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The Geek's Guide To Workin' Out

I am still filled with bitterness and loathing.

Decades later, I still hate the gym teachers who tormented me in high school. I hate their smugness, and their mind-numbing mandatory laps around the track. And I hate how one of them insisted on playing dodgeball with the kids and once hit me in the face with a ball so hard that it smashed my glasses and one of the lenses slid twenty feet away. The negative (and, of course, rational) fear of exercise this created in me continued for years.

Yet, these days, much to the surprise of me and anyone else who knows me, I work out three times a week. Me, a confirmed lifelong computer programmer, Dungeons and Dragons playing geek, exercising regularly. Sometimes, I wince from the shame of it.

But I have learned how to resist the major negative reinforcement I received from the embittered personal-trainer wannabes of my youth and figured out how to start exercising, keep exercising, and even, yes, have fun at it! All it requires are equal measures of self-control, self-inflicted wounds to the self-esteem, and evil. Follow my lead, and you too can learn how to be less fat.

Lesson 1 - How To Get Started

Well, if you have a touch of the obsessive-compulsive in your mental layout, you're home free. Just use some of that energy you use to wash your hands fifty times a day to convince yourself that you MUST go to the gym. If you skip a workout, be consumed with unexplainable terror and overwhelming self-hate. Problem solved.

Otherwise, you'll have to actually, rationally, convince yourself to go to the gym, with its pain and expense and musty odor and unexplainable floor stains. To start going to the gym, you have to bear in mind that there is really only one honest reason do so. You don't want to be fat.

Everyone in a gym is filled with either fear or self-loathing. You either hate what you are or you fear what you will become. Your average gym is a swirling maelstrom of negative psychic energy. I mean, sure, people say, "Oh, honey, I love you exactly as you are. But I want you to work out for your health." But come on. Deep down, deep in their hearts, everyone is just terrified of getting into bed and seeing their life partner look at them like a sandworm from Dune.

Of course, the people working at your local gym will claim that the best reason to work out is improved health and happiness. They can say whatever they want, but the pictures on the wall give the game away. The only place you'll every see a chunky person on a gym wall is in a Before picture.

Now, granted, some people are more "sensitive" and "enlightened" than others and find heftier men and women attractive. Fine. But everyone, despite any protestations to the contrary, has their limits. Don't take your love life for granted. One doughnut too many, and the sex faucet could get turned off at any time. Lesbians aren't allowed to find fat unattractive, but, for everyone else, it's fair game.

So. When I have a hard time getting myself to go to the gym, I just calm down, walk slowly into the bathroom, take off my shirt, and take a good, long gander at my pallid, jiggly form. Works every time.

There are only two other honest reasons to go to the gym. One is to meet people for gay sex. As long as this keeps you coming back, it's all good.

The other is for the joy of a self-induced endorphin rush. Note, however, that the same effect can be achieved in a much more time-effective way with some nipple clamps and a riding crop. Focus on the fat. It works much better in the long run.

Lesson 2a - Pick The Proper Activity

Once you're at the gym, you need to exercise. Your objective is to a) sweat, and b) feel at least some pain. Any less, and you will feel that you wasted your time.

A good gym will give you a few sessions with a personal trainer to make a personal regimen. Of course, this will just give you nasty high school flashbacks. Some grunting, paleolithic loser telling me what to do again? I think not! I suggest having one meeting with the trainer, getting a carefully planned regimen, shouting, "You're not the boss of me!", tearing it up, and running away.

Begin your workout session by stretching. This doesn't really do anything, but it makes you feel like you're actually getting somewhere. For example, I am now capable of, without bending my knees, touching my knees.

Then try lifting weights. Discover that it sucks. It's phenomenally boring, and you have to spend your time around all of the most steroidal thugs.

Then try aerobics. Discover that it sucks. Trying to master the complicated steps is guaranteed humiliation. Plus, if you're a guy, you will be the only guy, which will make it all the more embarrassing. Though the ogling will be pretty good.

Finally, settle on the step machine or exercycles. You will have to give them a fixed time when you start, which will keep you from pussying out after only five minutes. Plus, you can read, which will give your brain something to do. And everyone around you will be reading Teen and Glamour magazine, which will enable you to feel pleasingly superior.

Also, while using these machines, it's much easier to people-watch. This, in the end, is the best reason to go to the gym.

Lesson 2b - Ogle Attractive People

Of course, you shouldn't stare or gawk, because they gym staff will think you're a lust-crazed stalker and throw you out. And they won't refund your fee.

Granted, you ARE a lust-crazed stalker. But there's no reason to be clumsy about it. Remember, you'll feel less guilty about a lazy, unproductive workout session if you know that you at least got some OK masturbation material out of it.

Lesson 3 - Make Your Own Fun

To ease the mind-crushing boredom that exercise invariably entails, there are plenty of things you can do while at the gym to make your workout more enjoyable.

Nothing is more fun than feeling superior to another human being. Look for people who are almost always there. Losers. Don't they have lives? Look at the people who are almost never there. Losers. They're so lazy!

When using one of the machines where you set the weight, it feels great when you have to increase the difficulty. That means you're stronger than the person who used it before you. Of course, this is a pleasure you will not get often. But, whenever you finish using a machine, always set the weight much higher. This will make the next person feel like a pussy.

Try to figure out who is gay. Being at the gym is an easy and fun way to work on your gaydar. Plus, if you have your own leanings in that direction, your time in the locker room is worth the price of admission.

And my personal favorite. You know those perky, ultra-workout women? The ones who always work out in make-up and perfect hair, and have perfectly sculpted muscles? The most fun you can have at the gym is watching one of them get fat. At first, you might think they're pregnant. That's a good thing. It means that all of that workout time is improving her Darwinian fitness. But then, ten months later, she's still getting bigger, so it's not that.

You see her more and more, working out harder and harder, trying to fend off the effects of her German peasant-girl genes. Her expressions grow more and more defeated. Then, at last, she breaks, and you never see her again. And the whole wonderful process starts over with someone else.

Sure, it may seem wrong to derive pleasure from the suffering of a fellow human being. But remember, we need not consider those who work out that much to be of the same species as us, and therefore we need not extend them the same consideration and empathy.


If you are thin, don't exercise. It's just a waste of time. Any alleged increase in lifespan you will gain from your toil won't make up for the loss of dignity.

If you are of average build, exercise. Otherwise, you will get fat, and nobody will want to have sex with you.

If you are fat, go to the gym. Join me in my pain. Remember, if you maintain a thick enough shield of irony, you can still take comfort in your superiority over those grunting, sweating, and reading Glamour all around you.

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