A brief note: The May print issue was written before the coronavirus pandemic took hold and turned all of our lives upside down. We hope all of these stories will be relevant again before too long, but meanwhile, stay safe, stay sane, and above all, stay away from other people for the time being. We can get through this!
Mistook your monthly magazine for a pack of One Wipe Charlies and flushed it down the toilet? No worries, here’s the online version!
In this edition:
- Everyone Out of the Water!
- A Gentleman’s Guide to Wearing a T-Shirt…
- Will Getting a Dog Really Help Me Get in Shape?
- Where Does the Weight Go When You Lose It?
- How to BS Your Way to a Six-Pack
- Oh FAQ! What’s the Best Way to Get Fit at the Beach?
Something looks… different?
Your eyes do not deceive you: Just as so many of us do when the sun starts threatening to make itself known once more, we’ve made some improvements around these mini-magazine parts — a splash of color here, a new font there, a general sprucing up to look good for summer.
Considering our new-and-improved seasonal glow up, perhaps it’s not a coincidence that we’re bringing you a bunch of great content this month tied to the idea of summer bodies — like what a lifeguard thinks when you bring yours to the beach; whether a dog can possibly be the personal trainer you’ve always wanted; and how to BS your way to a six pack, just to name a few.
So without further ado, let’s suck in that gut, spray on that fake tan and get reading.
1 – Everyone Out of the Water!
Duke, a lifeguard in Southern California, shares what he’s learned about getting fit at the beach from working the tower each summer.
What’s the strangest way you’ve seen someone trying to turn the beach into their own private gym?
Oh my God, we saw a guy riding a bike down by the water line, and then all of a sudden he’d ride into the water, all the way up to his waist! I was like, “Dude, what are you doing?” And he was like, “Yeah, man, it’s a great workout.”
Who’s in better shape: Your fellow lifeguards, or the original cast of Baywatch?
They’re equal, if you think about it, because a lot of the guys on that show were actual lifeguards. The creator of the show, Gregory J. Bonann, was and actually still is a lifeguard, and so was Newmie Newman. Plus, a lot of the extras were all real-life guards, too.
What’s the most memorable body you’ve seen on the beach?
…okay. Considering how much of your work requires you to go shirtless, does that make you conscious of how you look?
Not really, because if you’re a lifeguard, you have to be in shape. No one wants to be the out of shape guard. You want the public to trust that you are in shape to be able to perform the duties of the job.
Do you have any advice for people who’re trying to look their best at the beach?
Yeah — start running. Oh, and wear lots of sunscreen.
2 – A Gentleman’s Guide to Wearing a T-Shirt…
…everywhere that you’re really not supposed to.
On the Beach*
Beach Etiquette author George Henry Hutchinson says that wearing a t-shirt at the beach (ed: wait until after quarantine) is not totally taboo — just wear one of those SPF shirts or linen button downs, so it looks like you dressed for the occasion. Still, try taking it off when you jump in the water. You’re there to relax, after all.
In the Pool
You can put off removing that t-shirt until you’re actually in the pool, but if you insist on being clothed in the water, stylist Rayne Parvis advises wearing a swim shirt/rash guard, as it looks more intentional. Also, cotton shirts can spread bacteria, so please avoid.
Sexologist Sunny Rodgers says that clothing during sex is okay if it makes you feel comfortable, especially for a quickie. But she also says to remember that “confidence is sexy,” so don’t be afraid to tear off that shirt in a fit of passion (or at least, pretend that you’re confident).
3 – Will Getting a Dog Really Help Me Get in Shape?
The science says yes, but realistically, you could also just continue being a couch potato who now has a dog.
To the surprise of zero pet parents, copious studies have linked dog ownership with frequent walking and improved health. But many have been limited and rarely consider that walking a pooch could displace other forms of exercise, like going to gym (ed: wait until after quarantine), which would mean dog ownership is less of a health booster than made out to be.
Nonetheless, a 2019 study, published in Scientific Reports, took these questions into account and concluded that not only do dog owners spend about 300 minutes walking each week — about 200 more minutes than people without dogs — they also spend more time than other people jogging, cycling and visiting the gym, suggesting that dog owners still make time, and perhaps even more time, for other activities, despite walking their pups.
