If there’s one thing I’ve learnt while living in the USA, it’s that Americans love being obsessed about something, and they love going to the extreme.
Not once in England did I see anyone dress up to go to the cinema, but here, each time a Harry Potter film comes out, you can expect it to happen. The same happened for Twilight, Lord of the Rings, Star Trek etc..
But why? Why the need to obsess about something. Interestingly enough, it’s always the same group of people. While you might think that of the 1000 group of people, a subset dress up for Harry Potter, and another unique subset dresses up for Twilight, I’d be willing to bet there’s a huge overlap. There are just people who like to be obsessed about stuff, and dress up for it, so they obsess about lots of different shows. It must give them excitement…. or something.
The same goes for exercise. People here either go to Gold’s Gym every morning at 5am, or eat twelve doughnuts a day. There doesn’t seem to be a medium. I don’t really know anyone who goes to the gym twice a week. It’s either zero or five.
Seriously, what’s the deal with 5am! I’d have to be really, really in need of exercise to put myself through that. In fact, since I moved here I’ve pretty much fluctuated between those two groups. When I was younger I was on the track, cross-country and tennis teams all at the same time. I played tennis five times a week for two hours and ran between 30-50 miles(also each week). Then, later, I took up mountain biking, and would go every night for between 20-40 miles at a time.
So, what do I do now? In a word, nothing. Since graduating from University, I’ve had a desk job, and no reason to train. Before, the practice wasn’t so much for exercise, it was to win. Those who know me know I’ve always been extremely competitive. Whether it’s the final of a tennis tournament, a state championship 800m race, or just a game of scrabble. I just hate losing. That was always part of the reason I trained. In England I was a bit of a strange runner. I ran the 100m, the 1500m, and cross-country. Why didn’t I ever run the 400m. I’m not really sure. Probably because I was lazy and it hurts the most. To this day I’m still not sure what hurts more, the 400m, or the 800m. If you run them correctly they’re both excruciating. Most of the time, during cross-country I would jog along toward the front of the pack,
When I first started taking cross-country seriously, I would just run at school during practice, and that was it. That is, until I lost. I still remember it like it was yesterday. I spent the entire Christmas break running twice a day, usually 6 miles in the morning, and another 6 at night. And I ran fast. And I ran outside, like you’re supposed to, not on some fake treadmill. It’s the hardest I’ve ever trained, and I was only 16. For probably the only time in my life I was able to run a sub 50 second 400m, and a sub 2 minute 800m. Unfortunately, I came back after the break, won, and went back to only running during class time. Of course, it’s not quite that simple. Cross-country was always from September to December, while Tennis AND Track was in January. Juggling both Tennis and Track was a bit of a challenge. I had track from 3-4pm and Tennis from 4-6pm (and on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays I actually had a part time job from 6-10pm… in the CourgarEat at BYU…. Nothing I’m too proud of, but you should never be ashamed of working during school. Believe me, I’ve met some lazy students who lived off of Daddy’s dime, but I’ll leave for another post. Anyway I made some cool friends, and dumped it for a job in computers as soon as I could).
So, back to the original topic of fads. Two years ago P90x was all the rage. I distinctly remember going to lunch (at a fast food place) with a couple of friends. One of them ordered enough food for 3 people, and then complained that P90x was not working. That was the first I’d heard of it, and all experience taught me was that it couldn’t do the impossible.
It seems that the newest exercise fad is Zumba. It seems like a great idea. A ‘fun’ way to lose weight. I already have dozens of friends (though all girls) who are obsessed with it. Seeing as P90x is targeted mostly at males, it was only a matter of time. Still, just as everyone’s obsession with P90x has slowly died down, I expect the same to happen to Zumba. By design, Zumba is repetitive, and there are only so many different ways of jumping up and down. Still, I suppose anything that motivates someone to be healthy is a good thing. Denisse has started to look into it, and it’s interesting to see her check out youtube videos of it. It’s ironic, but the more popular an exercise programme is, the less effective it is to do it in a group. On all the youtube videos there are a couple instructors with literally hundreds of people crammed in together imitating. You can clearly see that there isn’t room for any of the audience to properly imitate. Still, can’t blame them for trying.