WHAT WE’RE READING
1. Outdoor Voices Blurs the Lines Between Working Out and Everything Else
By Jia Tolentino
The New Yorker
An interesting look into the athleisure industry. And an investigation into the meaning of athleisure: is it just a preferred portmanteau for sportswear, or, as Outdoor Voices founder Tyler Haney explains disdainfully, is it “clothes that were made for watching TV while occasionally thinking about the gym”?
I was this-many-years old when I discovered that (with some exceptions) Outdoor Voices fit like Spanx, thanks to this article (and a photoshoot with my friend Yan Chen). Whether this entices you to buy or repels you from the brand is up to you.
But damned if they don’t look fantastic. And they also do a weirdly good job of looking more comfortable than they are (yes, I am still recovering from disillusionment from my visions of super-soft cotton, freshly woven from fields one might choose to run in while wearing these leggings and crop tops. And #doingthings).
2. The Last Conversation You’ll Ever Need to Have About Eating Right
and The Last Conversation You’ll Need to Have on Eating Right: The Follow-Ups
By Mark Bittman and David L. Katz
New York Magazine / Grub Street
Ever wish you had a user manual to food? This long-read is the handiest way to find out what’s good to eat, with all the fact and nuance the subject of nutrition deserves. It does a great job debunking fad diets, too. And the snark is delightful:
What kinds of foods do you think will help support weight loss?
Wholesome, whole, unprocessed plant foods in particular. And, any food you eat while riding in the Tour de France.
Fans of Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and the vegetarian- or vegan-curious can find encouraging answers like this:
Just tell me. Ethical concerns aside, which diet is the best: vegan, vegetarian, or omnivorous?
We don’t know, because the study to prove that any one diet is “best” for human health hasn’t been done, and probably can’t be. So, for our health, the “best” diet is a theme: an emphasis on vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, lentils, nuts, seeds, and plain water for thirst. That can be with or without seafood; with or without dairy; with or without eggs; with or without some meat; high or low in total fat.
The article and its follow-up also just got nominated for the James Beard Award for Food Coverage in a General Interest Publication.
3. The Secret Sexual History of the Barre Workout
The fitness phenomenon once taught women how to radically improve their sex lives.
By Danielle Friedman
I don’t think there’s anyone who has left their first barre class without thinking this very thought:
(And then promptly forgetting it and never again batting an eyelash at hip-thrusters, because barre observes Fight Club rules.)
Friedman returns to the question of why some barre exercises are kind of sexual with a fascinating history of barre founder Lotte Berk, “a free-love revolutionary who began teaching the regimen in 1959.”
Friedman writes that Berk “specifically wanted to advance what she called ‘the state of sex’ by encouraging women to pursue sex for their own pleasure”:
“Berk, a German-Jewish dancer who fled the Nazis for London after they forbade her from performing, originally invented the workout that would become ‘barre’ to recover from a back injury. Over time, she found that her special combination of ballet moves, yoga, and rehabilitative exercises helped her not only to heal and hold onto her dancer’s figure, but also to get more pleasure from sex.”
It’s sex-positive, feminist story, leading to:
“Today’s barre enthusiasts, who range from college-aged to grandmothers and are willing to pay $20 to $40 per class, say they don’t always want to feel sexual while working out.”
Kudos to the resurrection of barre’s secret sexually liberating origins. Now try to forget this next time you’re in barre class.
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