Mailing It In

The internet is fine but could be better. Its ills are profound (disinformation, social isolation, public shaming), but when it’s good, it’s good (I haven’t bought a piece of shaving equipment in person for two years).

From the comfort of sleek apps and enticing websites, it seems we can now procure anything within reason in 3-5 business days. The emergence of an economy based upon walking to your doorstep to retrieve whatever you need is reaching new frontiers of ubiquity. What began with Netflix in the pre-instant era has spread to all sectors, from grooming to grocery shopping to, it turns out, fitness supplements.

A few days ago, I was spending a few mindless moments scrolling through Instagram when I saw an advertised post for a mail-order, personalized supplement service called, aptly, ‘Gainful’. It seems no territory is left uncharted when it comes to the subscription market. Although I’ve never purchased whey powder and swore off fitness supplements after taking some pre-workout and feeling like I had heart palpitations for the next 4 business days, the company’s market research division prevailed, and I soon found myself on their website punching in only-slightly-inflated fitness info for their specialists to review.

After listing myself at a charitable 5 foot 10, describing my weekly activities, and selecting my preferred end-of-regimen body type (muscular/toned), I was given a final question: chocolate or vanilla. Then, after due deliberation leading to vanilla and one last edit to say I should probably add a few pounds to my build, I waited on a loading screen and was presented with a breakdown of hard-to-pronounce chemical compounds that would, with any luck, leave me somewhere between toned and torn.

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Where will the age of hyper-personalization leave us? The democratization of expertise, it seems, could give everyone the ability to be their ‘best’ selves, attuned to the dangers of sedentary lifestyles and condensed fats.

More likely? I stare at the screen for what time I would’ve been working out and convince myself I have a glucose deficiency, then order Chinese food to the very couch from which I’m planning my ascent to the peak human form.