Wednesday, March 24th, 2010

Stop Working Out, It's Embarrassing

You think you're SOOOOO specialTime was when vegetarian dudes could be classified in two simple groups: "pussies" and "freaks." No longer, reports the Boston Globe, noting the growing trend of "men in their 40s and 50s embracing a restrictive lifestyle to look better, rectify a gluttonous past, or cheat death. They are hegans. They are healthy. And they are here to stay." Let's leave the whole "hegan" thing aside and focus on these rationales for not eating meat like God intended: looking good and cheating death. They are exactly the same reasons people exercise. And it makes me sick.

Look, I try to be tolerant of lifestyles that are different from my own. I understand that it takes all kinds to make a world. I'm not arrogant enough to imagine that the choices I make are somehow intrinsically better than those made by anyone else. But you people who exercise constantly and eat healthy? I cannot help but look down on you. If you only knew the pity I feel when I step out of a bar at twilight of a Friday night and look across the street to see a bunch of people running on treadmills in some pathetic attempt to live longer or land a mate… it's absolutely tragic.

I have no idea what kind of terrible narcissism fuels this urge to deny your body's inevitable-and biologically necessary-decay, but it says something very sad about the level of self-importance you attach to your own corporeal husk that you need to jog for an hour before you head to the office or that you "just can't start the day right without a quick workout." YOU ARE GOING TO DIE ANYWAY. You are supposed to die. The human race needs to replenish itself with younger, healthier specimens, and your 45 minutes at Crunch three times a week is just gumming up the works. Again, I don't want to be too judgmental here, but it probably needs to be said: Your selfishness is worse than even that of people who drive SUVs, because enough of them at least clear out the gene pool in rollover accidents. I'm sorry, constant exerciser, but the next time you look in the mirror-and let's face it, it's not going to be too long from right now-I want you to see that person staring back at you. If you can take a second to stop admiring what you see, remind yourself that you are looking at someone whose astounding vanity almost certainly merits inclusion in the DSM. Let yourself go a little. You're not that special.

73 Comments / Post A Comment

johnpseudonym (#1,452)

Hell yeah! I'm going to have a steak and a cigarette to celebrate.

KarenUhOh (#19)

Don't tell them, but those treadmills aren't taking them anywhere.

riggssm (#760)

I eat healthy food. I exercise on a daily basis. I also drink like a fish six days a week.

What does that make me?

riggssm (#760)

Wait, I figured it out. (The answer is, gay.)

garge (#736)

Start smoking, and then consider yourself me.

NicFit (#616)

I like to smoke on the tennis court.

riggssm (#760)

Start? I'm trying to quit!

(It's not going well. I actually smoke more on the days I make an effort to smoke less.)

It makes you me?

riggssm, I have the same habits but am a straight woman. So I don't think it's a gay thing.

kneetoe (#1,881)

It's because on the days you're trying to smoke less, you're thinking about it all the time, and thinking about it makes you want one, and then you say, well, if I smoke one now, I won't have another for x hours. And you do that all day.

I know cuz this is what happens to me when I try to stop having all that sex.

garge (#736)


@Riggs–My advice, as an amateur life coach? Start drinking on the seventh day, for balance. And every time you feel inclined to light the unwanted cigarette, make a drink and/or put on the running shoes. Phase two, should phase one fail, is to become a pilot, and work the LAX to SYD circuit.

En Vague (#82)

Like hockey great Guy LaFleur, I like to smoke menthols between shifts on the bench.

I don't smoke so maybe that is the difference. Though I did when I lived in NYC. Move to LA that will help you quit. It's practically against the law here.

@kneetoe: I know cuz this is what happens to me when I try to stop having all that sex.

Aren't you married?

HiredGoons (#603)

@Setec: he tricked his wife with one of those Japanese babygachis. It's name is Beatrix.

kneetoe (#1,881)

Yes, but thanks to my exercise-hardened body, plus my ability to hang in the bars with the ladies til they can't think (or see) too straight, I get lots on the side.

kneetoe (#1,881)

Also, I do a mean sad.

