It’s that time of year again… With summer vacations being over people are flocking back to the gyms with a bad conscience.
It’s like this every year: in September and January people feel guilty about not having exercised enough and eaten to excess during their holidays, determined to change their lifestyles for good this time—and then they give up after a month or so.
Which is fine because that makes the gym much less crowded for us regulars.
Even though I’ve noticed a slight change in recent years—more and more people seen to be realizing the benefits of regular but not extreme exercise and not adapting some crazy diet but simply having everything in moderation—the trend is definitely still present.
The gyms cash in on people’s guilt, advertising practically the same classes as they’ve run every year with slight modifications and new and fancy names like ‘Sexy Hiit Spinning,’ ‘Mix Pilates,’ ‘Core Power,’ ‘Buttlift,’ ‘Hot Yoga Flex,’ ‘ShockWave,’ ‘Kick Fusion’ and ‘Turbo Tabata.’
One year, adding ‘Fit’ to the name of classes, like ‘KrossFit,’ ‘StepFit’ and ‘LatinFit,’ was all the rage, now they’re experimenting with all sorts of other words to make the timetable more attractive.
This is Iceland we live in, by the way, and English is not our native language. Yet fewer and fewer classes go by understandable Icelandic names, like ‘Þol og styrkur’ (‘Stamina and strength’), which actually makes sense and is something I would like to attend.
That class might also actually live up to its name, whereas there wasn’t much butt lifting going on in ‘Buttlift,’ no kicking in ‘Kick Fusion’ and I doubt ‘Sexy Hiit Spinning’ is all that sexy.
I think I’ll pass on that one and go to my regular classes instead, which have remained more or less the same for years in spite of constantly changing names.
With the latest exercise trends come the latest fads in nutrition.
We’ve seen it all: protein shakes, juices, no wheat, no dairy, no sugar, no carbs, no fat, no starch, only green vegetables, only apples, only purple fruit, only meat, only raw food… and now people seem to think it’s healthy to have whipped cream and bacon every day while omitting fruits and vegetables. Right, that won’t block up the arteries.
And it’s not just self-proclaimed health gurus who spread this nonsense but healthcare workers too, like midwives, whose dietary recommendations for pregnant women seem not only to vary between professionals but also change every few years.
My cousin recently had her third child, 16 years after her firstborn arrived. Back then, her midwife recommended that she have cod liver oil, liver pâté and liver sausages, while today all things liver are a big no-no. Too much Vitamin A, apparently.
No wonder people’s heads start spinning with all the mixed messages out there and that they quickly give up on their good intentions of leading a healthy lifestyle.
Too bad, because we need adults who can serve as role models for the confused youth, who take the hint from society, the media and their peers that everything is about looks.
A colleague told me her teenage daughter’s friends are too embarrassed to go swimming and shower in the nude in front of others because they figure that they’re either too fat or too skinny. And they started stuffing their bras at 12. How sick is that?
Of course looks matter too but beauty comes in many forms. People who are happy and healthy feel good about themselves and radiate a certain beauty, regardless whether they have a few extra pounds, small breasts, big calves or a hooked nose.
Beauty lies in variety and being true to oneself. What fun would it be if we all looked the same? Exercising and eating should be about staying fit and feeling good, not desperately trying to fit into those jeans that are one size too small.
Given the good weather I’m off to (sexy fusion hiit fit) swimming. It will be bliss. And after that I’m going to enjoy a perfectly guilt-free lunch.
Eygló Svala Arnarsdóttir – firstname.lastname@example.org