The guy on the left just finished book one of the trilogy.

Okay, so unless you’re in denial, live in an Amish community or are vehemently against all things book-related, you’ve heard of Fifty Shades of Grey. You’ve probably heard that it’s all BDSM. And, it is–to a very mainstream degree. (I am capable of making those kind of distinctions. If we ever become great friends, I may tell you this amazing story of when I accompanied a fellow 303er to an interview with a pro domme. Wowy.) Anyway, I’m in the middle of the series and am feeling like such a pervert. 1. I giggle, audibly, every time the protagonist refers to her vagina as either her sex or as there (as in, “He touched me…there.”). I’m pretty sure this kind of language is what makes it fall under the category of “mommy porn.” I mean, you know society has reached a new low when phrases like that even exist. 2. I feel that the only redeeming qualities the book has are its sex scenes (gurrrrl, it’s more angst-y than Twilight, except they do the damn thing in this book). 3. Tyler, at The BodyLab decided to put me on blast–announcing to the entire gym that I wasn’t panting because I was walking uphill on the treadmill, but because I was reading this smut. While I’m not terribly interested in pornography, I have no real moral or personal hangup with porn itself, as long as it’s not interfering with one’s life. But, I’d put the same parameters on almost anything–eating dairy, gardening, cocaine… Do your thing, ya know? I just won’t be joining you (that’s right–those are my hard limits).

“What does this have to do withe exercise, Laura? Sounds like another egregious over-share and a blatantly self-involved intro,” is probably along the lines of what  you’re thinking right now. But, Fifty has everything to do with exercise. I mean, if someone could bottle mojo and sell it has a weight loss supplement, they’d be rich. In fact, I think that is a great way for Viagra to reach a new market. (So help me god, if I miss out on making a billion dollars on one of my fleeting ideas…)

Anyway, let’s bring this full circle. For a long time, I didn’t give a shit about the way that I looked. I guess most of my life that was the case. Not to be a conceited a-hole, but I pretty well figured that my head (face + hair) was awesome enough and I myself seemed to make friends/boyfriends easily enough, so why bother being fit? I mean, I played sports and I love riding bikes, etc.–that is to say I wasn’t extremely overweight–but why limit my drinking or eating when I love those things so much, too? I’ll tell you why…s-e-x.

Despite the fact that I didn’t have trouble–ear muffs, mom, dad, brother (maybe just shut’er down on this blog)–finding someone with which to enter into a Nondisclosure Agreement, I didn’t enjoy being naked. I knew how to dress and shapewear myself into a somewhat attractive and tout ball of flesh, but once the clothing came off, I wanted to start all over again. Like, go back to when I was ten and just do it right this time. Don’t you ever feel that way? But, it’s never too late. I personally decided that looking good without the clothing was something I wanted. I wanted to be full-on happy, in all ways–not just [blank] enough. I didn’t want to put hard or soft limitations on what I felt comfortable doing, in any arena of my life, just because I didn’t care enough about myself to go for the whole package.

Fifty has at least some emphasis on a personal trainer so that these sexual escapades don’t totally wreck our leading lass. And, we’ve all uttered the words with eyebrows lifted, “Looks like someone needs to get laid,” when that someone is on a long grumping streak. I mean, a man might not be able to do the dishes despite the incessant nagging, but he will get off his ass and go to the gym for two hours so he can look good naked. Sex is a powerful motivator. And, if you don’t like the way you look and feel, you’ll pretty much avoid this very necessary part of life. We know that it is a part of love, relationships, whathaveyou and that is incredibly important. So, despite the fact that I could convince myself that being overweight was just fine in almost every arena of my life, in the oldest pastime ever–fornication–these rationales simply don’t hold up.

So, thanks, E. L. James. What you lack in writing convincing dialogue for contemporary American characters, you make up for in getting all of these people back in the sack. And, if we are very lucky, into a gym, as well.


“Hi, kids. Today, I’m going to sing a song to you. And, it’s called ‘Bis and tris.'” – Matt D’Amico (sadly, there wasn’t an actual song.)

“Standley, I want that book when you’re done with it.” – Tyler Corbett, into the megaphone, as I left the gym, fifty shades of sweaty…

Laura Standley is the editor in chief of 303 Magazine. She has been blogging about fitness since January 2011. To see her past blog posts, click here.