[note location change for tomorrow at end]

The Obamacare website stinks. For five hours at a House committee hearing yesterday, private contractors paid big bucks to develop different parts of the website traded blows and blame with the government agency in charge of coordinating those parts. The different parts behind the website apparently work fine on their own, but when it came time to weld them together on HealthCare.gov, it was total bedlam.

We wouldn’t be in this mess – and I would be able to get my Obamacare – if the government and its contractors had spent the last year doing awesome overhead squats instead of stupid crunches.

Here’s what I mean. HealthCare.gov is the federal government’s site where those of us who are uninsured (or who just want a better plan) can buy health insurance. The good news is that the plans offered on HealthCare.gov are cheaper, better, and easier to understand than what I can find on my own. The bad news is that if I don’t have insurance by January 1, I’ll be fined. I’m OK with that arrangement.

To make HealthCare.gov work, though, the builders of the website had to be able to coordinate a whole lot of moving parts. There are thousands of private insurance providers, spread through 36 separate states that are using HealthCare.gov, data from dozens of federal agencies to determine if someone qualifies for a subsidy, etc. etc. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Health and Human Services agency in charge of HealthCare.gov, decided last year to contract out the different parts of the site to private companies.  One company built the parts of the site that amalgamate the insurance companies in each state. Another company built the mechanism for letting individuals sign up. Another built the part of the site that will collect your data from all the different government agencies.

The idea was that CMS, as the system integrator, would then bring all the moving parts together into a seamless whole. CMS is supposed to be doing the work that your abs and core do: stabilize and integrate the moving parts.

Problem is, Obama’s people went about this using an outdated model of exercise that thinks it’s best to work out each body part in isolation rather than as an integrated whole. CGI Group went off and did a lot of bicep curls, UnitedHealth Optum  did a lot of leg extensions, and QSSI really made those calves pop out with a ton of calf raises.

CMS, meanwhile, was hard at work doing tons of isolation ab exercises: crunches, half crunches, side crunches, flutter kicks, weighted pull-down crunches, machine crunches, those Jane Fonda bicycling things.

The philosophy of isolation exercises is fine if what you want to be able to do is hundreds of crunches. But if what you want is for your core to do what it’s meant to do – which is to integrate the moving parts of the rest of you – those crunches aren’t worth jack shit.

We don’t do crunches at queerfit because crunches are pretty worthless. Crunches target the abs that make up the six-pack – the rectus abdominus – and as such hit only the most superficial (and least important, vis a vis the abs’ stabilization function) of the abdominal muscles. The deepest and most powerful of your abs – the transversus abdominus that wraps around your torso – are taking little ab naps while you do those hundreds of crunches.

But the real reason we don’t do crunches is because the core function of your core is not to do crunches. It is to integrate movement through an efficient transfer of power. Doesn’t that sound good? Integrating movement through an efficient transfer of power. It’s something we can use more of in all parts of our life, and in all manner of movements.

What’s challenging is that it takes a lot more than your abs to do the work of integrating movement. When we say “strong core,” we’re talking about not just your abs, but everything else that makes up your core. You have erector spinae, those amazing muscles up and down alongside your spine that stand you up. You have big slabs of latissimus dorsi across your back. There’s the quadrillions of nerves of your central nervous system that determine how many and how fast your muscle fibers fire. There’s the inguinal ligament and your thoracolumbar fascia and your diaphragm. These are all part of your core and they all want your love and attention.

So how do we activate all that? Simple – we do full body movements that force us to integrate movement through an efficient transfer of power.  Overhead squats. Power cleans. Deadlifts. Jumping walls, climbing over tree limbs, pushing a truck, pulling a very heavy load. Ball slams. More overhead squats.

This is how HealthCare.gov should have been built. If CMS had spent the last year doing overhead squats instead of crunches, the different parts of the website would have been integrated and coordinated from the start. Instead, the Republicans get something to beat up on, and those of us waiting for Obamacare get a glitchy website.

Queerfit, on the other hand, is not glitchy at all. Come join us tomorrow for some overhead squats…

[location change: We are at The Wall tomorrow, across the street from Irwin Street Market at 660 Irwin Street. See you at 10:00, sunshine and chilly – pull your hoodie and sweatpants out tonight, so you’re ready to go tomorrow morning.]