By Ben Bruno
Most articles are intended to give you actionable information that you can then put into practice in the gym to help you build muscle, burn fat, or whatever else you’re looking to do.
That’s a whole lotta work on your end though, so today I thought I’d cut you a break and write something that will help you build muscle and burn fat just by reading it—no additional work required, except laughing.
I’m not kidding. Well, maybe a little.
If you Google “health benefits of laughter” you’ll find some pretty interesting stuff:
- One “laughter researcher” (yes, apparently that’s an actual thing) claims that it takes ten minutes on rowing machine to jack his heart rate up to a level it reaches after just one minute of laughing. Can you say cardio?
* As far as I can tell though, there’s nothing to substantiate this claim.
- Another researcher claims that laughing is a great way to burn calories. Score!
In fact, probing further, 10-15 minutes of laughing burns a whopping 50 calories! (Note: heavy sarcasm)
- Laughter helps decrease cortisol. Double score!
- Laughter helps improve sleep. The trifecta!
The list of purported health benefits just goes on and on and makes me feel a whole lot better about watching Dumb and Dumber as many times as I have. All in the name of getting jacked…
Of course, when you actually delve into the research and not just the headlines, it’s a bit of buzzkill because the evidence isn’t all that convincing—yet anyways.
But in the fitness industry, it seems that if you just come across as confident in what you’re saying, mention “the research”, and throw in a few big words for good measure, you’ll get a lot of people to believe you regardless of the veracity of your claims.
Kidding aside, I do think laughter is really important, regardless of what the research says or doesn’t say. Life’s just too damn short to take yourself too seriously.
So today I’m going to change the channel from my usual training articles and take a spin off Jeff Foxworthy’s You Might Be a Redneck thing with a little weightlifting twist.
You know you’re a meathead when…
Now to most factions of society, “meathead” is a derogatory term, but to me—and I hope to you, too—it’s actually a term of endearment.
Here’s how to know if you fit the bill.
1. The gym equipment you carry around in the trunk of your
car costs almost as much as the car itself.
2. When people ask you what day it is, you reflexively answer with what exercise you plan on doing for your workout or what body part you’ll be working. There’s no such thing as Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday. Instead, it’s deadlift day, bench day, or leg day.
3. When you carry your luggage or grocery bags, you purposely keep your hands about a foot out to the sides with your arms slightly bent to get some extra work for your shoulders and traps.
4. If you have an odd number of bags, you switch hands at regular intervals, not because they’re heavy but because you don’t want to develop imbalances.
5. You get a slew of fancy and expensive presents for your birthday, but your absolute favorite is a pocket-sized telescoping back scratcher because lord knows you can’t scratch your own.
6. Whenever you order food at a restaurant, the waitress asks if more people will be joining you.
7. “Regular” fit jeans look like yoga pants and “loose fit” jeans look like skinny jeans, meaning a) you look like a complete tool and b) you can see everything. “Husky” fit is more reasonable and leaves a little something to the imagination, even though you’re quite lean.
8. You’re a cheap bastard in virtually all aspects of your life yet don’t bat an eye at shelling out hundreds of dollars on a new pair of squat shoes or the latest weightlifting belt.
9. You gauge your shoulder mobility not by a formal assessment process but by whether or not you can shave your back on your own without asking for help.
10. When you buy a new pair of boxer shorts, the first thing you do it cut slits in the leg openings to avoid cutting circulation off to your feet.
11. You give one-word answers for almost any question you receive, but when someone asks what you do for your workouts you give them an hour long soliloquy.
12. Rather than flowers and paintings, your kitchen décor consists of bottles of protein powder and fish oil strewn all over the countertops.
13. What started as a modest equipment collection in the trunk of your car multiplied to where you had to move it into the basement and has now bourgeoned to where it has commandeered the whole garage and you have to park the cars in the driveway. You’re totally ok with this and are now looking for a house with a bigger garage, not so you can keep the cars in there too, but so you can get that new glute-ham raise you’ve been eyeing.
