Citizen of the Month

the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Tag: exercise

A Study Says…

Don’t be fat because you will be seen as a lazy, low-performer in the office.

I’m not going to spend too much time analyzing this article for you. I read it three times, trying to understand why the logic of the piece made no sense to me. I would have more easily accepted the thesis if Penelope Trunk simply said that the skinny people of the world hate fat people, so we naturally discriminate against them in the workplace.  Instead, the author brings up SCIENCE, much like James Watson’s iffy “proof” that blacks aren’t as smart as whites.

From Penelope Trunk’s “The Brazen Careerist” at Yahoo! Finance

Before you get up in arms over how unfair it is to discriminate against people who are overweight, consider that there may be some rationale behind it. If you’re overweight, you’re probably not exercising every day. But regular exercise increases peoples’ ability to cope with difficult situations in the workplace and, according to University of Illinois kinesiology professor Charles Hillman, might even make people smarter.

And the same self-discipline we use to make ourselves exercise regularly and eat in moderation carries over into other aspects of our lives. This is probably why, in a study from Leeds Metropolitan University, people who exercise regularly were found to be better at time-management and more productive than those who don’t.

Exercise makes a worker more productive, and fat people don’t exercise, so they are “perceived” as lazy workers. But wait a minute — aren’t there fat people who are exercising? Aren’t there people who aren’t fat, like me, who are lazy as shit and rarely go the gym? The conclusion I got from this article isn’t that fat people are lazy, but that employers should require you to take gym classes as part of the job. Or that they should just hire Olympic gymnasts.

This article represents the worst type of career advice — give in to the irrational stereotypes of today, so you can “get ahead” to the detriment of the next guy who can’t get the fat off. There’s the winners (the skinny) and the losers (the fat). Don’t be “perceived” as the loser! And there is “science” now to explain away the status quo!

Remember when everyone thought that women were created to have babies and make dinner?

I’d like to see this author write a piece telling ambitious blacks to try to pass as “white” so they aren’t perceived as being “less smart.” After all, there is a study that backs this up. Who knows — it might help their career?!

I know I’m still thinking of becoming Christian to perfect myself (see previous post).

Bloggers with Biceps – Graduation

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Neil:  “Congratulations to those who have made it through a month of exercise. 

I can’t say I was perfect.  I reached my goal twice and donated money twice.

I’m definitely going to keep on exercising.  How about you? 

I’m looking forward to the day when I can rip my shirt off and show you all what exercise has done for my physique.

Since this is your official graduation from Bloggers with Biceps, I’ve invited someone special to hand out your official decals — Governor of California Arnold Schwartzenneger.”

Arnold: “Thank you, Neilochka.  I appreciate everything you and your blog do for California’s economy.  As I look out at all of you Bloggers with Biceps, I am truly amazed that such a loser bunch of girly-boys and fat-ass women chose to finally do some exercise. 

I’m especially glad that a few of you live in California and are choosing to exercise, because having fat people in this state is bad for our reputation.  We are supposed to be the mecca of plastic surgery and incredibly thin women like my wife, Maria.  Hopefully, on Election Day, California voters will support me by voting in Proposition 184, which builds a wall around the state prohibiting anyone with more than 15% body fat from entering California.

But let’s leave politics for another day.  Or like I love to joke, “let’s Terminate this conversation.”  Today is all about YOU and your SUCCESS. 

May I call to the podium the following bloggers:

Michele
Femme
Mari
Alison
Bill
Jules
Fitena
Stephanie
Denise
Caitlin
Dating Dummy
Edgy Mama
Kevin
Amanda
Communicatrix
Dan
The Yearning Heart
Mariemm
Anonymous City Girl
Mags
Kelly
Peggy
Ashbloem
Bethany
Plain Jane
Cavu
Alex
MA

Congratulations all.  You have made Neilochka proud.

As you may have noticed, there are two decals attached to this post.  Please print them out on some nice paper stock, then iron them onto your favorite denim jacket or jeans.  Just don’t put them on the back of your pants because it will just emphasize your big ass.  Hey, it’s only been one month.  What did you expect — miracles?”

Neil:  “Thank you, Governor Schwartzenegger for that incredibly inspirational speech.   Doesn’t he look great?  He’ll always be Mr. Universe in my book. 

Thank you to all the bloggers out there who participated.  It made exercise fun.  Let’s keep on nudging each other through emails. 

