Passover is over and it’s time to start getting in shape for the summer. But for Jews, diets are not the way to go. We eat too much. Workouts are more our speed. Fortunately, I have studied Jews intensely so I can present you with the ways our people keep fit.

General Exercise

The Shvitz

This is the Jewish people’s go to work out. Many people call it a sauna or steam room but not Jews. We are sweating in there, or shvitzing, and if there’s shvitz, that’s exercise. We skip the pointless parts of the workout, like running, and go right to the room with the steam.

Bending

A hi-pitch noise comes out of my mouth every time I bend. No idea what it is. It must be exercise.

Wheelchair Pushing

Combine a workout with the mitzvah of visiting the sick and push an elderly or infirm person in a wheelchair and get some exercise. Or maybe your elderly parents are in a nursing home and you should think about visiting them every once in a while.

Walking

Walk to shul. How about that?! Yes. I said it. Don’t be a heretic. Walk to shul and get the heart pumping.

Shabbat Shopping

This is a weekly workout, done on Fridays. What you do is go to the supermarket and shop for eighteen ravenous people who haven’t eaten in hours. You then drive home and carry forty grocery bags to the kitchen, where you also cook with no help from anybody else in the family.

Shul & Holiday Workouts

Hagba Torah Lifts

Powerlifting at its best. This is a squat with an extra shoulder press, involving the biceps as well. What you do is take the two Torah poles and lift the Torah. The more Hebrew columns you open causes for more strain on Jewish muscle, and is a good way to showoff your strength to all the devout people in shul.

If you want to add difficulty to the movement, you allow the gabbai (sexton) to choose a child who has no idea how to role the Torah back in and cover it. Extra points if the child’s arms can’t reach the top of the Torah staves and has no motor skills. This forces you to sit there, balancing the Torah with your forearms for an extra few minutes. Great full body workout, with one goal of the Torah not falling.

Kiddush Wrestling

This usually happens at what is known as a “Hot Kiddush”. The post service snack allows for an excellent physical altercation with Fran, by the cholent. Fran might be small, but her low center of gravity makes it hard to move her from the table. The workout from wrestling for a decent piece of kishka, potato kugel and sponge cake is a whole body workout.

Getting up from Shabbat Dinner

That is a squat right there. I can care less what anybody says. I am going to sit back down to eat more, to get more energy for getting back up.

Candy Attacking

At Bar Mitzvahs when the candies get thrown at the boy, this can be a physical competition. Like any sport, you want to have proper equipment and gear. As you are going to have to dive on the floor and tackle some children to get the good candies, you may want some knee pads to place on your suit pants.

The Carlebach

This is a full-on group dancersize workout. The prayer songs get going and you do a side to side jump, then you mix it up with a circle dance around the shul to the lyrics “Nay Nay Nay.”

Israeli Workouts

Bus Running

This is Israel’s number one workout. The bus stops a block away from the stop. You run after the bus while screaming “Nahag”(driver). The sprint is extreme high intensity. Add that in with smacking the back of the bus and that’s a day’s work out right there.

Falafel Stand Purchasing

Similar to Kiddush wrestling. You must hold your spot so that you can get served before all the people who come after you. You may want to work on elbow strength so that you can hit the people who can care less that you got there before them. The technique here is similar to “boxing out” in basketball when trying to prevent your opponent from getting a rebound. This technique will help you get a pita when it’s your turn.

Going to the Beach

Swimming or running in the water is not necessary. The Jewish beach workout consists of sun. You sit in the sun. That is tiring enough.

Watch the News

My father does this workout, as his doctor told him he has to work at getting his heartrate up in controlled sessions.

The more pro-Israel you are, the better the workout. As a trainer, I suggest you do this to CNN, BBC or the Daily Show.

Ways Jews Do Popular Workouts

There are so many different kinds of gyms nowadays, all based on different exercises. Jews have adapted these to their environments as well.

Crossfit

Many Crossfit workouts, like hurricanes, are named after people. This workout is known as the Rivka Chaya. This is where you chase your kids around shul for twenty-five minutes on Saturday morning, and then stand in the back and pray for three minutes. If you want to disturb everybody’s prayers, you can also add in the yelling at kids in shul.

HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training

We do this when we bend down to get on the floor during Yom Kippur. We only do it once a year. Muslims do it every day; which is why Muslims are usually in better shape than Jews.

Spinning

Anything stationary is perfect. As long as the bike is not moving, I am OK with riding them.

Aerobics

This is known as Simcha Jewish Party Dancing. To do this well, you will want to master the grapevine. The Jewish shin-high kick and knee lifts are also part of this aerobic movement; generally done in lines or circles, in between the pasta, schnitzel, cola and soufflé.

Go to the Gym Overly Dressed

Some Jewish people like dressing formally all the time. You might thing this would be a disadvantage at the gym, but I say the opposite. Wearing more clothes helps you lose weight. You sweat much more sitting in long sleeves and layers. Most people in the gym are not losing weight, because they’re wearing shorts. You show up in sweatpants and a denim skirt, you are losing weight and looking good. Add on makeup. Do you know how much sweat makeup adds to a workout?!

Remember we Jews are a communal people so make sure to stay in shape with your entire community. Whether it’s during Kiddush, davening, or running out of the sanctuary before the Rabbi’s sermon begins, remember to keep fit and go to shul!