Amanda Reads: Fitness Junkie

This week, I’m throwing out a timely book that fits right along with those New Year’s resolutions everyone is talking about: Fitness Junkie by Lucy Sykes and Jo Piazza. The book comes out in July of 2017, which should be nice timing for the second wave of fitness fantacism–“bikini season.” (Full disclosure: I received an egalley of this book through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review)

fitness-junkieThis book is a satirical take on fitness trends. Janey Sweet sets out to lose 30 pounds so that she can keep her position as the CEO of B, a wedding dress company that runs with her best friend, Beau.

Because she has inherited a ton of money from her family’s company, Sweets Chocolates, she is able to jump on every fitness trend out there without concern for her wallet in spite of being in jeopardy of losing her job, which Beau has threatened as a result of her not fitting in with the super-thin image he wants for his gowns.

I had a bit of difficulty with this book in quite a few places, but ultimately I did feel driven enough to finish it. Although I’m a huge fan of satire, I found myself taking pause at certain points in the book, wondering whether perhaps it had gone a bit too far. The term “manorexic,” for instance, seemed unnecessary.

At other points, though, the book was definitely a humorous take on how ridiculous trends for “healthy” eating, weight loss, and fitness can get. One character goes on diets like “the white diet” (where you can only eat things that are white, like egg whites and milk) and “the clay diet” (where you literally eat clay). The main plot of the book surrounds The Workout, a workout so exclusive that its location is a secret and the participants all have to wear the same color. I found myself laughing out loud and cringing at the same time as I realized how close to truth some of these satirical trends were–and how dangerous people are willing to go when trying to fit impossible beauty standards.

My main issue with the book was that the stakes simply didn’t seem to exist. Janey was never worried about money, her job being more of a hobby that she didn’t want to lose than something she relied on. What would happen if Janey didn’t lose the 30 pound Beau demanded? Nothing, really. She’d just go home and join up with the family business.

Although the mystery surrounding The Workout carried through well enough, I still wanted to feel a bit more investment in Janey’s journey than I ever could. Even her love life came too easily, with her juggling two men at once and then seamlessly choosing one without drama. I would’ve liked to feel a bit more tension that made me feel more concern for her, making her seem more human.

Plus, for someone who was supposedly not at all watching her weight at the offset, she seemed to fall very easily into the workout routine without much trouble–yet another thing that didn’t seem plausible.

That said, I did overall enjoy this book. It was entertaining to re-examine the bandwagons so many of us jump on, from juice to bone broth to the next trendy fitness class. As you struggle to keep any resolutions you may have made, it might be nice to pick this one up to be reminded that you don’t need to buy into every trend to live a happy, healthy life.

I recommend this one to anyone who’s ever felt a bit confused by trying to keep up with trendy things, but not to anyone who might be at risk for getting triggered for eating or body dysmorphic disorders.

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