We’re a society obsessed with wellness, which let’s face it, can be exhausting. Just when you think you’re up to date, your friend/ colleague/ Instagram feed (delete as appropriate) proves you otherwise. In this, People Like Us - a snippet of social satire - we take on the diet, fitness, and wellness trends that are pedalled by, well, people like us.
How do you know Tom does CrossFit? Don’t worry, he’ll tell you, and with evangelical enthusiasm. On the off-chance he doesn’t, you’ll glean it from muscles so robust, his shirt appears to be painted on. He’s never not without food. Lunch comes from a Tupperware that looks suspiciously like the meal he ate yesterday – and the day before that – but sweet treats figure heavily too, which is what happens when you eviscerate the calories of one Krispy Kreme in a single kipping pull-up. Unsurprisingly, he breezed through The Open, and is grunting his way to regionals. His WOD (workout of the day – c’mon, guys) takes place at 5am, often outside, sometimes in minus-4. He could train indoors at 7am, but nothing good ever comes from staying in your comfort zone, people.
SO WHAT ACTUALLY IS CROSSFIT?
It’s a functional fitness franchise that involves high-intensity elements of cardio, weight lifting and core training. Think obvious moves like press-ups, sit ups and sprints, but peppered with gymnastic elements such as handstands, headstands and pistols, weightlifting stuff like clean and press, and World’s Strongest Man undertakings like tyre flipping. It’s varied and inclusive, with the aim of helping everyone reach optimum fitness. Crucially, there’s no gym, just a ‘black space’ with a lot of equipment, and there are no mirrors, because it’s all about your performance, and not how you look.
Image | shutterstock
As a demographic, we are equal parts engaged and enraged. In the 2016 US election, according to a Pew Research Center report, 65% of millennial respondents stated they voted, compared to 55% of the general population. What’s more, outside of Westminster and Washington, millennials are the everyday changemakers. And it’s filtered down further still, with 16-year-old climate activist Greta Thunberg and Emma Gonzales - the poster girl for the gun safety March for Our Lives movement - both firmly in the Gen Z camp. In April of this year in a speech at the Houses of Parliament, Thunberg assured her critics that “we will go back to school the moment you start listening to science and give us a future.” Oh, and, she completed a two week zero-carbon Atlantic voyage. In awe.
You only have to look at social media to see the rallying cry of millennials, who make up most of its users. Not only does it distort our reality, but it gives us hundreds of posts, read: reasons, to feel a bit meh, about everything. What’s more, it’s easy to propagate that feeling by way of virtual.
The - virtual - action speaks volumes. The news of the world mediates with more vigour on our social apps than traditional news outlets. In fact, it can often hold the world to account. Take for instance the Amazon rainforest fire; news of it blazed through social media accounts in the West calling for immediate action to be taken, due to lack of mainstream media coverage.
As the first generation to have our lives repurposed as content, we’re attuned to the fact that micro-activism - likes, shares and comments - is not only a reflection of and reaction to the world’s events, but also of our individual morality. Indeed, we have a ‘share to care’ compulsion. While this of course, helps to raise awareness, there is the argument that some people only do it to make themselves appear empathetic and engaged. But is it a facade? Does it simply make a more self-indulgent society that’s devoid of real-life action or is it actually a powerful prospect of change. I would argue the latter. Why? Because it incites optimism, and those seemingly small clicks or conversations alter the minds of the masses. They make us see that individual activists can be just as powerful as big government.