Maevemealone (#968)

Running is part of what started me smoking. Nothing felt better than a cigarette after a long run for some reason.

lululemming (#409)

I love that there are other running smokers. I hide it like a dirty secret from my running group (and yes, I have a running group, and yes, I work out. I also ate butterfinger-flavoured easter eggs for breakfast this morning) Running keeps me sane and non-fat, which, having been chubby and ignored, I can tell you I appreciate. My personality is not good enough to be a chubby girl people love anyways!!

I could care less about putting off death for two years longer than anyone else. That said, I'd appreciate not being comic-karma killed for typing this comment.

David R. (#391)

Someone plz get Balk a Thighmaster & a bucket of stress balls.

It's funny, because I just started working out again two days ago in order to impress the girl I haven't seen in 2 years when I see her again in May (looooooong story).

Yesterday was running… and today… ugh. Like, I sneezed earlier and it felt like being stabbed with 1,000 tiny knives all at once.

So thanks, Balk, for giving my argument more fuel for the day when I, inevitably, quit working out again.

jetztinberlin (#392)

I'm sorry, they're called "Hegans" why? Shouldn't that be like someone who eats… men? Also highly recommend the awesome and lovely book SUM by David Eagleman. 40 different ways to stick it to narcissists in the afterlife :)

Mansplaining hegans.

I have never seen a picture of Balk below the neck, but based on how he writes about his body, I assume that he basically looks like Jabba the Hutt.

Actually was coming here to say "Balk, since we typically only see photos of you with your hand over your face and no view of your body, these posts are leading me to believe you look like a blogging Jabba the Hutt." If we both think it, it must be true!

TroutSavant (#1,990)

Wait, you've seen him from the neck up? Every picture I've seen him in his face is covered:

Surprised he hasn't wiped this one from google images yet.

garge (#736)


That's his arm, on the couch? HOT!

@garge. Don't worry, that was like 3 years ago. The Balk on the couch looks pretty svelte, but according to the tone of his posts, he has probably gained at least 250 lbs since then, mostly via Taylor Ham and that new meat restaurant near Awl HQ. So Balk's current appearance remains a well-kept mystery.

hman (#53)

Not hairy enough I don't think, formerly.

Wait. Who is the girl sitting next to you?

Kataphraktos (#226)

If you work out, lift weights. Otherwise, don't bother. Jogging on a treadmill? Shoot yourself.

I eat plenty of meat, and if anyone calls me a "hegan", that's a stabbing.

Kyle Brothers (#3,676)

I've never read a purer expression of my own true soul than this piece of writing.

I'm like weeping and muttering "Truth! Truth!" over and over.

andrea (#1,025)

I'm right there with you, Other Andrea.

I workout like crazy because it improves the effect of percoset.

I exercise so that I can continue to drink and eat steak. For LONGER.

I work out to burn off the residual ethanol that causes my hangover.

Pop Socket (#187)

Balk is the straight one, right? Just triangulating.

lia (#1,344)

reading this piece my first thought was, "shit! now i kind of want to make out with balk a little!" followed by "he is the straight one, right?"

DoctorDisaster (#1,970)

I work out like six times a day.

And by 'work out' I mean 'get out of my chair.'

cherrispryte (#444)

Yes, but if people don't work out like hamsters on a wheel, (and sometimes even if they do!) then they will be FAT. Which is, by all accounts, the worst possible thing a person can be.

the teeth (#380)

Only those (severe moral inferiors) who are predisposed to gain weight. You could strap me to bed with a bacon & pudding I.V., and I wouldn't gain a pound. Not to anonymously brag on an internet forum about how much god loves me.

Exercising out of fear or vanity is all well & good, but these're lame justifications when put against the fact that exercising, like drinking liquor and smoking cigarettes, makes you feel good. Happy, even. It's sort of shocking that there are people who don't work out 6 days a week. (I don't, but only because I'd hate to put a dent in my store of narcissistic self-loathing.)

Bittersweet (#765)

It does! The endorphin rush isn't quite as good as sex or a really good bourbon, but it's darn close.

kneetoe (#1,881)

@teeth: Oh yeah, well I'm TALL and thin (although, damnit, I'm getting old).

ljnd (#86)

My hamsters sometimes trip on their wheels and spin around and around and flip out into their cages.

I wish we could do that at the gym.

HiredGoons (#603)

I stopped exercising when all the Hasidim mansplained about my running through South Williamsburg in my jockstrap and tube socks.

