the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Bloggers with Biceps – Week One


One of my favorite TV programs, 24, had its season finale last week. In this year’s storyline, the President of the United States got involved in all these illegal activities, and was trying to excuse himself, being that he was the President and his actions were “for the good of the country.” This arrogance is seen in the real world, in everyone from politicians to CEOs. Power corrupts. Those in power frequently abuse their position because they hold themselves to a different standard than the “common people.”

“If you were in the same position of responsibility as I am,” the egomaniacal leader might say, “you would do the EXACT SAME THING.”

Now I understand the allure of power and corruption.

Last week, I invited others to join me in a “Bloggers with Biceps” program. I agreed to exercise twice a week, or pay the penalty of twenty dollars to charity and face my humiliation online. Today finally arrived, but I had only gone to the gym once last week.

What should I do?

I thought of changing the rules. After all, today is Memorial Day. I could use the excuse that the gyms were closed for the Holiday. Who’s going to argue with that?

Of course, someone might just ask, “Why didn’t you just exercise at home?”

Or, “Why didn’t you exercise earlier in the week?”

My answer would be, “Hey, I’m not doing it for me. I’m doing it for you. I’m sure there’s someone else who procrastinated until the last day. Why not give them a break?”

Of course, the “contract” clearly says we begin on Monday. Today is already the start of Week 2.

My sense of morality was starting to nag me, like my mother. But I rebelled.

“The rules are for everybody ELSE. Not for me! This is my idea. I’m ABOVE THE LAW.”

“That doesn’t seem very fair,” my irritating moral goody-two-shoes-self said.

“Screw you,” I told my wimpy side. “Haven’t you ever read Nietzsche? Machiavelli? Ayn Rand? A leader is in a special category. If I admit that I only went once to the gym, the entire exercise program will crumble. I’m the inspirational one, the titan of exercise, the one who is helping thousands of others leave their computers to do physical activity. I don’t care about myself. I don’t want to destroy THEIR DREAMS. Their dreams of getting into shape. Dreams of wearing that bikini. Dreams of lifting a spouse off the ground using just one muscled arm. For the good of everyone, I will lie and say that I went to the gym twice this week. For the good of all.”

But then, as I left Starbucks today, I saw a shiny new penny sitting in the parking lot next to my car. I picked it up, as I always do with a penny, for good luck. And there he was, staring at me, another great leader of men — Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe.

“Let no young man choosing the law for a calling for a moment yield to the popular belief — resolve to be honest at all events; and if in your own judgment you cannot be an honest lawyer, resolve to be honest without being a lawyer.” – Abraham Lincoln.

As he spoke these words to me, on Memorial Day, no less, I realized that I could not tell a lie to my fellow bloggers.

I only went to the gym once this week.

I deserve to be humiliated in public. I procrastinated. I was lazy. I don’t deserve to be thought of as a hunky sex object anymore until I prove my worth again.

But for now, I donate twenty dollars to the Wellness Community of the South Bay.

How did everyone else do? Where are your donations to a cancer charity of my choice? Roll call!

Bloggers With Biceps (as of 5/29)

Dating Dummy
Edgy Mama
The Yearning Heart
Anonymous City Girl
Plain Jane

New Participants



  1. jackt

    Are you going to humiliate yourself in a creative way, like showing a HNT pic of yourself later this week?

  2. treespotter

    see!!!! I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! You were prepping for this, you were laying down foundations for excuses and an eventual annullment of the contract. I’d recommend that we put incremental penalty clause in the contract, some sorts of amendments. My lawyers are good with them things and they’re driving me suicidal at the moment. I’d suggest that this be negotiated promptly! before next Monday.

  3. uh, Sandy

    uhm, have you not gotten into a tiff with uh, Sandy last night - you would have fulfilled your contract, since uh, Sandy was in the middle of trying to drag your ass out for an hour-long walk for that very reason… 😉

  4. Fitèna

    My son, recognising your fault is a very good thing indeed. Taking your punishment is the next best thing. Go and bear the ordeal like a man. Go. 🙂

    Me? I did des abdo eveymorning. I don’t get time for gym so I danced around the house to loud music. I now have monumental courbatures. Think am going to the spa this week end for a massage. after all, I deserve it!


  5. Michele

    Week one report: I worked out on Wednesday and Sunday for an hour each. I also got some additional cardio in Saturday night by dancing my ass off at the Violent Femmes concert for two hours.

    Do I get a sticker?

    Love ya Neil. It’s a fresh week. Only three more weeks to go.

    You can do it, honey!

