An innovative exercise program will allow Blacktip Island’s most hard-core drinkers to increase their physical activity from the comfort of their barstools. (Photo courtesy of Palometa Fischer)
Blacktip Island fitness buffs this week launched an alcohol-based aerobics program, conducted in all three of Blacktip’s bars, to combat the Caribbean island’s growing obesity problem.
“Blacktippers are freakishly out of shape,” aerobics instructor Palometa Fischer said. “We can’t stop them from drinking – it’s the island pastime. Instead, we’re getting them active while they drink.
“We’re taking advantage of the captive audience,” said Fischer. “The only drawback so far was the couple of beer bottles thrown at us when we first walked in.”
Program participants were upbeat after the first session.
“We’re jumping up and down watching football anyway. This wasn’t all that different,” said James Conlee at the Last Ballyhoo bar. “Palometa jumping around in them shorts didn’t hurt, either, you know.”
Health professionals, however, questioned the program’s safety.
“This regimen will worsen Blacktip Island’s alcohol epidemic,” said Dr. Azul Tang. “And most of these people are in no shape for vigorous exercise. Palometa’s going to have her hands full with cardiac arrests and broken bones.”
Program organizers emphasized their safety protocol.
“We have a 2:1 instructor-to-student ratio so we can prop people up if they start to fall,” instructor Ginger Bass said. “And the nurse is on call for every session.
“We start slow so people can acclimate – stretching on a bar stool, that sort of thing – then graduate to standing stretches,” Bass said. “We have pool sessions, too, for the really wobbly ones. They can’t fall too far. And we put Water Wings around their necks so their heads’ll float if they do.”
Participants applauded the safety measures.
“So far, worst that happened is James spewed beer in the middle of jumping jacks,” Last Ballyhoo regular Dermott Bottoms said. “But he’d been drinking since breakfast, so you kind of expected it. That’s why they didn’t put him in the pool.”
Fischer, meanwhile, plans to expand the program in the future.
“We’re working up to a weekly Run for the Rum Bottle around a track,” Fischer said. “We put bottle on a pulley, like the fake rabbit they use for greyhound racing, and let everyone chase after it.
“For extreme cardio we’ll toss spiders on the bar when no one expects it,” Fischer said. “We beta tested that, and it got everyone’s heart rate right up into the fat-burning zone.”