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What If Everything Were As Simple As This Fitness Routine?

Photo-Illustration: by Stevie Remsberg; Photo: Getty Images

Hot Bod is a weekly exploration of fitness culture and its adjacent oddities.

The premise of the digital fitness platform the be.come project is straightforward: one new routine per week. The setting, the plan, the movements are all plain. It’s the repetition of the routine throughout the week that’s the best type of simple — the kind that clears stuff out of the way so that you can get deeper into something. Yes, the physical recall breeds familiarity and the ease of muscle memory. It’s the arrangement — the same thing, the same thing, just for a while, just for a week, then it will change — that’s been a helpful corrective for my restless mind. There’s something about repeating a movement, but not forever, that’s primal and soothing.

I’d call the movement in the be.come project something like well-paced active stretching to a playlist. It’s graceful and flexed, maybe something between Pilates and yoga. Maybe this is what calisthenics is. As the music dips from “Pony” to “Jolene,” the movements dip from curtsy lunges to butterfly crunches. It loves an oblique twist. Loves to challenge your balance. It’s hold all of your body extremely still, then very slowly move one muscle until it heats up everything around it. In a rhythmic fashion that feels a little dancerly. Wow! Dancerly! I mean, can you imagine how elegant and insufferable you seem after you feel dancerly? Sooo insufferable, but there’s no one there to witness it.

The routines are low commitment, about 25 minutes per video. It’s the nice middle. It’s enough that I feel like I’ve done something, even if it’s the only exercise I do all day. It’s also not so much! It has an interesting effect of shaking me out of doldrums and out of the house on a bike ride or a stair run. There’s something about this whole thing that makes me feel organized. It makes me feel like a streamlined little praying mantis.

I also really appreciate that the routine videos are filmed from the back. Compared to a video that faces the instructor, this feels way more like being in a class, which provides a subtle comfort. The videos show be.come project creator Bethany C. Meyers and two participants, who each demonstrate a modification to the routine. Along with the videos each week, on the be.come project’s app or its website, there are tutorials, though I’m too much of a dilettante to learn about what I’m doing wrong. The be.come project has a ten-day free trial, then $35 per month after that to get access to This Week’s Routine. Recently, the company has started offering varying tiers of support for people in need.

The be.come project organizes time into steady slices, when time generally feels like it’s slipping by. Since the new routine was posted on Monday, I’ve done the be.come video every day, though this new routine hasn’t been my favorite. There’s a series that I privately refer to as “drumstick leg,” which is both difficult and boring. Some of the songs I’m hard eh about. And last week’s routine was my favorite so far— smooth, slinky, peaceful, kind of groovy. That video is still up, right next to this week’s, but I haven’t gone back to it. Sticking to whatever comes up this week feels like part of the project. I know it’s just for a few more days. Then Monday will come, and the routine will change. The future will be different.

What If Everything Were As Simple As This Fitness Routine?