The study also found that a small portion of dog owners never walked their dogs, however (which, booo). So, yes, getting a dog might be the inspiration you need to get moving, but if you’re really determined to remain sedentary, you’ll still find excuses to avoid exercise. Dogs can be great motivators, but you still need to be the one to put down the potato chips and get off the couch.
4 – Where Does the Weight Go When You Lose It?
It…it has to go somewhere, right?
1. Unlike fuel for a car — where every drop of gas you put in is burned — humans often consume more fuel, i.e., food, than their bodies need. The excess ends up being stored as fat.
2. To lose weight, the reverse needs to happen: We need to consume less fuel than we need. Operating our bodies at an energy deficit means we burn that excess fat to make up the difference — a process known as ketosis.
3. When our bodies are in ketosis, that fat is converted into usable energy in the form of glucose, i.e., sugar, and waste products like carbon dioxide, heat and water.
4. The heat from this process is dissipated through your skin, either through the evaporation of sweat or the usual radiation of heat outwards from the body.
5. The water is expelled through sweat, too, but also through another waste removal process: Via your urine into the toilet. That’s right, you pee out your fat! Nature is gross.
6. Carbon dioxide is, of course, removed from your body through respiration. So the next time someone mentions it looks like you lost weight, tell them it was as easy as breathing.
5 – How to BS Your Way to a Six-Pack
Don’t have washboard abs in time for the unofficial start of summer? Fake them.
Sure, you’d like to have a six-pack. Who wouldn’t? But let’s be honest for a moment — it’s not gonna happen any time soon. To make those tummy muscles visible, you have to have, at most, seven percent body fat, and doing that is somewhat tricky when your idea of diet and exercise is walking to the front door to pick up your drunken delivery.
Fortunately, you have options. There are multiple ways to fake a six-pack, some of which have been proven effective by personal trainers, plastic surgeons and state-of-the-art Hollywood makeup artists, and others which… well, you can try? You never know, it may work for you. From a distance.
Anyway — let’s get started.
Spray It, Don’t Say It
While you won’t be able to fake this on a burger-heavy diet, spray tanning (ed: wait until after quarantine) can be a good way to give you more definition than you actually have. “Spray tanning makes everyone look like they’ve lost about 10 pounds, and they automatically look more defined,” says April Landes, owner of Bronze 365 in NYC. Landes adds, “Men love that I make their pecs look bigger with some shading,” a trick she learned through her extensive art background. She does caution, though, that it helps to have some definition already, and that it may be more effective for faking pictures than faking, y’know, real life. “You don’t want to spray abs on someone’s pudgy belly and have them look striped on the beach as they fade,” she warns.
Who better to tell us how to fake a six-pack than one of the guys who worked on 300, or as it’s better known, Six-Pack: The Movie.
For 300, makeup artist Shaun Smith says, “We started mostly with a palette of crazy-fit actors and stuntmen. For our makeup team’s part, we began by having them shave their entire bodies and use a self-tanner. Then we used a specific technique we developed for the film — using two custom mixed colors to airbrush the abs and chest to enhance the actors’ natural shadows. Zack [Snyder, the movie’s director] then had us push the limits on shadowing the heck out of the guys.”
While many may speculate that CGI also played a part in those abs, Smith insists that it didn’t — although he says he has been a part of other films that used CGI to touch up the unwanted jiggling on some very famous people (he refused to name names — trust me, I tried).
Lather Up Your Landscape
While it might sound like something you’d see on a late-night infomercial, there are some topical ointments you can use to bring out those hidden abdominal muscles, provided the layer of fat they’re concealed under isn’t too thick. Sculpting gels can provide you with a bit of definition through a mixture of substances like caffeine and aminophylline (an asthma medication that, when applied topically, can dehydrate the skin). This dehydration will tighten your blood vessels, making your tummy a bit more taut.
For $11 online, you can purchase a T-shirt with a six-pack design and forget about going to the gym ever again. It’ll totally fool everyone. Really.
Chicken a la King
If you’re looking to get last-minute swole, high-intensity trainer Ben Bailey recommends that you “eat about seven ounces of chicken breast with a bunch of broccoli,” the night before you want to show off those abs. The dense protein in the chicken, plus the nutrients in the broccoli, will tighten your skin, possibly even revealing those abdominal muscles. A last-minute addition of pushups may also help to swell those muscles, but this requires actual exercise, so beware.