  6. Mari

    I did 10 minutes of running on the monday, half an hour of yoga on the tuesday, one hour of bodypump on the thursday and one hour at the gym (weights and cycling machine) on friday. And suffered heavily for it on the weekend. Eat lots of bananas, that’s my advice. It helps the ache in your muscles go away.
    Stick with it Neil- we need you- you’re our rock.

  7. the Yearning Heart

    I exercised 3 times this week (Tuesday, Thurday and Saturday) with a good cardio workout too. Saturday I took Monsieur’s old bike out, filled up the tires and ran right over a busted Heineken bottle, blowing out the rear tube. I had to call him with my cell phone for a rescue.

  8. Jenni

    I went to the gym three times last week, plus went bike riding and took the pooch for a long walk.

    I also drank my weight in beer and wine, but whatever. It all evens out in the end.

  9. Paris Parfait

    Uh, Neil if you hadn’t been spending so much time worrying about uh, Sandy or your puesdo-bachelor pad maybe you’d have gotten your act together and fulfilled your part of the bargain. As it is, I think your behaviour in owning up to your total disinterest in the gym is admirable! Abe Lincoln would be proud, because you did the right thing. (And I love your sense of humour. Love it!)

  10. helen

    Don’t care. WOuld just love to see you in boxers.

    Biceps or no biceps, you’re a 10 in my books. lol

  11. stephanie

    I took my four mile walk twice last week. And I lifted once.

    So, mostly…. that counts, right?

  12. cruisin-mom

    you’ll notice I wasn’t naive enough to join your little list of followers. (were you a hunky sex object, Neil?)

  13. anne arkham

    I have a feeling the Wellness Community is really going to benefit from this.

  14. MA

    I’m going to cave and join your group. There’s nothing like peer pressure to go to the gym!

  15. Sarah

    Since I had opted to move straight to the humiliation part of the contract, I’d like you to know that I’ve been humiliating myself all week long.

  16. ACG

    But power is an aphrodisiac.

  17. amanda

    wait, what am i supposed to be doing? exercising? okay, i think i am good. i ran or danced most days last week…good enough? i have to go back and review the rules of engagement.

  18. Dagny

    When you first wrote about the contract, I saw it as being like a New Year’s resolution — good for the first couple of days but then quickly forgotten. Glad to see my faith has not been disturbed. Well, at least not by you, Neil.

  19. Bre

    well, at least you came clean… most people would keep that as a dirty little secret

  20. rachh

    Trained for 75 mins on tuesday, had extremely large amount of bedroom activity over wkend. Does that count as one training session? Don’t be demoralised, have changed my mind, don’t want zero 7 new album anymore, has lenny kravitz got a greatest hits you can send me.

  21. party girl

    If only all great leaders could and would be so honest.

  22. Neil

    Rach — Bedroom activity DOES NOT count, unless it was so vigorous that you hit your target exercise heart rate.

  23. Blonde Vigilante

    I had no idea and I plead the 5th, but I’ll donate something to diabetes most likely. You’ve guilted me into it.

  24. Caitlinator

    I was good last week, four days of 30-minute Pilates in the mornings and four days of 30-minute cardio workouts in the evenings. No humiliation for me!

  25. Nics

    I’m not officially part of this exciting blogger project but I’ve been walking to work for the past week!

  26. Kevin

    I’m not quite sure how to explain how I did. I was at the gym twice last week for about 45 minutes each time. And Katie and I went for walks a couple times that probably equate to a little over an hour. So, while I didn’t have a single “greater than an hour” workout instance, I did work out for nearly three hours or more over the course of the week. What say you, chief?

  27. kimananda

    You are a stern taskmaster, Neilochka. Just remember that everyone is a hunky sex object to someone out there in the universe. If you’re lucky, two people. And giving to charity is always commendable.

  28. Brooke

    You would make a wonderful politician. And that is not a compliment.

  29. femme_despoir

    went to gym twice last week for my workouts, but then it closed for remodeling until tomorrow morning. but i also hopped on the home treadmill for two 30 minute walks each day i couldn’t go to the gym. week one – DONE!!!

    but my feet hurt, and i want a massage. do you supply that?

  30. Bethany

    Honesty, I like that. I walked three miles twice last week and did a 15 minute t-tapp workout when I got home. Still on track! Saving my $20 for a new wardrobe!

  31. Neil

    Great job, everyone! (except me)

    We each have to go at our own pace, but by the third week, I will not be allowing strolling in the park, dancing, sex, or playing Frisbee with your dog as “exercise.”
    In the immortal words of Billy Blanks, creator of Tae Bo:

    “Remember the way you look today is the way your mind and will makes you look, because no one can surpass their free will. You have the power to achieve and do anything you want to do, but you have to put on the power!”

