Fitness fads make simple life choices complicated

Paleo, gluten-free, juicing, intermittent fasting, Pure Barre, P90X, CrossFit and Insanity. Everyone has tried something to improve his or her appearance.

Even if we were born with abs chiseled by the gods, no one would believe they were perfect. A better understanding of techniques purported to achieve aesthetic goals can help make a person happier with the results, or at least make the outcome safer.

Really, what are any of these crazy fads? Some claim certain foods are causing epidemic obesity, while many others cite “super foods” sure to eradicate cancer even though it’s still pending FDA approval. The exercise plans are just as diverse. They strengthen your heart, expand your lungs or give you an explosive power that will undoubtedly prove useful in your next internship.

If you’re anything like me, you stopped proclaiming your own immortality long ago. But some insidious voice still clings to the hope that, should you someday succumb to the historical peer pressure that is mortality, it will be when you are 120 and bored of life anyway. So, to keep this lie going just a little longer, we try it all.

The kitchen counter quickly becomes cluttered with the various pieces of the Magic Bullet super juicer and enough protein bars to choke Chuck Norris. You run to Whole Foods, grab $80 worth of vegetables and begin your healthy life. You berate your friends as you giddily juice for a week before jumping into the advanced CrossFit class.

Then you wake up just after the emergency medical technician (EMT) pumps you with glucose and bandages your bruised skull. As they cart you away  through a throng of pitying athletes, you curse your favorite deity.

Why is there no single easy answer? Sadly, as in life and Pokemon, not all plans work for every trainee. The right nutritional plan and exercise regime requires some research and trial and error.

The goal isn’t to base your diet and nutrition off of  the latest trends, but rather to find small ways to make your life healthier and more active.

So I’ll leave you with a few easier and healthier options. Maybe grab those dining hall vegetables instead of the meat. Maybe run instead of walk on the treadmill while watching Antiques Roadshow. Maybe even skip a couple of late-night junk food binges. You’re guaranteed to see an improvement.

Spencer Pretecrum is a senior majoring in psychology and creative writing.