The more complex, difficult and expensive we make the simplest things, the more ridiculous it gets.
There seems to be something uniquely American about making simple things vastly more complex just to make money, especially making money off the overly-rich bank accounts of tech execs whom you would like to think would know better.
They don't. In a story that really underscores the fact that having money doesn't make you any smarter, Medium writer Sean Kernan penned this piece which caught my attention the other day:
It's not just the monumental stupidity of the investors. It is in every single way the perfect snapshot of how we as Americans, and American inventors, are forever seeking ways to monetize (read: over-price) life's simplest things, bamboozling people into spending damned near a mortgage payment for a simple glass of juice.
It's what we do. And here's what this article taught me about fitness.
Juicero took a very simple straightforward process, which involves squeezing a piece of fruit like an orange, and turned it into a Rube Goldberg machine costing a fortune.
Here's what I know about juicing:
You take an orange, you roll it on your counter to loosen the pulp. You cut it in half, and squeeze it by hand into a glass.
Or you get a ten-dollar plastic juicer from Kitchen Aid:
If your hands are arthritic or crippled, you can buy an $18.00 electric juicer:
Either way, it's simple, direct, easy, and gets you the results you what: a glass of fresh juice.
You do not need, even for bragging rights, a $700 juicer that costs you an additional $8.00 PER GLASS.
On top of that, fitness experts have been telling us for a good long time that you and I as Americans desperately need fiber. (That's another way of saying we're full of it but I digress).
Juicing aficionados argue strenuously that juicing is how to get it. I beg to differ. It sells pricey juicers.
Juicing isn't the be-all end-all the juicing folks want us to believe:
In other words, eat the carrot. Eat the apple. The skin and fiber are really, really important. Why? Well, perhaps because Nature designed our bodies to process the raw, natural foods as they exist in nature. Neanderthals didn't have or need juicers. Neither do we, although sometimes unique dietary requirements might mean that they add value. But not as a general rule.
How does this relate to fitness?
You can open a door, walk outside (in most cases) and keep walking.
Then walk home. Cost? A bit of time and effort.
You can hit the floor of your house and do floor body weight exercises, pushups, situps, the like. Yoga, burpees, etc.
The cost? A bit of time and effort.
Or you can spend thousands upon thousands for fitness machines, specialized and ridiculously foolish gimmicks.
The body was designed for movement. Most of the time, barring injuries or special needs, we can do most of what's necessary without specialized equipment.
To that, here from Men's Health, some basic and very simple tips from a coach who has himself moved too many pieces of pricey fitness gear across too many miles:
It is the American Way to get duped into dumping massive amounts of money and making vastly more complex those things which are easy, simple, and mostly free.
In the case of juicing, kindly, as a Central Floridian born and raised, surrounded by millions of citrus trees, I learned early on that all I really needed was a knife and a glass. Voila! Fresh juice.
Not only did I not need a $700 juicer, nor was my family in any position at the time to fund some $8.00 for EACH glass of juice, which is what Juicero would have cost. ( Natch, such things didn't exist back then, but right now, with many millions of us suddenly plunged into poverty because of Covid, I hardly think that making things vastly MORE expensive is a good business model).
From Sean's article:
You could simply squeeze the ($8.00) juice packs rather than use the machine. In fact, you could squeeze the juice faster with your hands than the machine could.
He further points out the stupidity of the investors, whose idiocy gave them a very public black eye:
Among the foremost flaws in the SV startup community is its arrogance and sense of groupthink, which occasionally gets exposed on a faulty premise. Additionally, this overpriced juicer reeked of elitism: Who funds a plan for $700 juicer machines? A product that does nothing more for the human body than eating a few fruits and vegetables?
If you forgive me the obvious analogy, who buys stupid exercise machines, ridiculous food products, extremely pricey pills with inane and un-provable weight loss promises? We do. In all fairness, I have too. To this, an article by my favorite Keep It Simple fitness and performance expert Brad Stolberg:
From the article:
A new report from the Global Wellness Institute, a nonprofit focused on research in preventative health and wellness, found that Americans spent $264.6 billion dollars on physical activity in 2018, far more than any other nation. The United States leads the world in spending for every segment, including fitness classes ($37 billion), sports and recreation ($58 billion), apparel and footwear ($117 billion), equipment and supplies ($37.5 billion), mindful movement, such as yoga ($10 billion), and related technology ($8.1 billion). And yet, according to the academic journal The Lancet,for all of this spending, we rank 143rd globally for actual participation in physical activity. More than 40 percent of Americans fail to meet the global standard of 150 minutes per week of moderate physical activity (e.g., fast-paced walking, gardening) or 75 minutes per week of intense physical activity (e.g., running, strength training).
We spend a fortune to get nowhere.
Just like the folks did at Juicero.
The more money, effort, time and technology we invest, the more resources we rip off the face of the earth to create stupid stuff that doesn't work, the more frustrated we all get. We want results. Somehow we have been convinced by the American Marketing Machine that we have to spend thousands upon thousands to get those results.
Health and fitness do NOT have to cost a fortune. I learned that the hard way. Some of us never do.
Want juice? Eat an orange. Or cut and squeeze the damned thing into your own cup.
Want better health? Open the door, start walking.