Now turn off your computer and get yourself to the gym!”

A Year Ago on Citizen of the MonthBattle of the Cult Stars

Bloggers With Biceps – Week Three

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I know… you were hoping that I forgot.

That I got so involved with my rant against experts and getting Dooce to comment on my blog that I would forget OUR AGREEMENT.

I know some of you are hiding.

You are hiding because you didn’t exercise this week. You are hiding because you do not want to give twenty dollars to charity EVEN THOUGH your signed your name IN BLOOD in front of the ENTIRE BLOGOSPHERE.

I wasn’t lazy last week.

No.

I went to the gym THREE TIMES this week. Let me say that again: THREE TIMES!

(OK, the truth:  Sophia had to drag me there each time against my will)

But my abs are getting so tight that I have been inspired by Angelina Jolie to give myself the kosher-version of her latest tattoo:

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How did you do this week…?

Michele
Femme
Mari
Alison
Bill
Jules
Fitena
Stephanie
Denise
Caitlin
Dating Dummy
Edgy Mama
Kevin
Amanda
Communicatrix
Dan
The Yearning Heart
Mariemm
Anonymous City Girl
Mags
Kelly
Peggy
Ashbloem
Bethany
Plain Jane
Cavu
Alex
MA

You have one more week in the program. Get out there and exercise!

A Year Ago on Citizen of the Month: The Ultimate Status Symbol: More Kids

Bloggers with Biceps – Week Two

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If I told you that I went to the 24 Hour Fitness in Hermosa Beach on Saturday afternoon and their lights were out, making it difficult to exercise, would you believe me?  Or does it sound like the schoolboy’s excuse of  “my dog ate my homework.”

Well, their lights were out — honestly — and I was about to leave, when I asked myself:

“What would Billy Blanks, world-renowned fitness expert and creator of Tae Bo, do?”

I realized that I must exercise, no matter what the obstacles! 

So, I exercised in the dark (well, since it was afternoon, there was plenty of light from the windows, but I wanted to paint the scene as dramatic as possible for you).

I tried the elliptical machines, but after I felt like I was going to drop dead, I went back to the treadmill.  I’m still exploring the weight machines.  I think I like using dumbbells more than these machines.  It’s simpler and I’m less apt to overcompensate with my stronger arm.  

It’s still pretty hard for me to go 2X a week, but the peer pressure is helping.  I procrastinated as usual, not finishing my time until Sunday night.

But I did accomplish my two hours for week two!

Anyone need to humiliate themselves here?

Bloggers with Biceps – Week One

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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)

Neil
Michele
Femme
Mari
Alison
Bill
Jules
Fitena
Stephanie
Denise
Caitlin
Dating Dummy
Edgy Mama
Kevin
Amanda
Communicatrix
Dan
The Yearning Heart
Mariemm
Anonymous City Girl
Mags
Kelly
Peggy
Ashbloem
Bethany
Plain Jane

New Participants

Cavu
Alex
MA

I Vow to Move My Ass

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Hear Ye, Hear Ye:

This royal decree binds all who sign below.

I, your name here, am one of those “creative types” who would rather sit all day in a hip cafe than workout in a smelly gym. As a wordsmith, I woo others with the brilliance of my words, but have neglected the importance of my calf muscles, forgetting that they are essential for reaching up to the top bookshelf at Barnes and Noble.

As outlined in the previous post, I agree to exercise twice a week for one hour each visit, for one month, starting Monday, May 22nd. If I am not a member of a gym, I agree to do a full exercise routine in or near my home. For each week where my responsibilities are neglected, I will donate twenty dollars to a health-related charity and will humiliate myself on my own blog or in the comment section of this post.

This contract is binding through the power of Google.

As is it written, as it is said.

Bloggers With Biceps (as of 5/22)

Neil
Michele
Femme
Mari
Alison
Bill
Jules
Fitena
Stephanie
Denise
Caitlin
Dating Dummy
Edgy Mama
Kevin
Amanda
Communicatrix
Dan
The Yearning Heart
Mariemm
Anonymous City Girl
Mags
Kelly
Peggy
Ashbloem
Bethany
Plain Jane

The Buddy System

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Back in my single days, I liked to entertain a woman on a first date with this little trick. After dinner, as we walked hand-in-hand in the crisp night air, I would take off my shirt and ask her to bounce a quarter off of my chest. Women would be amazed as the quarter would spring off the tautness of my muscles and fly 150 feet away.

