Strolling into the Rec Center, you may spot the occasional neckless being sporting a sliced-sleeved beer adorned tank top fiercely fixated on the vein-popping, clenched image in the mirror. Scrawny panting figures in the distance roll like mice on a wheel and the rare blurry spec upstairs on the track lane is so speedy he has to honk, "On your left!" before trampling the common-paced. You may know the few who inhale energy shakes, then retreat to their cellar of creatine, the few who read the label for croutons and the few who won't eat in public.
There is also the few who bypass the gym all together. They call RamRide to pick them up from McDonald's when it closes, only to be carted to Taco Bell. They'd rather beer-bong gravy than liquor and for food-the best is what's quicker. There's a slight problem with these people. Yet, in the midst of these animal-house years, these extremists with such contrasting life styles will only end up in a parallel attack of the heart when the party's all over.
Of course, your body is young and invincible. A swift roll through the drive-thru won't destroy that manly frame, and you can swig down beer every night and still have a six-pack. People hoot for you when you play sports and whenever you drink Hypnotic girls flock to you and pour it on their bodies like a music video. Yes, life may be great now; you may even be one of the few at the gym that pump weights until you faint. The point is, no matter how hot you are now, or how intense your workouts are now, if you don't regulate what works into your body and what you work out, your health depreciates.
I admit, there once was a time when I was so lazy I would crawl up my stairs and lifelessly lie at the top to regain my strength. It took too long to cook microwave food and sun-tan rotating was stressful. Then a couple years later right after night meets morning I woke up in the fitness capital of the world to peek out the window spotting a cluster of track-racers pattering around in the parking lot hauling tires over their shoulders. I glanced back at my empty pizza boxes-then parted them aside. I had an epiphany that morning. I really am no different than those tire-hauling ants-we are all in our prime and might as well make the best of it. Ever since then I took eye to my nation's health. I became more aware how those who avoided the gym stuck together and those who loved the gym stuck together. I'd ratio out the number of skinny-extra larges in airports. I became conscious of the shouting diet books when I'd trot into Barns and Nobles and the loud messages from the media with their impractical body icons. We are an image-obsessed culture forcing a dynamic split into the surrendering of our Western ideology. Whether snatching a 770 calorie quarter pounder with cheese or burning 770 calories on the treadmill a day, we maintain to decline any direction into society's balance of health.
Fortunately, Fort Collins is far from the fried state of Texas and has been notorious for fitness. Since we are paying for the rec center anyway, and most of you freshman are like 8 feet away, we might as well use it. About 3 hours of action a week (gym action) will amplify your metabolism, endorphins and self-appeal. If you are overwhelmed with all the fast-food joints, there are places like Yum Yum's on Elizabeth, Sushi by Kevin on College, Nate's Seafood, Olive Garden to dine and Whole Foods and Wild Oats to shop at-and let me remind you, it's not so much where you eat at but what you eat. Almost every menu will have something that wasn't plunged in a sea of grease. I'm obviously telling you what you already know; this is nothing new. Yet, humans were made to roam the earth, and spear off some meat and graze on some leaves every now and then. Not to be concentration-camp looking thin or to be mistaken for moving vans. It is obvious times have changed when you the only exercise you get is from the mere push of the pedal through the drive-thru. If anything, you are all at the hottest point of your life that serves its biological purpose of attracting a mate. Most importantly though, you need to attract you to yourself. I am not some mountain-climbing, herbal beard-loving wise fitness master. I'm not all concerned about my weight-I am not a slave to the gym or to food labels. I have just seen too many smart attractive kids become obsessed with controlling their image, or being out of control of their image. So pedal your way to school, but steer away from those diet trends and dollar menus. In an unstable world of tearing down and building up, we can at least stabilize our own frame and direct ourselves from there.
Jennae Mendoza is a Junior journalism major. Her column will be running all summer.