Good evening. You have reached the inaugural episode of my soon-to-be regularly-updated fitness blog, The Pood and You. I will not reveal my true name, but those lucky few I keep as intimates refer to me as Max-amillion. I think it has something to do with the fact that one of my aliases is Max and I have a body that looks like a million bucks, so the saying goes. You do not have my permission to address me this way.
Let’s cut to the chase. You’re here because you want to look and feel and act just like me. My ex-girlfriend once called me cold and distant but I also have a body that I am proud of, one that is elegant in its efficiency as it is deadly.
First, let’s go over the gear you will need. I will start by telling you what you don’t need. Fancy LuluLemon gear, sissy workout gloves, $500 sneakers, absurd weight-lifting machines you see on the late-night infomercials. Throw all those in the garbage. Get yourself a black shirt and a black pair of shorts or workout pants. You have to learn the hard way, like I did, that there’s no such thing as “workout time” so you have no need for workout gear. You need it to train in, yes, but you also need something that will allow you to be hidden in the cover of dark, because you never know when you need that extra edge over your enemies. I got these clothes five years ago and I’ve never changed out of them since. In fact it wouldn’t surprise me if I die in these clothes. Also I have to wear these glasses because I’m not allowed to drive without them and contacts make my eagle-keen eyes uncomfortable and itchy, but you get the idea.
The only piece of equipment you need is the huge hunk of cast-iron you see before me. This is a kettlebell, one-and-a-half poods of fitness excellence. A pood, by the way, is a Russian unit of weight equal to 16 kg, and I don’t have time to convert that into pounds because I’m too busy having a body that can kill a man with one punch. Anyway, the kettlebell is the secret weapon the Russians used for years to bulk up and fight bears in Siberia, juggle cannonballs in the circus, and put down Chechen insurgencies. Thanks to the kettlebell Russia can boast of having the strongest of strongmen in the whole world, reducing so-called “bodybuilders,” the best other countries can muster, into mere schoolchildren. I’m not Russian yet, but I’m working on it, and I achieve every goal I put before me.
I always start my formal workouts with calisthenics. I don’t want to hear any of this nonsense from you about how you don’t need to stretch before a workout. You will find that the kettlebell routine is a total-body routine, so none of this insipid leg-day, shoulder-day business. You’re going to be murdering muscle cells from all over your body, and if at the end of your routine you don’t feel like dying yourself you’re not doing it right. And you have no hope of reaching that level of total agony unless you take a moment to do some basic stretches first.
Besides, flexibility is important. What are you going to do in a flash flood, when the water reaches all the way to the ceiling of the top floor of your house and there’s no recourse left to you but to swim in the muck and punch out your windows and get to a relatively-safer floating piece of detritus, but you can’t because your lazy workout habits have left you as limber as a giraffe? As your lungs suck in polluted water and you slowly die, what will you do then, whine to yourself that you never thought it would happen to you? Not while you’re reading my blog, buddy.
Finally, when you’re done stretching, pause for about ten minutes. No, not for you, you imbecile, not for some phony pseudo-scientific new-age wellness meditation or some such idiocy. No, pause for me. I usually take this time to admire my own Vitruvian perfection and revel in just how much more perfect I will become, and you’d might as well do the same. Log on to my blog and stare at the photo directly above this paragraph for ten minutes and envy me, and slowly lose all hope in ever having a body that looks like anything other than a giant slug stuffed with cream cheese, and then walk into a moving bus. Or let it motivate you and keep reading, what do I care?
Now, on to the routine proper. You need only concern yourself with three maneuvers, the squat, the swing, and the getup. Let’s start with the squat. Imagine you’re doing sissyboy pilates at your gussied-up Lamaze class for men and you’re doing squats there. Now imagine those make-believe squats with one and a half poods of solid cast-iron in between your legs. The trick to these is get as low as possible, even lower than your justly-deserved sense of self-worth. You need to feel the pain of childbirth in these squats, something I’m sure you can handle since you are something of an anomaly as the first man to be born with a vagina. Actually, I’m wrong about that, because even Russian mothers give birth to Russian strongmen and that takes a modicum of stamina. In that case, just go low until you have to cry, and then don’t cry.
