Get up.

Get up right now. Get up from there. Put down the soda. Put down the beer. Put down the cigarette. Put down the vidja game control module. Put down the laptop. Put down the TV clicker. Put down the cell phone. Put down the knitting, the watercolor, and the Great American Novel. Put down the baby. Set it over there. It will be fine. Crime has been falling since the 90s.

Don’t start talking. Ach! Don’t do it. I see your lip trembling. I see your jaw unhinging. I see, visually, a cartoon-style speech bubble forming atop your head. I see—forming in your brain, slipping through your neurons, and coming out of your feckless mouth—an unfortunate piece of content to fill that speech bubble: an excuse. An excuse for why you can’t.

Yes you can. You sick piece of shit. Pardon me. Yes you can. Yes you can!

Before any of us were here there was nothing but a formless void. Later, into that void came the sun, moon, stars, planets, elephants, and mankind. Some time later came barbells. Let me bring this little science lesson around to its revelatory conclusion: at no point in eternity was a reason made for you not to go work out. The only “obstacles” are courses featuring ropes and things to climb over—which are themselves a workout. Study the ancient scrolls. You can work out. Yes you can. The only thing stopping you—is you!!!

Just one of the reasons not to like you.

Excuses? I’ve heard em all. “I don’t have time to go to the gym.” “I’m busy after work.” “I’m tired.” “I just don’t feel like it.” “I don’t know you or why you’re accosting me.” “I worked out last weekend.” “I really object to being accosted by a total stranger.” “I have stuff to do later and I don’t want to get sweaty.” “I’m shocked that no one has called the police on you yet because your practice of accosting strangers on the street raving about ‘workouts’ is rude and probably qualifies as unlawful harassment.” “I don’t have any gym clothes.” I’ve heard em all and not to put too fine a point on it but they make me want to gag in disgust, spit out the “Deluxe” mixed nuts I was eating like a boss, and exclaim something to the effect that I don’t buy any of these excuses—not for a second!

Alarm clock “apps” for your phone are free these days—I checked.

Excuses! They make me want to grab a live turkey, bite that turkey’s neck, and turn to you with turkey blood dripping down my chin like “I can bite the hell out of a live turkey and you can’t even find six and a half minutes per day to do burpees until you see starbursts in your vision field? How does that work?”

Are you some sort of hero? Oh sorry, I thought that you must be some kind of special hero, given the fact that you insist on making excuses for yourself that could not possibly be considered valid for the average human who lives the the real world with the rest of us who know that if you want to work out you just set the alarm on your phone for an hour earlier in the morning and go and do pushups and shit and by the time everyone else is getting up, fuck them, you already worked out. The rest of us live in the real world where you can work out first thing in the morning, or in the middle of the day, or after work, or in the middle of the freaking night in darkness, using a clicking version of “sonar” to locate any incoming sources of danger as you do walking lunges down a shadowy alley, just you and the rats. In the physical universe that the vast majority of us occupy, even if you’re tired you can take a power nap and drink a cup of coffee and then sprint headlong through an open field, back and forth like a wild colt, doing pullups from a tree branch joyously, and if someone comes along and laughs at you that’s okay—you were just finishing up. Judging by all of your excuses, you must not live in this world. You must live in hero world, where the rules don’t apply because you are so heroic. What are you, a mom? They’re the real heroes. Moms, and our nation’s first responders. If they don’t have time to work out, well, it’s understandable. Is that the case for you? No, you are a self-employed “graphic designer” who refuses to roll off the couch and do a plank even though you totally could.

Do me a favor. Scratch that— do yourself a favor. If you were doing me a favor you would bring me a new bag of “Deluxe” mixed nuts along with a thoughtful note apologizing for your disappointing behavior. I won’t hold my breath. Let’s start with a little favor benefiting “the brand called you”—that’s you, hot shot. Close your eyes. Think about all the unimportant things in your life that unnecessarily occupy valuable space in your mind: your job, your dating life, your finances, the well being of your family and friends. Imagine these trivial concerns as balloons. Now release all of these balloons and let them float away. Do you see them? There they go, up into the sky. They are gone. Now open your eyes. You are free—free to perfect the overhead squat.

No I am not a “guru,” a “performance coach,” or a “hella attractive” but emotionally disturbed oracle, as many have said. I’m just a simple man with a simple message: you think you have a reason for not working out. But you do not. What you have is a thought bubble filled with an excuse of your own making that bears no relation to the facts of life in this world of ours. Here, take this saber. Reach out and puncture that thought bubble. Watch the excuse fall out, screaming, its blood running into a nearby gutter as it pleads for life. Chuckle coldly as you wipe your blade (mentally). Spit. Turn and face the sunset. Lace up your reasonably priced athletic shoes. There is nothing left standing between you and the gym except for the open road. And you can sprint that.

You better get going.

KEY POINTS FOR THE BUSY EXECUTIVE: You can work out; there’s no reason you can’t work out; go work out; you’re no hero.

[Illustration by Jim Cooke. I of the Tiger archives are here and here.]

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