Introducing the Guy With No Shirt



So, I recently discovered I’ve become “that guy.” And, it’s weird because I think we all try pretty hard not to be him. But I am. And now that I am I think I’ll go with it, because it’s really not half bad. 

It started innocently enough with a chick-flick and a new year’s resolution. Which over the course of three years snowballed uncontrollably into what seems like an irreversible addiction. I’m not sure I can stop. 

My name is Chris. And I take my shirt off when I work out at the gym. And when I go running in the neighborhood. And, I like it. And, I don’t care what anybody else thinks.


But, let me explain. Three years ago I was kind of a different person. I was in recovery from serious back surgery. Four years after the surgery. The pain had started to return. I was thirty-five pounds overweight. I truly had never “worked out.” I mean, I’d lifted weights a couple times. Like, really, a couple of times. In my life. To me, “active” was a weekend spent taking boxes of Christmas decorations in and out of the attic. I was usually sore after so I figured I must be doing some serious work. I made fun of folks who spent hours in the gym. Because I figured I was working out in the gym called “life.” I was (and still am!) married with twin daughters and a full-time job…which, let’s be honest, always amounts to a lot more than a forty-hour work week. I had every excuse not to be in shape. I was the picture of your average American guy. And pretty content with that.

I guess I need to thank Stephanie Meyer for what happens next. Typical. I do something I’m proud of and the credit goes to a woman. Two actually. My wife and I were settled in one night watching one of those vampire/werewolf chick-flicks. (Sounded like the perfect compromise.) Whatever. That’s a different topic for another post. Anyhow…The werewolf dude steps on to the screen shirtless and…I’m pretty sure I heard it right…something between a gasp and a sigh escaped my lovely wife’s lips.

WHAT?!!…was going on here? I never took my wife for the type of gal who noticed stuff like that. We’d been married ten years for Pete’s sake. Then, it all kinda hit me at once. It dawned on me that she’d been hitting the gym for weeks. And she looked good. As in, other guys were probably hitting on her when I was at the office kinda good. I walked by the mirror and couldn’t suck in my gut. Like, it just wouldn’t suck in. The waist of my jeans was bent over at the edges. And, to hear my wife tell it, I may have been close to actually needing a “man-sier.” My back hurt. I’d resorted to sitting on a yoga ball at the office and I had to be careful just picking up my kids. At the age of 34, the gym of life just wasn’t cutting it anymore. And, maybe my better half was starting to notice. I tend to think in extremes…so the progression in my head went something like this; Wife notices hot werewolf. Wife notices out-of-shape husband who may die at any moment. Wife frequents gym in case she needs to attract suitable husband replacement.

There had to be a way to get my wife to gasp/sigh when she saw me walk in to a room. I was determined that looking at me should not instill thoughts of better looking second husbands. And, I started making a plan. I had a few fit friends. I say friends loosely because these are the same people I’d made fun of for years. And, now I needed them. With their help, I think I probably researched and planned my strategy for a full month. And, then I did it. I made a new year’s resolution to look just like that stupid werewolf. In fact, when I filled out the form to start my gym membership, on the blank where it says “fitness goals,” I put “WEREWOLF BODY.”

This is my first post. And, there are so many pieces of this ridiculous odyssey I can’t keep my mouth shut about. But, I was urged to stay brief. So, let me close today with these thoughts; It only took me about six months to achieve my goal. And, it was hard. Maybe the hardest thing I’ve ever done. I spent the next two and half years experimenting with the feasibility of maintaining and improving said werewolf body. And, it’s gotten easier. My dedication has been called obsession. My lifestyle has been compared to fad diets. People think I’m silly.

I think we’ve all been conditioned to despise “that guy” at the gym. But, now that I’m here I’ve realized a couple things. Working out in Texas heat is way easier without a shirt on. And, very few things compare to catching your wife staring at you when you’re changing out of your shirt.
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  • reply Larrah Bolten ,

    “Werewolf body” – yessss

    • reply Sarah Bardowell ,

      What, no pictures?

      • reply Chris Bohlin ,

        Sorry for the late response. Thanks for reading! Maybe I’ll have to post some before-and-afters very soon…with the caveat that I’m pretty sure I’ll always be pale compared to real werewolves. I think it’s my Scandanavian-Irish blood.

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