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How To Convince People You Actually Used To Be In Good Shape

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You’ve heard it from the mouths of pleasantly shocked coworkers and new friends: “Really? You were, huh?” Yes. You may not look it anymore, but at one point, you were in above average-to-tremendous shape. You might have not been an athlete, but you kept it tight. Then came college, where “health” wasn’t the first priority in life. You were invincible. Calories didn’t count when you were drunk or strung out on Folgers at 3am during finals week. You still stayed “active,” though. You walked to class, got a workout in when you weren’t hungover, and mixed in a salad every now and again. Then came graduation, and the crushing reality of office life. Sitting at a desk for hours upon hours at a time and never eating a homemade meal took a toll on your body, and before you knew it, you’d gone from “cute college gut” to “borderline obese.” You’re a blob, and you tell yourself you can still get back into shape anytime you want, but you’re just so tired all the time. It’s on your short list of things to do. Till then, you just need to bide your time until you can handle sacrificing one hour of precious couch time to spend at the gym.

Attempt to perform minor feats of athleticism in front of others.

You have to pace yourself. You can’t just go bounding up the stairs in front of your office. That will end with you hunched over and heaving desperately for air in the hallway, while Jerry from accounting briskly strolls by you. A well-timed hop or skip up a stair or two can make it look like you’ve still got it though. When it comes to physical challenges, never turn one down. If a friend bets you $20 that you can’t clear a three-foot wide creek on your walk back home from the bars, shove it right in their face. You’ve still got it.

Make a monthly appearance at a gym.

Join a gym? No. Joining gyms is for suckers. Every single gym on the planet has some sort of “one week free” deal on their website. 24-Hour Fitness, Planet Fitness, Gold’s Gym, etc. They all have them. You won’t even have to give them credit card information or promise payment. They just want people in the building. No one who joins a chain gym has ever really wanted to get back into shape. It’s all for appearances. That’s your goal here. To give off the impression that you want to get back in shape, not that you are getting back in shape. Plus, you already know what you’re doing. You used to bang out 20 curls with 45s. You may not be able to do 40 tricep dips in a row, but you’ve still got some muscle definition underneath your shirt after a quick couple of sets. The ever-judging eyes in the gym will get wise to your game. Avoid looking in the mirror. If you look upon the flabby mess you’ve become, your mental projection of yourself will be forever tarnished.

Don’t lose your positive mental projection of yourself.

I’ve read that your mental projection of yourself barely begins to accurately describe what you really look like. Where you might think you’re more ugly than you really are, the real world’s perception of you is that you are an above average looking human being. If you think you’re super hot, odds are you’re not really hot. The important thing is to stay positive. The best way to make people believe something is to believe it yourself. If you believe you’re just 10 good workouts and a juice cleanse away from being a person of average build, everyone else will believe it. Projection. That’s what it’s all about.

Watch what you eat (around other people).

Bette Midler once sang, “God is watching us, from a distance.” Well, God doesn’t have access to your Seamless order history or knows how many points you have left for a free pizza from Papa John’s, and neither do your friends and coworkers. Publicly, you can come off as a health nut who only eats paleo-friendly, gluten-free, free-range organic, but can’t lose weight due to a genetic glandular disorder or something they’re too afraid to ask about. Privately, there’s a stack of pizza boxes taller than your garbage can in your apartment and you’re on a first name basis with the guy who delivers your General Tso’s chicken every Thursday. No one has to know.

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