Fitness – the category 5 storm

“Honey, do I look fat in this dress?” An automatic shake of the partner’s head, eyes glued to the phone. Fast-forward three months, and this question has sort of changed in shape and form to, “does this dress show off my arms and my almost flat belly?” The partner’s head has now learnt to nod instead of shake, but the eyes need to be trained to come unglued from the phone screen. 

Sweat is the new glam make-up du jour. From yoga to zumba to pilates to boot camps, fitness centers are coming up at every turn, on every street, and every single one of them is packed to max capacity. People are waking up earlier to hit these gyms. There are even twenty-four hour fitness centers to accommodate those who cannot make it during the usual business hours! Even the basic gyms, those that house a mere treadmill, stationary bike, and some weights, are seeing an increased attention, especially in offices, as more and more office-goers opt to use the one hour lunch break to work out and then have a quick power lunch at their desks.

Keto, intermittent fasting, small meals every few hours, there are now so many different diets to choose from. The underlying concept of them is still the same, the age-old wisdom – eat your veggies. Fried, sugary snacks are slowly fading away, to be replaced with healthier options. Gluten-free, low carb, no triglycerides, sugar-free are the new favorites to write on packaged foods. 

Fitness is now a huge industry, with companies sponsoring hundred-day challenges, where people are encouraged to document their hundred day fitness journey, from exercises to food choices, multinational brands are now actively involved in sponsoring and advertising even street-level fitness challenges and runs. Ten thousand steps is not just a number on your fitness tracker any more, but one of the many fun challenges in good old nine-to-five organizations! Employees are encouraged to form teams and set step goals. The team that achieves the goal first, gets a reward and recognition on the company’s social media page! 

With more and more celebrities flaunting their no make-up, sweaty fitness routines on social media, sweat has achieved a social status of sorts. Miranda Kerr, Jennifer Lopez, the Rock, Brad Pitt, and so many more famous faces (and bodies) have their own fitness channels. Stars like Jennifer Hudson, Alec Baldwin, and Mariah Carey, have famously transformed themselves, shedding the excess weight to looking leaner and fitter. Social media is inundated with pictures of celebrities with their trainers, burning carbs and building bodies, lifting weights, pushing bars. The older the celebrity, the greater the interest in seeing them do things one would expect from someone half their age. Yoga, traditionally seen as a boring, slow routine, is now a world-wide rage.

Fitness trackers strapped to wrists are enabled to vibrate at regular intervals as reminders to get up from the office chair and walk, and even to drink more water. There are apps that help document food intake. They even count your calories for you! You really have no excuse anymore now, do you? All this points to the underlying good news – health is finally receiving its due! We all know that physical activity helps keep many life-threatening illnesses away. The fitness storm around the world has just been upgraded to category five, and no one will be spared. “I am too busy to work out!” is now passé.

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