Memphis is fat. We don't need annual recognition of that fact by Men's Fitness magazine to know what we can observe just by looking around town (or in the mirror).
And why wouldn't we be one of the fattest cities in the country? We've got some of the best food on the planet to tempt us -- from barbecue to soul food to fine dining -- all in addition to the McDonald's and Taco Bells on every street corner (turning all us fast-foodies into fat foodies).
Oh, I suppose we could just revel in our obesity and put together a serious run at top-ranked fatty Chicago. But then we'd all be dead or on our way out, and who'd be left to remind Nashville of their inferiority? No, better to head this two-tons-of-fun thing off at the pass, crack the whip, and get in shape.
No reason to stress though (that's not going to help your heart either): Luckily there's all kinds of help to be had in the Bluff City on the road to fit. In a town where parking can be fun, why can't living healthy be too? And, of course, you don't have to be a blimp to get some benefit out of a little extra exercise. Who's to say we can't take a shot at the top 10 fittest cities list. Milwaukee's fifth, for Pete's sake!
1. Find strength in numbers with the Group Power barbell program at Inbalance Group Fitness.
2. Prepare for your big bout against Mayor Herenton with boxing lessons from another former Golden Gloves winner -- Joey Hadley -- at Hadley's Boxing Fitness.
3. Achieve your fitness goaaaaal! as part of a team in the Greater Memphis Soccer Association.
4. Dance all night to disco at Raiford's Hollywood. Drink lots of water; go light on the 40-ouncers.
5. Help Lichterman stay clear of invasive plants during a "Privet Pull."
6. Get your recommended dose of Omega-3 fatty acids at Blue Fish, Blue Fin, or the Half Shell.
7. Instead of taking the tram, walk the bridge to Mud Island. Then, pretend you're the Jolly Green Giant and hike from Cairo, Illinois, to New Orleans in 15 minutes on the Riverwalk. (Eating green beans is good too.)
8. Go with the flow of your body movement at Push Pilates.
9. Save lives and get buff with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training Program.
10. Take two mulligans, get one free, at the Links at Galloway.
11. Launch a sailboat into Patriot Lake at Shelby Farms.
12. Thrash with the kids at Skatepark of Memphis.
13. Battle with your date for the last bite of K-Pie at Paulette's. Lose.
14. If you must have pie, make it a mud pie with the "Moor Mud" facial at Eden Spa and Laser.
15. Volunteer to walk dogs for the Memphis Humane Society.
16. Eat your veggies at Wild Oats or Square Foods.
17. Enjoy the view on the way down and count the steps on the way back up on the Bluff on the Mississippi riverfront. Repeat.
18. Get equipped by Outdoors Inc. and get out of town for an adventurous weekend in the woods.
19. Do it all night on the Midnight Classic Bike Tour.
20. Learn to swim with the American Red Cross swimming program or improve your stamina with aqua aerobics at Cordova Athletic Club.
21. Duck, then retaliate, playing Memphis Dodgeball.
22. Keep pace with the current of the Mississippi River in Greenbelt Park on Mud Island.
23. Get yourself under control practicing pranayama at Eastern Sun Yoga, Midtown Yoga, or Better Bodies Yoga.
24. Ace the fitness pop quiz with tennis at Racquet Club of Memphis.
25. If Emmitt Smith can do it, so can you: cut a rug with ballroom dancing at Gallery Ballroom, Middle Eastern dancing at Rhodes College's Bryan Campus Life Center, or Argentine Tango at Quetzal.
26. Stop keeping the doctor away and go get a physical and check-up.
27. Turn the ice-cold brrr into grrrl power with Memphis Women's Hockey. (Those XX chromosomes sure look like crossed hockey sticks.)
28. Get "Rolfed" at Insideout Life Gym.
29. Take it all off -- the pounds and the clothes -- at Strip to Fit.
30. Look at the beautiful houses while walking through Central Gardens.