He drinks organic Swiss chard every 42 minutes. He refuses to be in the same room as plastic. He vomits on gluten-containing products. He wears Power Bar-sponsored spandex and bikes his 43-mile commute to work (and tells you about it). He does 3 sets of 12, even during sex. And afterwards, he asks if you mind standing up while cuddling.
He’s Mr. Extreme (“That Guy” ‘s cousin). You may know some version of him, or even have a little bit of him in yourself. There’s something about reading a hot topic and stepping it up 24 orders of magnitude that seems to really drive our cars, instantly making us feel in control, superior, healthy…Moderation is for pussy cats who can’t hack the real deal.
But today’s blog is not about the mental issues Mr. Extreme and his devotees cultivate in their organically obsessive brains. Today is about the fact that last month his self-centered butt donated all the chairs in your house to his worst enemies…Is Mr. Extreme finally onto something? Or is he just secretly wishing for varicose veins because he heard they are the next badge of health?
REDBULL GIVES US WINGS!! (Seth Casteel’s brilliant photography!)
Caffeine fashion has evolved. In the sweet yore-days, I worked at Starbucks, where this one strung-out guy would roll deep with his posse every night before closing and ask for his “late 8,” a packed 8 shots of espresso he’d promptly slam to demonstrate he actually could compensate for his shortcomings. Bartending through grad school, I’d see a different dude stumble in; he, too, would ask just a little too loudly for a Redbull-vodka, bragging to the nearby barstool that the caffeine “metabolizes the alcohol so I can drink more.” (PS, dude #2: not true!) And now, we have the calorie-conscious, I’m-so-productive-I-exhale-steam 4 AM worker-outers who heed Jim Rome’s morning plugs for a 5-Hour Energy shot, with all the caffeine you need in one little 1.5 oz mini iridescent bottle.
What gives? Is this cool? Should we all trade in our coffees for some Venom Hyperdrive so we, too, can dominate our own little worlds with a swagger and some to spare, despite the fact that our eyelid twitches and we absentmindedly consume our cuticles during “downtime”?
You’ve heard him: those porn-like grunts; the grating screams of chains dog-piling on top of each other; the head-butting of tons of heavy iron against…more tons of heavy iron; blaring beats at next-door-night-club decibel levels advertising his music taste; even the almost-audible throbbing of his veins painting his body like a corrugated road-map. It’s “that guy” at the gym: conductor of Cacophonous Symphony, demanding you to listen, hoping that you’ll envy, and expecting that you’ll judge.
Enough people have slammed on “that guy.” He puts tuna in his oatmeal. He deadlifts his car for fun. He brings chicken breasts to movies as snacks. And he wouldn’t be caught dead in the gym without his beloved protein shake, either the home-spun version found in some measuring Tupperware-like bottle, or the Muscle Milks that are typically sold at the gym’s front desk.
But can we learn something from “that guy”? And what would happen if he saved 3.75 on his Muscle Milk or 44.98 on his Whey protein powder and just rolled with some 99 cent Moo-tastic chocolate milk instead (oh, the image-detonating horrors!) And while we’re at it, what’s up with chocolate milk for the rest of us who don’t bench press the weight of an adolescent polar bear?
Committing to your health does not have to be a drag. Nor should it be! And, more importantly, it doesn’t have to be a massive life overhaul, either. You don’t have to workout more than you sleep, or swear off all social dinners with friends while you sit at home and sadly nibble on the raw chard leaf you grew in your organic garden. (Actually, please don’t!) The top thing to remember about a healthy lifestyle is that it’s made up of small, consistent, healthy choices, not obsessive and overly-restrictive imprisonment (especially not something that leads to sleeping on a treadmill at 4:00 AM!)
As the quintessential yoga instructor may breathily whisper during class, “if it’s available to you,” here’s a challenge….