Ah, spring, the season before bikini season. It is a time of cherry blossoms, light sweaters and mailed legal citations asking that I stop wearing my collection of bikinis. It is also the season in which we begin the annual ritual of attacking every imperfection on our own bodies in preparation for summer. As the old adage says “let no flab go unturned.” So, as we begin to prepare our bodies for summer months, it is important to take stock of the trendy pre-summer diets and health fads that may prove useful.
Growing up as a chubby child, I had an index of childhood nicknames, including “chumba womba,” “oompa loompa,” “mudpie” and my personal favorite, “blueberry,” which made no sense as I am neither blue nor a delicious, finger-sized berry. My childhood heft has made me painfully familiar with the perpetual battle to stay in shape. Oh, to be young and researching the Atkins diet again. What a time. “Make America Neurotic Again.”
But, as earth tilts its axis back toward the big flaming ball in the sky — all praise be to Utu, Sumerian god of the sun — it is time to dive into some of the most fun health fads and tactics around.
Health Fad 1: Hot Yoga
Hot yoga: All the fun of loose spandex in a room that is the temperature of a local pottery kiln. If you have ever worked out and said to yourself, “I wish this was much, much worse,” then this is the sport for you. I recently partook in hot yoga sessions at Down Dog on 34th Street — fun fact, that phrase actually increases gentrification by 3.4 percent every time it is said, who knew? — and had two major takeaways from the experience.
- Hindi means very little to me, especially when shouted at me by a blonde woman with six tattoos in a medley of other Eastern languages. I am much better at understanding the whimsical English translations like “warrior pose,” “child’s pose” and “white man who is sweating so profusely that he can no longer balance on his yoga mat.”
- We have nowhere near enough respect for room temperature. It is a homeostatic paradise. Oh, sweet, sweet 72.5 degrees, you oft-overlooked mistress. If you are having trouble appreciating room temperature, just imagine that one day, you will be placed ear-to-butt-to-hairless-chest in a hot motel-sized room with exposed brick walls and a shirtless middle-aged man in front of you. The temperature will burn like fire, and they will ask you to stretch. This is the yoga studio punishing you. And then you will give them money and say thank you. So goes the paradox of yoga.
Health Fad 2: Jogging
Oh, jogging, like running in place for people who want to get somewhere. Jogging is a fantastic way to tell your body, “I will chronically fatigue you into health.” And, given that you have the perseverance of Usain Bolt, or a recently divorced father trying to turn things around, you may just tire your body into shape. The trick with jogging is to go slow. Then, go slower. Then, maybe see a Starbucks? Will anyone know that you gave up other than you? Why not stop for a few minutes? You technically did do part of a jog.
Then order yourself a venti frappuccino. There is always walking.
Health Fad 3: Walking
I told you it was coming. Walking — jogging’s lazy younger brother; it is the sport about which no one can brag. Walking is like hiking for people who do not like inclines or nature. Walking is a godsend because it can be done casually at absolutely any time. Living at the beach and looking to burn a few hundred calories going down the shore? That is a great walk. Sitting at your desk looking to burn a few ten calories walking to buy a Snickers bar? That is still technically a walk. It is the exercise that keeps on giving.
I hope these tips helped as we gear up for summer. If you need any more tips, just text me at (XXX) XXX-XXXX!
Alex Mitchell is a junior in the College. HIGH-FUNCTIONING FAILURE appears every other Friday.