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A Fitness Story in America

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When it comes to working out, it can be as simple as going for a walk or as difficult as doing drop sets after an anaerobic HIIT session using your FitBit -- because as with anything -- "there is an APP for that."  I think the large variety of fitness options available causes 'paralysis by analysis,' and we are all to blame in some way. There is literally something for everyone out there. Take a look and you will find something that fits your lifestyle, fitness level, and motivation. From standard gym workouts like Bootcamp, Body Pump and SPIN classes, to just lifting heavy things, to races that involve running, swimming, biking, and obstacle courses, there is something that will spark an interest in training and keep you moving. You just have to find what fits YOU. So experiment, and find what works for you.

Now for a little fun poked at the fitness industry.

What follows is an exaggerated fictional scenario, for your enjoyment.

Here is a little story about two "bros" (John Adkins and Jake Beachbody) trying to figure out what type of workout to do for the day. John has all the gear. Knee high socks, short silky shorts, special lifting shoes, but he forgot his shirt at his BFF Jake's house. Jake is finishing up his weekly Paleo meal prep putting his 21st piece of free range chicken into Tupperware.

John texts Jake and says, "Yo bro, let's go to my box. Today's WOD is the Murph. We can get it done as fast as possible -- you know -- AMRAP it each set!"

Jake replies, "I am down for working out, but I am in a lifting cycle -- you know, periodization -- besides, I don't want to mess up my gainz with all that cardio."

John argues, "Come on man -- stop drinking the periodization cool-aid. Let's go to the park and get some reps in--  maybe a PT pyramid or a superset (you can wear a weight vest) and make it a functional METCON with your TRX and kettlebells."

Jakes reluctantly agrees but firmly states, "OK but no cardio -- don't want to go too aerobic."

Once at the local park where there are outdoor pullup bars and a track, they start on their monotonous PT Pyramid. They soon find themselves getting easily distracted by checking out the posterior chain of the girls from Crossfit doing Fartleks and Tabatas in their Lululemon yoga pants and half shirts, and taking selfies while doing squats. The Yoga master in the middle of the field doing the splits while working on his TaiChi, Pilates, and mobility movements is also getting them to consider stretching more.

But that thought quickly goes away when a group carrying Gucci sandbags, a huge log and an American flag, and wearing cool $300 backpacks start low crawling across the PT field. The group is singing songs like they actually are enjoying being muddy, doing an injured man carry, (I think he really is injured), and apparently have been doing so for the past 24 hours. "WTF bro, let's go to that new gym down the street," says John as he gives up on working on his PR for his upcoming PFT just as a guy in a gas mask starts doing muscle ups on his pullup bar.

John and Jake compromise to try out a new place to train. They decide to try out the new gym down the street in the local strip mall. "John, I've never been in a giant purple gym before." Jake shrugs.

Immediately upon entering the "lunk alarm" goes off as the girl at the counter says "OMG, so sorry for the noise." She immediately offers them Tootsie Rolls and free pizza to come join the group on the purple "fitness" machines. Taken in by the lights, bright colors, and free food, they sign up for $10 a month or $199 for 18 months (actual sign). John and Jake like the fact that it is open 24 hours, but they soon find out it is just not open 24 hours in a row. When they get into the cardio area they see people doing Zumba and preparing for upcoming racing events (a Color Run and a Zombie Race). In the weight room, they find a guy passed out trying out the latest BFR workout (blood flow restriction). John bends over and says, "Bro, you put the bands around your biceps not your neck."

"Ah screw it. Let's go do the P90x at your house." John says to Jake.

"Hey good idea bro!" Jake answers. "You know, if you want I can be your Beachbody uplink and get a good deal for you on supplements."

After listening to how much money Jake is making each month with this pyramid system and not working out, John says, "You know bro, I think I am just going home to do my Shake-Weight and take a nap. Catch you tomorrow."

Jake finishes his "workout" with ahydrolyzed micro filtered iso-whey protein shake with creatine , bcaa, and glutamine, in order to take advantage of the anabolic window that only is open for 30 minutes.

And another day of fitness in America goes down.

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Contributor

Stew Smith works as a presenter and editorial board member with the Tactical Strength and Conditioning program of the National Strength and Conditioning Association and is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS). He has also written hundreds of articles on Military.com's Fitness Center that focus on a variety of fitness, nutritional, and tactical issues military members face throughout their career.

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