Exercise Your Free Pass

For those of us fortunate enough to call the upper Midwest home, there is about a 90-day window every year where the parka and snow shoes become optional.

For those of us fortunate enough to call the upper Midwest home, there is about a 90-day window every year where the parka and snow shoes become optional. This opportunity to shed layers can either be viewed as a gift from God, or on the complete opposite end of the spectrum, a form of divine punishment for neglecting one’s body for the better part of 9 months.

For this reason, I now approach every Minnesota summer with a renewed vigor. Let’s face it, I’m 33-years-old. The days of knocking out stacks of Bavarian Crème Bismarck’s while simultaneously flexing and counting my abs in front of the bathroom mirror are long gone. Now, the goal is to at some point by mid-to-late summer mow my lawn shirtless without being charged with indecent exposure or causing a traffic accident.

Clearly I’ve been forced to lower the bar. However, in an attempt to further assist my physical training regiment, I’ve since adopted a simple two-part strategy to enhance the results of my extreme summer body makeover.

PART 1 – During the spring always wear baggy clothes and never tuck your shirt in. This is a must, there is NO gray area. Results may vary if you’re not consistent. The key to this is to buy two sizes of the same shirt. I even super size the same pair of jeans an extra inch or two. Why? Obviously, you want to give the illusion that your clothes no longer fit. My little secret is that can work both ways. Instead of going down a size, I go up a size.

Your friends will approach you and say, “You look great! You’re going to have to go shopping for some new clothes.”

By the time summer hits and you throw that swimsuit on, I guarantee the landscape is much better than anyone else anticipated, and all it took was a minor wardrobe adjustment.

PART 2 – In times of utter desperation never be above playing the UV rays card. No one with a conscience will ever condemn you in this day and age for opting for the universal swim shirt. Furthermore, I’ve even gone so far as to make others feel bad for not wearing one.

There’s nothing wrong with suggesting they’re being irresponsible for not taking the sun a little more seriously. This does one very important thing; it deflects any lingering attention toward your swim shirt, and what you might be hiding beneath it, and in turn, shifts that negative energy to someone else.

Now some of you might say, “But Marcus, this is so deceptive. I’d feel guilty stooping to such levels.”

No, absolutely not. Why? It’s not our fault. It’s Newton’s, and his Universal Law of Gravitation. The way I see it none of us really had a chance after that apple hit the ground. On a certain level we’re all just bruised apples. Therefore let’s not bog ourselves down in legalism. As far as I’m concerned, we all get a free pass when it comes to maneuvering our way through the summer beach season, especially in the upper Midwest.

Besides, before we know we’ll all need the extra layers as we shift gears to yet another 9 months of wintry bliss.

Marcus Ludtke graduated from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minn., in 2001 and started working for POET Risk Management in May of that year. His primary responsibilities include managing POET’s corn position and market research.




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