Like you, I never exercise.
Let others pursue their goal of being human celery stalks. Our physical fitness goal is to be shaped like a tomato.
Achieving total tomato insures that you will never be ogled when you walk the red carpet — the red carpet at the Buckaroo Buffet, that is.
Your rotundity will also help you in business. No matter how you are abused by your manager, a low center of gravity will keep you standing tall, like one of those roly-poly blow-up toys that bounce back after you punch them.
Considering where you work, this is a very useful skill.
For those who insist on regularly hitting the gym, it is important to realize that you may face a bigger challenge than that 5-pound dumbbell. I refer to the 150-pound dumbbell who is your manager.
Since you spend most of your day trying to avoid your manager, it can be a real shock when that same evil creature suddenly appears from the depths of the shower room totally naked and starts to berate you for coming in to work six minutes late in 1997.
Naturally, you can’t respond to these locker room reviews by saying anything about your manager’s physique, or lack thereof. This is why workplace experts recommend that you do not let your eyes wander.
Or maybe not. Career consultant and author Julie Jansen specifically recommends you “say very little, look down, be polite and leave.”
It’s the “look down” part that might get you into trouble. Some images are just impossible to erase. That’s why I say — if you have always avoided making eye contact with your boss, this is the time to start.
As for leaving, that has its own set of difficulties. In the office, no one will be surprised if you react to a surprise visit from your manager by running out the emergency exit. In the gym, you could run on the stair-stepper all day long, but it won’t get you anywhere. Nor is it the optimal strategy.
“Even if you’re uncomfortable making chitchat when your boss or senior person is standing before you in the nude, it’ll be even weirder if you’re flustered and running off.” (It’s not so weird when this happens in your private life. In fact, it happens all the time.)
Since the workout craze is likely to continue, it will be useful for you to have a few rules of behavior. Emily Post never posted on the subject, nor was she ever naked, so we’ll have to make do with the following from “Sweatiquette,” a Scripps Howard News Service feature I found on Tempe, Arizona’s East Valley Tribune.
- Change at opposite ends of the locker room.Good idea when you and a buddy go to the gym together, but it can be taken further. Let him change at the gym. You change at the bar at the Kit Kat Klub.
- Work out during off hours.Totally agree. Gyms are usually busy at lunchtime, or before and after work. But between 9 a.m. and noon or 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., gyms are inexplicably empty. This gives you six full hours to work out in privacy, plus, your company will actually be paying you to bench those 5-pound weights, grunt loudly and look admiringly at yourself in the mirror.
- Avoid jokes at your own expense.”Joshing about how you have to lose another 20 pounds will only make your colleague uncomfortable,” says the Sweatiquette expert. I agree. Especially when it’s obvious that what you have to lose is another 75 pounds.
- Don’t hide.If a co-worker spots you cowering behind a treadmill, you’re advised to “say a quick hello and — if you want to avoid prolonged small talk — tell your colleague you have to speed through your workout to make it back for a meeting.” Your co-worker won’t believe you, but the idea that you could possibly care about missing a meeting will have her laughing so hard it really won’t matter.
- Rinse off.Resist the urge, say the experts, when tempted to “skip the post-workout shower if you’re afraid of exposing yourself to colleagues (or being exposed to them), but you shouldn’t. You don’t want to be that guy who stinks.”Totally disagree. Guy or gal, skipping showers will not only save you embarrassment in the gym, it will make your co-workers keep their distance when you’re back at work.
It’s what we call the sweet smell of success.
Bob Goldman was an advertising executive at a Fortune 500 company, but he finally wised up and opened Bob Goldman Financial Planning in Sausalito, California. He now works out of Bellingham, Washington. He offers a virtual shoulder to cry on at email@example.com.