who have one, calling them “malnourished,” “too extreme,” and gasp, “basic.”

It’s just another impossible thing to strive for, possibly harming yourself in the process. Just promise me you won’t feel like a failure if you don’t end up with a frontbutt decorating your core. There are other things to be worried about, like, it is bad to eat so much white cheddar popcorn that it pretty much counts as your dinner? I’m asking. For a friend.

I found these routines to be mostly the same exercises over and over, recombined in different ways. They are all filmed outside under palm trees, as a reminder that you cannot afford a vacation.

One thing that bothers me is the assertion that working out your abs will make you lose fat around your midsection. Exercise doesn’t work that way, because science. You have to burn fat all over your body by doing cardio, and ab work tones the muscle that is underneath the layer of fat. But what do I know? I’m not the one with sternum-to-navel tummy cleavage marring the front half of my body.