Tim Bornholdt

What Your Workout Says About Your Social Class

Friends came for dinner. A public-interest lawyer, noticing I was bigger, asked what I’d been up to.

“I'm really into lifting weights right now,” I said. “Trying to get strong.”

The lawyer’s wife, a marathoner and family therapist, appeared startled, as if concerned about my emotional state. She looked me in the eye and said, “Why?”

I’ve been trying to motivate myself to join a gym lately. My goal is to get a six pack. I’m aware that this is typically accomplished through diet, but lifting weights would make me look well rounded, not malnourished.

This article spoke to me as someone who has identified as a marathoner for the past 10 years (and continues to do so). While I may secretly want to look like a professional wrestler, I also don’t need to gain 50 pounds of muscle.

Just like basically everything else in life, there is a spectrum between cardiovascularly fit yet scrawny, and strong beyond belief yet can’t run around the block.