So then I TP'd the synagogue.

Man, I moved out of the city – and I don't think I've taken more than 10 steps in a row for six months. It's all drive, drive, drive…

Matt (#26)

Men take exercise much harder than women, it would seem.

ohrly (#10,102)

well they're perfect just the way they are, afterall.

HelloTitty (#830)

I work out so that I will die faster.

YoWheez (#3,516)

heh, my dad has a personal trainer and does P90X, but he hasn't taken up any weird diets, so it's kind of adorable.

missdelite (#625)

I just got my waistline back and I love the way a guy's hands look wrapped around it.

barnhouse (#1,326)

Balk if you are such a sybarite as you seem, I mean, doesn't that legitimize pretty much any method of endorphin-delivery?

SquarePeg (#1,098)

I work out 5-6 times a week but only because it is the only thing I have found that quiets the rage. Also? Going to the gym slightly drunk and burning it off via the exercise? Awesome.

Exene (#2,244)

The gym and the ganj: ah! Like a wink and a smile.

Maevemealone (#968)

Exercise is easy math for me. My building's gym is $30/month. New pair of fat pants is about $70. I can afford $30. I can also afford to eat less, until I go to a restaurant in which case, I'm not holding back. I get a lot of great ideas as I'm on the hamster wheel as well. I'd run more if it didn't hurt so damn much.

I bet the author of this post is nowhere near 40. If he were, he wouldn't be so cavalier about his own approaching mortality.

I'm nearly 40, and since I started riding my bike to work every day, I feel better. It's not about cheating death, it's about being happier.

Also, it's not like I (or, I'm sure, a lot of people) would be out shaking the Haitians' hands and wiping their grime off on my buddy's shirt if I weren't working out. I'd just be making more Awl comments, so at least I'm doing something that makes me look better.

Brian Calandra (#3,753)

Ugh. It's great when attractive people who can stay thin even though they (apparently) drink non-stop and never work out write screeds about how you're a douche if you try to make yourself attractive and/or stay thin. Perhaps you should reflect on how lucky you are instead of mocking those not as lucky as you. But maybe the liquor turns you into an asshole.

Slava (#216)

Balk is NOT attractive!!!!

Peg Assis (#4,142)

I only eat ceasars

Peg Assis (#4,142)

ugh, that's Caesars, sorry that was my thinness typing

askryan (#1,323)

What bugs me the most are people that do their runs in public. THE STREET IS NOT YOUR FUCKING GYM. I don't want to have to wait with you at the crosswalk as you jog in place for some reason and pant and sweat all over your stupid little shorts. IT IS DISGUSTING GO AWAY. And for god's sake don't get on the train afterwards TAKE A SHOWER FIRST you miserable yuppie.


spanish bombs (#562)

This was pretty funny; I liked.

Anarcissie (#3,748)

When I was a child, back in the Dark Ages, everyone over 40 was bald, fat, flabby, ugly, and had bad skin. And they were tired, tired, tired, putting in the time and getting their dime and waiting for the van to come. Today, 1000 years later, you see a lot of people in their 40s, 50s, 60s, looking good, alert, doing stuff, might even be sexy. So you all liked it better in the old days? You're seriously weird, and not in a good way.

Miles Klee (#3,657)

balk, this was 5/5

Ingrid Cruz (#3,771)

Hmm. Maybe "cheating death" means trying to extend life a bit longer? I am not a guy and I am still eating meat, but I am definitely a 40-something person who is trying to change my ways and eat better to atone for past behaviors. Why? Because I have just been diagnosed with diabetes. Not everybody does it for shallow, egotistical, image-obsessed reasons.

Homer Obscuros (#4,181)

True workout isnt just running on treadmills, and Hegans, as is called here by this ignoramous can eat steak and meat. I eat steak and fish and turkey, in fact I need it to feed and maintain one's muscle composition. Just running and eating only veggies as referred to here as "eating healthy" is in fact not healthy.

Homer Obscuros (#4,181)

What we have here is a case of Oversimplificationitis.

Slava (#216)

Wow. Facebook Comments!

Paul W. K. (#13,449)

Fuck yeah! And, you pussies that still brush your teeth!? What's the deal with that, they're just gonna fall out when you get older.

…this guy….

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