This afternoon, I was in Staples buying an ink-jet refill, when I found a quarter on the floor. For old-times sake, I asked this cheerful mother of two (buying colored construction paper for her adorable little girl — hello, Rachel!) if she would bounce the quarter off of my bare chest. She happily agreed, and as her two daughters looked on, she threw the quarter against my body. While the mother was very impressed with the result — the quarter flew smack into the middle of faraway aisle 12 (“Digital Media”), I was very disappointed that the quarter only went 75 feet. This meant only one thing — it was time for me to go back to the gym.

The only problem is that I don’t like going to the gym. It is BORING! I’m also a major procrastinator. When I try to do something I really don’t want to do it, I find a million reasons to put it off. For instance:

Neil 1: “I thought about going to the gym tonight.”

Neil 2: “But whoops, I just ate”

Neil 1: “Maybe later. ”

Neil 2: “Oh, I’m sorry. I have to wash some towels later.”

Neil 1: “How about after that? ”

Neil 2: “Hey, isn’t playing with yourself considered exercise? I’ll do that instead!”

Remember, I live in Los Angeles. Being in the best shape is very important here, especially in the summer. Showing off your body is actually SO important to Angelenos that law firms in Century City now allow their partners to come in wearing bathing suits and bikinis during the summer months.

I need help with this gym thing. And here’s where YOU come in.

A week ago, I was reading a post by the charming Caitlin at Caitlinator. She was writing about how she was avoiding writing some resumes. I instantly related, because I just happen to procrastinate on writing resumes as much as I do about going to the gym. I wrote a comment to her, joking that we should make sure the other wrote ten resumes this week. If one of us didn’t, we’d have to pay the other ten bucks. I completely forgot about this “deal” until today. And you know what? — it’s not a bad idea!

Think about how much easier it is to write your blog posts than any of your “regular” writing. That’s because you know that someone — even if it is a crazy stranger living thousands of miles away — is reading your blog. We’re always motivated by others!.

So, I’m looking for a virtual exercise buddy for the next week. Just one week to see if it works — and get us both started. This person should be someone as lazy as me. He/she should hate going to the gym.

This is the deal: We each go to our gym, or exercise in some other way — let’s say twice this week — nothing too over-the-top. By the end of the week, if one of us fails to accomplish the mission, the loser has to:

1) Write a post humiliating yourself in front of the world.
2) Buy your buddy a CD of his/her choice.
3) Donate twenty bucks to some cancer research charity.

I think the fear of humiliation alone will make us exercise.

Anyone want to be my buddy?

A Year Ago in Citizen of the MonthMy Date with Rob and Kai.

My Zelnorm Tummy

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What am I doing wrong?  Everyone on TV using Zelnorm seems to get such flat stomachs.  I’ve been taking it for three months now to get that "six-pack abs" look, and I still get sand kicked in my face at the beach.  This product sucks!

The Master Plan

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Sophia walks for her exercise.  Two weeks ago, Sophia  invited me to go walking with her.  What I didn’t know was that we were going to be walking for two and a half hours, all the way from Redondo Beach to LAX. 

After our journey through the South Bay, I was exhausted.   As a favor to me, Sophia said we should sit down and have some ice cream.

"What now?"  I asked, after finishing my pistachio ice cream cone.

"We walk home."

"No way!"

We ended up taking a taxi home.  It cost me thirty dollars.

On Sunday, Sophia invited me to go walking again.

"No way!" I said for the second time in two weeks.

"You’re sitting too much on your butt blogging.  It’s time for you to get out." 

I knew she was right. 

"OK, I have a plan." I said.   "We’ll drive both our cars to LAX.  We’ll leave my car there, and you’ll drive us back in your car.   We’ll take our long walk from Redondo Beach to LAX.   We’ll relax and have some ice cream, and then my car will be right there at LAX to take us back home again!"

"An excellent plan.  Let’s do it."

I drove over to Sophia’s place.  We took our two and a half hour walk to LAX.   I was exhausted, as usual.  We had our ice cream.    After our break, we walked to my car.  I bragged about my cleverness.

"Now all we have to do is drive back home.  I don’t know where you’re ever going to find another husband who’s as smart as I am."

Then I realized something.  We still a little problem.  I had left my keys back in the glove compartment of Sophia’s car.

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