The swing is a perfect maneuver, a deadly-efficient ballistic exercise, just like a glock pistol. That’s not a metaphor, your swing has to be literally as deadly as a bullet. If you swing out and accidentally hit someone and that person doesn’t die instantly from the sheer magnitude of the shotgun-intense momentum of your swing, you’re not doing it right. In fact, I recommend that beginners have a buddy spot them, someone in your circle who’s not really your friend but you keep him around anyway because you don’t have the guts to send him away, you know the type. Have him stand in front of you and don’t tell him you’re about to do a swing, and on the off-chance you muster up enough brute force to instantly slay him with one blow you won’t miss him very much. Of course I’m not serious. All joking aside, I would actually recommend a complete stranger in front you, and your friend beside you, so when the stranger shuffles off his mortal coil at your feeble bloody hands you’ll have someone to help you dispose of the body because you’re still probably not strong enough to do it yourself, you wimp.
Not only is the getup an ideal maneuver that will burn the fat and weakness out of your body like an atomic bomb burning away millions of people too slow to run away from the blast, it’s also the perfect metaphor for life. Just as you start from the floor and rise up with your kettlebell, so we all start in the muck, but only some are strong enough to get up to new heights. Take me, in my perfect cozy little corporate shill life, coming home to my ex-girlfriend, putting up with her as she yelled at me for leaving socks on the floor, or forgetting to wash the dishes every now and then. Not anymore. We are all in the gutter, only some of us are reaching for the stars, and to date only I have caught one.
The final part of the getup, and your daily routine, is a true test of endurance, as it requires that you hold the position for as long as you can’t stand up or hold your arm up anymore, then repeat the process with your other arm. The trick is to think about something emotionally distressing to you until your mental anguish becomes so great you don’t even think about the immense physical agony you’re in. There’s not much in my life that makes me sad since I’ve overcome most pain in my daily life, but there’s a recurring dream I have that seems to do the trick. In the dream I’m training and becoming the man I was born to be, I train and train and get stronger and grow and grow. I grow until I become bigger than my house can fit. I laugh as my ex-girlfriend runs away, carrying whatever valuables she can and stuffing them into her car, no doubt to drive away to her mother’s house, as I bust through the walls of my house. I barely have time to flex my huge muscles before I realize I’m growing even bigger. I take giant strides through my neighborhood, entire blocks are passed by with single strides. I keep growing, my black clothes by now have ripped to shreds and I’m as I was born, perfect in every way and requiring nothing.
I still grow, the city can’t hold me anymore. I keep growing, and now I’m bigger than certain states, and every step I take is a federal crime. I grow and grow, and now whole mountain ranges, tallest skyscrapers and proud monuments fall under my terrible steps, or stick out ineffectually between my toes. I have the attention of all the governments of the world. What to do about me, they chatter to each other in a thousand alien tongues. Certain world superpowers unleash their nuclear arsenal on me, but I laugh them off, as oceans are now mere mud puddles to me. The nuclear holocaust devastates almost everyone else in the world but it doesn’t stop me from growing. Now I am god-big, too big for the earth and its mere mortal denizens. With a Herculean effort and a monstrous bellow I jump off the earth and float in the atmosphere, strong enough to handle pure empty space, so big I don’t even need oxygen anymore. I keep growing, and I wonder if there’s anything in the universe that could possibly be bigger than me, and maybe if I just train hard enough I can grow to be bigger than it, as long as I have a kettlebell that’s slightly less big than me and proportionate in weight to me as a pood and a half is to my weight now. I revel in my girth and in my paradoxical weightlessness in deep space when a faint voice stops me, please, please Max-amillion, stop growing, come back down, come home. We all miss you, we need you here. Please…
…and try as I might I can’t ignore it, and try as I might I can never recognize the voice, but it never stops me from realizing that they’re right. I’m in space and I’m huge but I’m alone, and I call back but I know that by now the earth is so small that whoever survived the nuclear attacks down there could never hope in a million years to hear me. I’m going to die alone, in space. Where would my soul go? Does it grow in proportion with my body? What if my soul is too big to fit in heaven or hell? Does it float in space forever, next to my dead frozen floating space body?
What do I do, what does anyone do, with infinite time and space to grow?