I love working out. Wait — scratch that. I HATE working out. Does anyone really like it? Cranking a massive, heavy, foul-smelling dumbbell up to your chest, lowering it down again, then repeating that same unnatural motion over and over again until your heart’s racing, your neck’s hurting, and you’re one second away from dropping the damn thing on your foot from sheer exhaustion. Then waiting two minutes and doing it all over again. And this is supposed to be good for you? I’ve done this same exercise and dozens more like it for an hour every day or every other day, for most of my adult life. I can count maybe thousands of hours of my lifetime spent “working out”. But what’s the point? Sure, I got buff. Sure, I looked damn good in the mirror. And sure, it was good for posing at pool parties, on the beach, and I suppose, in a girl’s bedroom. I’ll even admit that working out wasn’t even a way for me to get healthy. (Luckily I’m pretty healthy as it is.) It was rather a way to look effing good in a t-shirt and to get more girls.
But honestly, do girls even care?
There are just as many girls out there who are grossed out by super buff guys as there are girls who like buff guys. Just think of all your friends and who they’re dating. I’ll bet you have more than a few girlfriends who are dating guys with biceps the size of pencils and beer belly guts. Yet there those guys are, dating some sweet girls. More cynical dudes would argue it’s not the size of your pecs that matter to a girl, it’s the size of your wallet. I wouldn’t agree with that.
I would say this though. Of the thousands of hours I spent working out, what if instead I had spent them improving myself in other ways? What if I had written more screenplays, a few comic books, some novels — or even one novel? I might have sold some by now and I’d be a millionaire, or at least have paid off my student loans (Hi Sallie Mae!). The Porsche I’d buy with that cash would get me way more girls than a pair of thirty-inch triceps. What if I had spent those hours perfecting how to play guitar? I’d be in a rock band now, touring Paris and Beijing and not working a day job. Instead, my guitar sits under my bed, untouched in years. What if I had used those hours and just spent more time with my beloved friends? Gone hiking in the desert, visited cowboy bars in Long Beach, gone to Magic Mountain and laughed our asses off on Superman, and gorged ourselves on garlic fries at Dodger games while brawling with Giants haters. You know, made some real memories. Instead of memories of being stuck in a stuffy gym, where people have to put on music or watch ESPN to distract themselves from how miserable they are on the treadmill, running their asses off but going nowhere. If you ran that much every day on a road, you’d be halfway to Frisco or Vegas.
But all my hours were spent lifting, and what did I really get from them besides a few more silly dates with superficial girls? I just don’t know.
So last month, I decided — to hell with working out, I’M JUST NOT GONNA DO IT. The occasion was me getting a new day job and still working my old day job at Trader Joe’s. I was working six long days a week. I hardly had time for anything. I had to choose – am I going to spend the one hour of free time I have between getting home from work at 6 and sleeping at 9:30 — working on my film projects, or am I going to spend it grunting and groaning and doing squats like a Schwarzenegger wannabe? The choice was easy.
I haven’t touched a dumbbell in 5 weeks. Haven’t done a single pullup on my Iron Gym workout bar. Haven’t done a single crunch.
And you know what? My world has not caved in! My chest has caved in by two inches, but my world is still OK.
It helps that I was kind of born buff. My broad wingspan shoulders-of-a-giant are still here. My trim V-shaped abs curving into tree trunk hips are still present. My manly thick neck supporting an abnormally handsome face and a shock of Japanese-style hipster Top Gun hair are still intact. They all hold up a much skinnier frame now. My chest doesn’t bulge as much and my arms are definitely poster tubes, but hey, I fit perfectly into my t-shirts now instead of puffing out of them like The Hulk at a picnic. Basically, I’m Keanu from Bill & Ted, instead of Keanu from Speed. And I’m all right with that.
Life has continued for skinny Rich. I’ve gone to bars in long sleeve shirts and girls have no idea that the rippled muscle that used to lie underneath the shirtsleeves is long gone. I still got their digits (or their drinks thrown in my face, whatever.) I went on a few dates last month and never once did a girl say, “Rich, you look different from how you looked in August. More puny, like a flabby girly man. You suck and I don’t want to see you anymore, bastard!!!” Not once did that happen. She might have not wanted to see me anymore for other reasons, like me not wanting to pay for dinner *and* the movie, but it wasn’t because my pecs were less hard. And in my ultimate barometer of normalcy – at my Weho Trader Joe’s, gay guys still hit on me.
Still got it.
You see, people just don’t give a shit. Or maybe they do give a shit when they first meet you, but then after that goes away, it doesn’t matter as much what you look like — as who you are and what you do and how much you rock it. I’d like to think so anyway.
So I don’t have to work out anymore. Hell yeah! I don’t have to get buff to get more women. And really, why do I even want more women? What am I going to do with all these women? I just want that one great girl, remember? And that one great girl shouldn’t care how I look or how many plates I can bench. She would care more that I’m using my free time wisely and making a career for myself and spending time with her, my friends and loved ones, having adventures, instead of being indoors, pumping iron at the gym like a tool.
Plus I’ve just added a whole hour every day to my life. Who would turn that down?
The question is, will I continue not working out? I don’t know. This could be a fad of mine, like gluten! We’ll call it the Anti-Workout trend. I’ll set up a booth for it at Comic-Con and get all my fellow nerds to sign up. Imagine all the great scripts and films and videogames and works of art that’ll come out of it. Do you think Jon Favreau works out, or Joss Whedon? Hell no. They can be our godfathers.
Or maybe between now and Christmas, I’ll meet the greatest girl in the world and I’ll fall in love, and to keep douchebags from hitting on her while I’m in the bathroom or ordering drinks at the bar, I’ll start lifting again so that I’ll look like I can punch a hole through their turd faces. It could happen.
Me, fall in love? Who am I kidding??
I quit the gym, bro.