I saw Lou the other day. First time in a few years.
Lou was once one of the Fitness Consultants at the hyper-absurd mirror-palooza they call a gym where I go. When I started there a few years back, they forced me to take this ‘consulting’ session, despite the fact that I had been working out regularly for several years. Lou wasn’t a particularly tall man, but he was solid as a rock. Maybe it’s a good thing that they didn’t have exercise as we know it in post-Revolutionary France. History might have turned out very differently if Napoleon had the option of building his wee body.
Let’s just say that Lou and I didn’t exactly hit it off. He was a stereotypical high pressure salesman; I was a stereotypical smart ass.
- To break the ice, he told me a little bit about himself. He had recently gone back to school – he was probably around 30 – to take psychology. He wanted to understand human nature.
- To break the ice, I told him that I was a vegetarian, and that my only interest in going to the gym was fighting entropy. I told him I felt that the construct of ‘human nature’ was tenuous at best, destructive at worst.
He didn’t pay much attention to my attempt to get a philosophical discussion going. He wanted to focus on the vegetarianism, which to him was anathema to fitness.
Lou: “See bro, your body is like a truck.”
JC: “Woah, woah, woah, a truck? Slow down professor!”
Lou: “You have to put the gas into the truck in order to make the truck go.”
And in a moment of pure smartassery, JC: “What about ethanol? You know, because I’m a vegetarian.”
Lou: [pause] “Your body’s a lot like a wall, bro.”
There were a few other analogies he offered to the body over the course of the discussion. I think ultimately his point was that you have to put in good ingredients into your body to get the results you want. Except no, that can’t be right, because he didn’t care about the results I wanted, he cared about the results he wanted.
As part of the consulting session, Lou had to take a look at what I had been eating for the past few days. I was living with my ex-girlfriend, a vegan, at the time. That didn’t make me vegan, but it definitely had an impact on my dietary choices. He tried to tell me that soy is bad for me, based on a study (which he could not produce for me). The hardest part for me was trying to convince him that there is no soy in a chickpea.
But what frustrated me the most, aside from the fact that I had to be there to begin with, was the fact that this guy was a living, breathing confabulation of bodybuilding with health/fitness. It’s a completely fallacious comparison because they are not one and the same. Eating a giant chicken breast every day for lunch does not make you healthy. It might make you buff, but what about the hormones they pump into the chicken to give them ridiculously large breasts? You think those hormones just disappear in the production process, Lou?
Anyway Lou, just to let you know: I’m still not eating meat; I’m still not bulking up; I still don’t listen to salespeople who simultaneously tell me not to believe everything I hear, and then try to bypass my skepticism with some fallacious nonsense. You’re probably a few years into that psych degree by now. Hope you’ve figured out human nature, although between you and me, you had a pretty solid grasp on it before.
All the best, bro. Hope that truck is running fine.