What the hell is a ‘summer body’ anyway?

Memorial Day will unofficially usher in the start of summer next weekend, and as someone who listens to a steady diet of sports talk radio, the commercials for weight loss programs have started to ramp up as well.

And all of these weight loss programs—such as Awaken 180 and New England Fat Loss— make the same vague and apocryphal promise: To help you get into your “summer body.”

The stations and their advertisers obviously understand the sports talk radio target demographic, which is essentially me: middle-aged men with a commute to work and a spare tire encircling their midsection.

Like most middle-aged American men, I could afford to lose a few pounds. While I’m not morbidly obese, my days of wrestling at 160 pounds are long gone. But I wouldn’t call myself “fat.” However, “doughy” might be a serviceable euphemism.

According to the BMI chart—and I understand that the BMI chart is a dubious and sometimes dangerous measure of healthy weight—I’m not a lost cause, but the opportunity to get my “summer body” continues to dwindle in my rearview as I speed off to another rendezvous with a cheeseburger and a beer.

But here’s the thing I don’t fully understand: What the hell is my “summer body” anyway?

I mean, I exercise—not obsessively, but I get my ass to Planet Fitness a few times a week—and I try to make decent decisions when it comes to food and dining out, but I’m pretty sure that even in the prime of my youth, I never had a “summer body.”

Even if I were to decide to live a healthy, ascetic lifestyle and join one of those weight loss programs, I’m fairly certain that I’m not going to take off my shirt at Hampton Beach this July and look like Jake Gyllenhaal in the recent remake of “Road House.”

And what motivation would I have to seek out a “summer body” that isn’t entirely vain and douchey?

Is my wife going to parade me, her new 49-year-old trophy husband, around Manchester with his chiseled “summer body,” while I sip a fat-free iced latte with soy milk and poke at a cup of avocado ice cream[1]?

If having a “summer body” means depriving myself of my small pleasures in life, I would rather remain a middle-aged Dough Boy.

If having a “summer body” means that I’ll have to pass on having some hot dogs and beers at the Fisher Cats games this summer, no thank you.

If having a “summer body” requires me replacing my Bud Lights with vodka-sodas[2] on a sweltering afternoon in August, I’m going to have to politely pass on that one. Besides, if I drink too much vodka, I’ll be showing off my “summer body” at the prison in Concord.

For now, I think I’m going to stick with my “autumn body” and my baggy clothing. Also, I get sunburned easily and don’t really care for being outdoors anyway.

So if you happen to see someone on Hampton Beach ripped like Jake Gyllenhaal in “Road House,” I assure you that it is not me.


[1] I wasn’t invited to participate in Tom Brady’s roast, but there you go, Tommy boy. Feel the burn.

[2] In the words on Ron Swanson: Clear alcohols are for rich women on diets.