Getting in shape is an ugly process

By Leah Kind

All right, it’s more official now than ever. Spring is finally upon us! There’s that special feeling in the air, the one that whispers:”Boy, are your legs pasty!! Sure you want to be wearing that Old Navy mini-skirt?”

Just like New Year’s, people start to develop big motivational delusions of grandeur in the spring. And besides those more trivial and easily forgettable spring resolutions, like cleaning out your closet, going to class and not text-messaging while driving, there also comes the desire for personal improvement.

This inkling usually starts about a week prior to Spring Break, when students realize the emergency winter weight they packed on during the cold season (you know, just in case the cafeteria really DID get shut down by the weather, depriving them of life-sustaining bowls of Lucky Charms at 2 a.m.) might not look the greatest being squeezed into a bathing suit and flaunted in Puerto Salsa de Frio.

But now that it’s warmer outside, there are more kids taking it to the streets. Not to rebel, not to protest, but simply to play, “Whose outfit is least conducive to a workout?” As someone who’s exercised, in some respect, all my life, I think I have the authoritative voice to break this code of silence: You can’t look cute and work-out at the same time. Oh, sure, there are a select few people who have managed to look a little better, but how great can the aerobic effects really be if you’re not breaking a sweat? And does the color pink really aid in toning up? Are words written across the butt of shorts and sweatpants helpful in case you forget your name or high school activity? If there are some new exercise secrets that I’m not privy to, I’d really like to get in on them, too.

The current trend seems to be moving in the direction of itsy bitsy workout clothing — clothing that I would need a workout just to fit into. When I’m running, I don’t want to think about how good, or more realistically, how horrible, I look. I’m trying to think positively about how I’ll look in the future – and that’s the reason my face is getting all red and I’m sweaty and tired and my shorts are bunching up. Not to look cute now, but to look better then. We’re at now.

Let’s face it – exercising is hard! If it were easy to lose weight or to tone up, we wouldn’t have TV spots featuring crazy Anna Nicole Smith hopped up on diet pills or the amazingly creepy John Basedow’s “Fitness Made Simple” tapes shoved in our faces at every commercial break. Is it just me, or do Basedow’s commercials look more like low-budget adult entertainment? Shudder.

Some people may look for the easy way out in achieving personal health, like caffeine enemas or drinking your own urine, but faced with these options, gee, I dunno, it just seems simpler to buy a larger pair of jeans. So, in the spirit of spring resolutions, I say, get out there and have fun! Leave the Donna Karan water bottle holder and Polo Ralph Lauren hair-clips at home, and just enjoy the weather. But watch out for that sweaty girl in the man’s T-shirt, running to the John Basedow audiotapes. She’s cranky.

Columns reflect the opinion of the author and not necessarily that of the Northern Star staff.