For about $10,000, you can have abs installed by a plastic surgeon with a procedure known as ab etching. Usually this involves liposuctioning the excess fat, then using some of that fat to beef up the abdominal areas, resulting in an impressive-looking six-pack. Or, if you’re already in pretty good shape, it may just involve sucking the fat out of the creases of your muscles, thus letting those puppies shine through. Of course, if you’re undergoing the knife to achieve your six-pack, the cost (and risk) is a lot higher, but it still sounds better than going to the gym, right?
The Fast and the Curious
Fasting is a good way to actually get your abs to show. We don’t mean good as in healthy, mind you. Personal trainer Sean Salazar of AnywhereGym tells us that if you’re starting out with, at most, about 12 to 15 percent body fat, you can probably get to six-pack land within a few days to a week if you’re not eating at all. The only problem is that you might freak out in the meantime. “I wouldn’t expect people to do that for very long,” he says. “Even a couple of days is very difficult, as it can affect mood, energy and even brain function.” In other words, yeah, this is a terrible idea and you shouldn’t actually do it.
Salazar does say that intermittent fasting — like, say, only eating dinner — is also effective, and a healthier lifestyle choice versus absolute fasting, but it won’t reveal those abs as quickly (and it’s still not even that great for you).
Of Course You Know, This Means GWAR
Before every show, the monster members of thrash metal band GWAR use theatrical greasepaint to draw six packs on their… well, not entirely buff bodies.
“It became a thing way back in the beginning of the band, like [in] 1988,” says frontman Mike Bishop — aka Blothar. “It’s easy, it’s funny, it fits with the schtick. I love the idea of people looking at Blothar, and he has this huge fat belly with six-pack abs drawn on it.” The most amazing thing about it, though, is that it actually is pretty convincing. And Bishop swears, “It works. Weirdly, for GWAR, it actually does the job under stage lights of making us look more like comic-book characters, and it really does bring out the abs, especially from a distance.”
So even if you decidedly don’t “got it,” just remember that with a little greasepaint, you too could have the six pack of your dreams!
6 – Oh FAQ! What’s the Best Way to Get Fit at the Beach?*
Gyms are expensive, but the beach is free — and jam packed with everything you need for the perfect workout (ed: wait until after quarantine).
Step #1: See any driftwood lying around? What’s better than a water-logged piece of flotsam and jetsam for doing an overhead press? “Try doing four sets of 12 presses,” says Jeff Jalaba, a personal trainer in L.A. Keep those heels hip-width apart and don’t you dare flare those elbows!
Step #2: You know what’s fun? Kicking sand. You know what’s funner? Getting your sand-kicking ya-ya’s out doing some sand broad-jumps — i.e., jumping with two feet from one point to another — a low-impact, high-energy exercise and that’ll strengthen your core. “Do four sets of 15,” suggests Jalaba.
Step #3: Push-ups are tired. Sand burpees, on the other hand, are totally wired. Burpees, which are kind of like a combination of a push up, a squat, a jumping jack and a plank, are also great for your core. Jalaba suggests doing 10 of them four times.
Step #4: Why run inside on a boring treadmill when you can run at the beach? “Run some towers,” suggests Duke, a SoCal lifeguard. “Run from one lifeguard tower to the next, and as you get better at it, just keep adding towers.”
Step #5: Speaking of lifeguard towers, “There are two things lifeguard towers would be great for,” says Jalaba. “Incline push-ups on the ramp, and pull-ups on the railings. Do four sets of 12 incline push-ups and 4 sets of 10 pull ups.” But maybe ask the lifeguards first.
Step #6: It’d be a shame if we didn’t try one ocean exercise, right? “Stand between knee-high and waist-deep water and jump up, bringing your knees all the way up to your chest in a tuck,” says Jalaba. “Do 10 of those, four times.” Now take a nap, you must be exhausted.
Remember, any time your MEL magazine is missing, lost, eaten by a bear, or simply off to seek its little papery fortune all by itself, you can find the digital edition right here on Original Content. In fact, if you prefer to read it on a screen instead of on paper, you can remove the paper version from your shipments entirely by clicking right here. The trees will thank you!