I was recently accosted in Target. Really it was my own fault. Gym Buddy Allison and I were in the Sports Nutrition aisle looking for gels to take on our long runs. (And, let’s be honest, to look at those sassy running skirts they had on sale. Allison got one and girlfriend looks fierce!) We were confused and overwhelmed with choice, a state I consistently find myself in at Target, when a very svelte and obviously very fit woman strolled by. We could tell this, you see, as she was clad head to toe in Under Armor so tight it might as well have been body paint. Patriotic body paint, even, as it was red, white and blue!
College party flashback finished, I muttered to Allison, “We should ask her. She looks like she knows the business end of an energy shot.”
Under Armor Woman overheard me. She immediately snapped her cell phone shut and turned to face us. My first thought was “holy Jan-Tana tan, Batman!” closely followed by “so that’s what lip collagen looks like up close.” Shut up, you would have thought it too.
Grinning, Under Armor Woman replied, “I would love LOVE love to help you girls! I know everything in this aisle like the back of my hand!” She looked us up and down, taking in the hot, sweaty messes we still were despite finishing our long run a good hour earlier. “I did my run this morning and have already showered, so I have time to help you before I head up to the lake to do 50 miles on my bike.”
“Um, okay, what do you think…” I got no further than that before UA Woman snapped her gum derisively and flicked the box of gel packs in my hand. “You don’t need those sweetie. Let me tell you something. You want to lose fat and get lean, right?”
Allison and I simultaneously nodded and shook our heads. “Well yeah, I mean no, we just want to not bonk 15 miles into our 20-miler but…”
Proving that despite have razor-sharp hearing she really wasn’t so good with the listening, UA Woman interrupted again, “What you want is to get real lean and build muscle. See, I’m a Fitness Competitor.” A light bulb exploded in my brain and I was transported back to my days in Seattle where my very first trainer was a “fitness competitor.” If you are not acquainted with the strange world of female body building a fitness competitor is a woman who competes based more on her muscle tone and definition rather than just size. It’s a hybrid between traditional body building contests and Miss America. I have learned from previous experience that I, personally, do not want to be a fitness competitor (not to be confused with being a fitness model, yet again another separate category for women in swimsuits).
“Oh, I don’t know,” I started but should have known better.
“Serious athletes like you two need serious supplements. I hope you both drank a quality protein shake after your workout today.” I shook my head. I detest protein powder. She glared at me and I felt The Protein Lecture coming on. Sure enough she pulled out a piece of paper and a pen and started writing down the name and flavors of some very expensive high-end powders (every time I type that Robert Downey Jr. gets his wings). I zoned out as I have heard The Protein Lecture so many times it doesn’t bear repeating.
Then she got serious. Leaning in conspiratorily she whispered, “I probably shouldn’t tell you this but I take Atro-phex. It really works. In fact, it leaned me out and I lost 12 pounds.” On her tiny frame 12 pounds would be a lot. I tried to imagine her 12 pounds heavier and decided that it would probably be an improvement. “I use it with Max Lean.” She paused to write both products down on the paper. I read over her shoulder. Apparently Max Lean has several formulations, all of which she uses. “You’re supposed to take two Atro-phex twice a day,” she instructed, “plus the Max Lean a.m. and p.m.”
“Where do you get them?” Allison asked, looking around the shelves at the very tame by comparison boxes of SlimQuick.
“Oh, well, you can’t really buy them in stores,” she evaded. “I get mine off the Internet” (Yay! Internet drugs!!) “But you should talk to Butch over at The Muscle Store. He can hook you up.” (Double yay! My first dealer!!)
My skepticism must’ve showed as UA woman handed the paper to Allison. “Good luck with your little race, girls!” she called over her shoulder.
“What do you want me to do with this?” Allison asked, staring at the paper covered in loopy hand writing.
“Chuck it,” I growled.
I’ve seen Atro-phex advertised in every fitness mag that I read and I’ve always put it on par with Hydroxycut, Cortislim and all the other two-page before-and-after glossies but this time I looked it up. The reviews were mixed as to whether or not it provided actual results but one thing everyone agreed on: it has really weird side effects. Even UA Woman had mentioned having an adverse reaction to it until she “acclimated” to it. Number one side effect is “weird, extremely violent dreams.” Nice. Number two is diarrhea and other bathroom-trip requiring episodes. That explains the weight loss! Number three was characterized by “jitteriness, crazy thinking and general ADD.” Well, that’s already me on a good day! Suh-weet.
Max Lean was even better. And by better you know I mean worse. You can’t even buy the stuff in stores because – are you ready? – it’s made up of ephedrine, caffeine, and asprin. It’s an old skool “stacker” for those of you that are old enough to remember the days before ephedra (ma huang) was banned by the FDA for, um, killing people. It also includes bitter orange, another herb on the may-possibly-kill-you list. No wonder I need Butch to hook me up. It’s illegal.
But the best part was the money. Atro-phex runs $67 a box. Max Lean is $60 a bottle and you need both the a.m. and p.m. formulations. When taken as prescribed, it would cost you $48/week to take these supplements. That’s $216 a month. All for 12 pounds?
If it worked (and that’s not an assumption I’m willing to make despite UA Woman’s thinness & muscularity) and didn’t kill you (again, not an assumption I’d bet on) would it be worth $216 a month to you to get thin? Can you put a price on weight loss?