I’m worried that I’m fat now. Because Nikol is dating a guy who is a professional bicycle racer. He must maintain an absolutely lean physique at all times, burns 8000 calories a day or something. This guy has abs, real abs, not a mushy six pack with a little pooch at the bottom like mine. When you talk about an ideal male body you’re talking about a guy whose stomach doesn’t fold when he’s sitting down. You’re talking about 5 per cent body fat. Michael Phelps. You’re talking about people who have that for a living. Merely flirting with single digits body fat isn’t enough. Looking good lit from the side with high contrast lamps while flexing down isn’t enough. You gotta look like the cover of Men’s Health even when there’s Vaseline on the lens and you’re in the fetal position with all muscles relaxed. So that is my new fitness goal. I’d been lifting a lot; put on a few pounds of muscle. Now it’s time to drain the remaining fat so you can see striations. Tendons. Fat blue veins snaking over my forearms.
Physically this can be done, but it’s the psychology that gets you. It burns out some fuse that tells you how much to eat. You are constantly hungry as shit and constantly just thinking don’t eat don’t eat don’t eat, 16 waking hours per day. The smells coming from restaurants become something primal, like the musk of a cow’s cunt to a rutting bull. Don’t eat don’t eat don’t eat and it’s one of those things– you fuck up once and suddenly you’ve thrown down 1600 calories worth of ice cream. If you use cardio machines you begin to appreciate the horror that is calorie math. You can be on a Stairmaster at a full sprint for an hour, it won’t burn off food that takes you two minutes to put down.
And you’re miserable. Snappy. You don’t sleep well. You pop awake at 5am because the fucking cat is meowing and then suddenly some jerkoff a mile and a half away is gunning his Harley at a stop light, a mockingbird is trilling desperately, you remember it’s garbage day, and the big loud diesel garbage truck is gonna come, fire up its klaxon-loud reverse warning beeper and painstakingly pick up fifteen thousand cans with its creaky hydraulic arm and even though that’s not happening for an hour and a half, the fact that it will happen keeps you awake. Now you haven’t slept and that makes you hungry.
What do I even give a shit. I get laid plenty and they always say nice things about my body. But it’s not enough to be in the top ten per cent, the top five per cent. There are other guys out there with big melon shoulders and eight packs and V crotches who look great just laying around, and so to merely look good– that is unacceptable. Even though I’m never shirtless. I’m shirtless three hours on a weekend at most. But still.
When you get that cut you actually hate your body. In addition to your appetite being fucked it burns out some fuse in your self-perception. You look at the mirror and only see the fat you have left. You are thinner than you were but you feel fatter just thinking about it. You can feel creases in your stomach flab rub together when you lean over. You stretch your back out as far as it will go to pull taut your tiny bit of belly fat and then you get a glimpse of back fat from the side. Little packets on top of your hips that will never go away. You’d need surgery. Get it frozen. You are reminded of a brochure in the doctor’s office about a “‘Cool’ Way To Lose Unsightly Body Fat™;” they blast it with liquid nitrogen or some shit. You have stretch marks on your ass. Your ass is big from squatting, lunging, deadlifting and then powering down pounds and pounds of lean beef but with that thin layer of fat on top of it it just looks like a fat ass.
You become a connoisseur of lights. The light in the bathroom is terrible, diffuse; the light in the living rooms makes you look cut. You spend a lot of time shirtless in the living room. The light in the gym locker room is OK so people walk in to you pinching back skin to get a look at your obliques, which you are having difficulty finding with your brain to flex. Fuck you, I can flex in the mirror; it’s the gym. You look fat after the bath, must have taken on water. You look fat after you eat salty food. You’re not tan enough; no one can see any muscle definition when you’re not tan. You are jealous of black people. You would take slavery for increased visibility of your deltoid fibers.
They came for starch and I said nothing. They came for pastry and sugar; fine. I don’t need that shit. But they come for booze, when you’re losing weight. Booze has 96 calories per drink at the very least, and you have to drink six to eight drinks per night to avoid feeling regret, sadness and fear. Six to eight hundred calories on the stair master. Thirty minutes at a full sprint. Forty five minutes. It’s manageable if there’s a girl with a nice ass in front of you.
Eighty calories in an apple. Two hundred fifty in a pint of blueberries. Something like the number of stars in the universe in a cubic inch of cheese. And you run out of gas trying to burn it off; it’s fucking hard to work out. Your body desperately does not want you to do this. I will fuck with everything to stop you, it says. Your shit. Your sleep. Your ability to feel happiness. You are miserable the whole time. You can’t even get laid with this beautiful body. Because you can’t talk to people; you are short-fused and surly and there’s a fog creeping up into your brain from the back of your neck, a weird headache.
Gaining is a pleasure. Putting on weight is a pleasure. You eat and you think: good, fuel for muscle. You feel healthy and strong, if sore. Cutting is hell. But what are you gonna do. At least I’m not fat.