New Year, New You?


In the world of people being people, January tends to be a month of high motivation and new beginnings. It’s a new year, and most people tend to feel like they’ve got a new change of gear. And so, many of them take on the herculean task of leading a healthier lifestyle only to find out that they are actually more like Sisyphus, and the boulder they’ve been pushing uphill will crush them once their arms give out after only two months.

Runner in Antigua Guatemala, during the third day of 2017. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

According to Pedro Moreno, a personal trainer, this is because they don’t see results immediately. “People are too impulsive,” he says. “They try to drop all of their bad habits overnight and then get frustrated when they can’t do it. That’s why the gym-boom happens during the first couple of months of the year.”

Mr. Moreno also explained that, even though people start working out more, many of them don’t really make a significant change in their diet. “There are guys who work out a lot, but still eat terribly so they still don’t see any results.”

Though most people generally understand that a proper diet and regular exercise are the two pillars of a healthy lifestyle, many often don’t realise that what you eat actually trumps how much you move. And keeping a diet can be just as hard as walking on the cobblestones of La Antigua Guatemala wearing high-heels—it’s not impossible, but it takes some serious dedication.

A man trains with weights in a local gym in La Antigua Guatemala. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

“It’s all about the logistic of it,” says Barbara Cruz de Toledo, a nutritionist. “You may have the intention of eating healthier, but you have to know which foods to buy, how to cook them, and prepare them to take them with you before you go about your day.” According to Mrs. Cruz de Toledo, that’s also where most people fail. “People nowadays have to go out early in the morning and come back late at night. It’s easier to stop and get fast food instead of cooking something for themselves.”

“Another thing that plays into the whole diet thing is alcohol,” adds Mr. Moreno, who also runs a bar aside from being a personal trainer. “It’s got a lot to do with what you’re drinking and how much liquid you’re actually consuming. Drinking three beers is not the same as drinking three glasses of whisky, obviously. But getting as drunk with beer as you would get with spirits means that you’ll drink a lot more beer, which makes you look and feel more bloated.”

[staged] Beer and a freshly eaten breakfast meal in La Antigua Guatemala. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite

Mrs. Cruz de Toledo put this into numbers. According to her, spirits on average have 80 calories per ounce while beers usually average around 150 calories per ounce. On the other hand, beer usually has an average alcohol by volume (ABV) of 4%-6% while spirits usually range from 40%-60%. Needless to say, if your goal is to get drunk and not be as soft as a donut under the rain, spirits are the way to go.

In other words, if you’re looking to get more fit, exercise hard, eat diligently, and, above all, drink smartly. If that’s your goal for the year, because we love you like Kanye West loves Kanye West, we hope that you accomplish it. Happy New You!

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A modern Maya ritual in the ruins of Iximché. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite
Yaxhá ruins in Guatemala. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite
Pitz players after a ballgame exhibition match in Comalapa, Chimaltenango, Guatemala. Photo: Santiago Billy/Comvite
The Oldest Sport in America

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