14. You don’t get nervous at all before a big test or a big presentation at work, but you get so anxious the night before going for a new personal record in the gym that you can hardly sleep.
15. “Dude, I can hardly walk after those squats” = That was an awesome leg workout
“That’s the first exercise I’ve found that actually makes my delts sore” = That’s a good shoulder exercise
“The pump after those curls was so bad I thought my skin was going rip apart” = Let’s do those curls again soon
“Those sled pushes had me questioning my existence” = I love sleds
I think I might actually patent a Meathead-to-English dictionary because to a non-meathead, the vernacular makes absolutely no sense.
16. Your close friends start to question if you might be developing Tourettes because you randomly start blurting out “Yea buddy” and “Light Weight Baby” during normal daily activities.
17. You need a calculator for even the most basic math problems but can instantly tell someone the weight on bar with a single glance no matter how heavy it is.
18. When you go to a new gym to inquire about joining, you don’t ask about the price but rather how heavy the dumbbells go and whether or not you can use chalk.
19. Your idea of a “Survival Kit” in your car isn’t jumper cables, a flashlight, and warm blankets but rather protein powder, protein bars, rice cakes, and almonds—just in case of emergency.
20. You don’t think twice about getting under an obscenely heavy bar, but the very thought of running a mile scares you worse than the prospect of going 12 rounds with Mike Tyson.
21. The only belt you own is a weightlifting belt.
22. When your friends and family try to compliment you by saying that you look like you lost weight, you feel dejected and deflated, deny it, and immediately go eat a sandwich.
23. Conversely, when your friends try to denigrate you by calling you a hard-ass, you assume they mean it literally and thank them for noticing all your hard work.
24. The lunk alarm goes off when you drive by Planet Fitness.
25. When you’re asked how your day was, you instinctively rattle off your numbers from your workout.
26. Your co-workers start to wonder if you’re in an abusive relationship or you’ve joined an underground fight club because your hands are all torn up, you frequently show up to work with a limp (after leg days), and you have mysterious bruises and cuts all over your shins (from deadlifts).
27. Your grocery list consists of less than eight foods but the bill rivals your rent.
28. You aren’t ashamed in the slightest that your hands look like this after an awesome deadlift workout. In fact, you proudly show them off.
29. The only time you hear from your high school buddies is when they’re moving and want your help with the heavy furniture.
30. Nothing makes your day like opening a new jug of protein powder and finding the scoop lying right there at the top rather than having to fish around for it. Sometimes it’s the little things…
31. When you hear the word ‘snatch’, the first thing that comes to mind is Olympic lifting and not, well, you know…
32. You refuse to watch the Twilight Saga but can recite Pumping Iron by heart.
33. The extent of your culinary skills is being able to cook chicken in 84 different ways.
34. For the ladies reading this, your purse doubles as a cooler.
35. Your idea of dessert is a great tasting protein powder, which you also doctor up in many different ways for “variety.”
36. If you’re a student, you habitually procrastinate your homework to read Schwarzenegger.com.
37. If you’ve got a desk job, you’re idea of sneaking around on the internet isn’t looking at porn but reading Schwarzenegger.com. You constantly have it pulled up on the screen but have mastered the art of minimizing the tab so as not to get caught by your boss.
38. You read this article and find that at least half of it resonates with you.
That’s all I’ve got.
Assuming this took you about five minutes to read and you laughed the whole time, that means you’ve burned approximately 25 calories already. Read it another three times and you’ll earn yourself an extra scoop of protein powder for dessert, guilt-free.
Have your own you’d like to share? I’d love to hear them in the comments below.
I’m all about laughing: you know, to get swole.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ben Bruno graduated Summa Cum Laude from Columbia University. He lives in Los Angeles, California and trains clients at Rise Movement training studio. He publishes a free blog and newsletter at www.benbruno.com.