  32. plain jane

    I rode my bicycle (briskly) for 30 minutes two times, and I worked with hand weights for a pathetic 10 minutes. I will humiliate myself by telling you that I tumbled “ass over teakettle” down my cement steps on Friday, (no doubt because I was so sore from my brisk bike ride–guilt trip for Neil). It doesn’t add up to two hours–I just donated $20 to the Boys & Girls of America.

  33. communicatrix

    I exercised once. I’m paying up for last week. And even though I like giving to a good cause, I’m gonna figure out how the hell I can get myself out there and exercise 2x/week. I mean come ON, it’s ridiculous–no one is that busy!!!

  34. better safe than sorry

    i take my dog for three hour long walks every day, even in the rain. maybe you should get a puppy, women love puppies;)

  35. Neil

    Communicatrix — Now that I think about it, wasn’t our meeting at Starbucks a form of “exercise.”

  36. Thérèse

    Wow. Commendable, Neil. You *are* the citizen of the month, aren’t you?

    What a great idea you have. I do admire it. It’s groovy.

  37. Thérèse

    (Note. That was a rhetorical question.)

  38. Denise

    Two hour-long sessions on the treadmill and I’m not even significantly sore. Perhaps I could keep on doing this!

  39. modigli

    Hey, I like that Billy Blanks quote, Neil. And the Honest Abe quote, too!

  40. claire

    I would’ve cut you some slack and said $10 was enough since you did workout once for an hour.

    Actually your crumbling from the top speech reminded me of the defendant in Legally Blonde: she built a fitness empire out of her workout but would rather go to jail for murder than admit her alibi was getting lyposuction.

  41. Alex

    I just love your writing style! I love this Bloggers with Biceps and glad to see you coughed up the money! It will inspire you to make sure you don’t have to do it next week- and I would officially like to join now as a member too. I am right there with you in not being an avid fan of exercise, or any fan. You are reading the words of a person who spent the weekend painting her bedroom and at one point found myself seriously irritated with the room that it couldn’t paint itself. I realized after a second how silly that was, but thats what exercise does to me! But this is a new week-good luck to us all!

  42. Mere

    Excellent site, Neil. Thanks for visiting Milk and Honey. You’re one of few, dear. So ladies wear hats, huh? I was thinking along the line of always needing iced tea in the fridge for unexpected visitors and buying pants that actually come up to my waist.
    Kudos on your honest approach with the Bloggers for Biceps.
    Apparently absolute power corrupts absolutely, but you’ve managed to stave off the temptation of the elite to change the rules at whim.

  43. mariemm3

    Went to the gym once. Thursday and walked Saturday and Sunday.

    Not easy but well worth it.

  44. Alissa

    We do all love you for your honesty neil. I’ll still think of you as a hunk, honesty is much more attractive to me than bulging biceps any day!

  45. Jack

    Just kick in a $300 now and we’ll call it even. 🙂

  46. girlgoyle

    U got two choices on memorial…pay up or lace up your sneakers and go for a run.

  47. Dating Dummy

    Well, I hit the gym once and used “official” weights there, and then for the next few days, I carried 30 pound boxes and hauled couches on my back while climbing two flights of stairs to move into my new apartment. And all this while ICG looked on. Does that count as exercise?

  48. Edgy Mama

    Swam twice last week. Walked with hand weights twice. This week may be difficutl, though, as I have one kid out of school and a spouse out in your part of the country.

    Good job coming clean, Neil!

  49. akaky

    Due to my negative high school gym experience, I have not been to a gym since; in fact, you couldnt pay me to go.

  50. Alison

    I got my 2 hours in last week, but here it is Wednesday evening of week 2, and I’ve done nothing yet. Must get crackin’.

  51. Peggy Archer

    Wuss. 🙂

    I went to the gym every day except Monday – on Monday, I slept on the couch all day.

    Better luck next week.

    Don’t beat yourself up.

  52. Neil

    Peggy – I went today! I found myself a much nicer 24 hour fitness, so I’m sure that will help. The other one on Pico should be closed as a health hazard.

  53. modigli

    That Dating Dummy!!! What nerve to leave such a comment! Can you beleive he says such things on your blog?! I’ll have you know, Neil, that I packed and unpacked every. single. box. during that move of ours!!

    Not that you cared. But I’m just sayin! 🙂

  54. Neil

    Modigli — How cute! Now you are a REAL couple!

  55. Cavu

    I want to join. 6 miles run already this week, baby! And I just started last week.

  56. Peggy Archer

    I go to the Sport Club next to the Arclight, and it’s not bad at all. That one on Pico is terrible, I’ll agree.

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