When I want to gauge the wind, I study the treetops or hold up a moistened index fingertip in the air. So it blew me away when Brian Thompson--actor and self-described windsurfing addict--told me that he's hooked up to Call of the Wind. The paging system beeps when wind conditions are worth the trip to the beach. He lives in La Can~ada with his family.
"I got my pager in my pocket right now," the actor said when we got on the phone. Thompson plays the alien Bounty Hunter on Fox TV's "The X-Files." I'm glad the winds didn't pick up while we were talking.
Question: How serious are we talking?
Answer: Oh, it's probably taken the place of religion in my life. On a good year, I'll get in 50 days of sailing a year.
Q: How does that pager thing work?
A: Once it reaches a certain wind threshold, say 12 mph, it starts paging you. And it's pretty darn accurate. I can say I have not been skunked since I've gotten this pager.
Q: How much of a workout do you get from windsurfing?
A: Windsurfing is a phenomenally gentle, bilateral aerobic workout. What you do on one side of your body, you flip the sail and do the exact same thing on the opposite side. Then there's the other part of windsurfing--the spiritual, emotional part. At Leo Carrillo beach when I first went out one spring, I was in a pod of whales. You're just a few miles from downtown L.A. and something spouts--God, a whale--and you calm down. Experiences like that don't go away for the rest of your life.
Q: Are you exercising on land?
A: I study martial arts three times a week at Master Song's Hapkido Studio in Studio City. I was doing martial arts films [his most recent was "Mortal Kombat Annihilation," 1997] and had faked it because I'd had a lot of dance. I was rather limber for a larger guy and I'm 6-2, 225 pounds, and I would take ballet three times a week. Then when the Ninja Turtle movies came out, my son wanted to study martial arts, and he was kind of judo-chopping his sister too often so we got him into martial arts. So I stopped the dance and started the martial arts--for five years now.
Q: Tell me what you eat typically.
A: I've had nothing but fruit for breakfast for five years. I take vitamins and mineral supplements. And Sunday morning is pancake breakfast. Lunch, probably my favorite is chicken Caesar salad if I'm in a restaurant, or here at home I make chicken breast sandwiches. The Price Club boneless, skinless little loins and they're flash frozen and you throw 'em in the microwave or fry 'em up with a tiny amount of butter--they're phenomenal. And fruits and vegetables. Dinner--fish, chicken, almost always a salad, and cooked vegetables. We have our own garden here, so in the summer months we have our own lettuce and tomatoes.
Q: What do you drink?
A: I drink sparkling water and then of course at night I drink beer. If the beer's not working, Scotch.
Guest Workout runs Mondays in Health.