Location: School gymnasium in rural Texas. Karate tournament. 7 years old.
Workout: Forgetting my kata (training exercises), freaking out, and inventing a new one on the spot with random kicks and punches.
Quote: “Judges, my name is Nathan Green. My style is Tae Kwon Do. My kata is called…ketchup.”
Verdict: Participant trophies are stupid.
Location: Downtowner Gym. Whitefish, Montana. 15 years old.
Workout: Getting pinned under a bar weighing 135 pounds while bench pressing.
Quote: “UHHGGG…PULL IT UP, PULL IT UP, PULL IT UP, PULL IT UP!”
Verdict: Kyle is not a good spotter.
Location: Elementary school playground. Whitefish, Montana. 18 years old.
Workout: Monkey-bar pull-ups and sledgehammer swings against a big tire.
Quote: “Son, you can’t bring a sledgehammer to an elementary school.”
Verdict: The middle-school playground is better anyway.
Location: DeFranco’s gym. New Jersey. 23 years old.
Workout: Running the gauntlet of Combine tests (225-pound bench press, 40 yard dash, vertical jump) with NFL players and NFL hopefuls.
Quote: “Yo, look at homeboy’s shirt. What the fuck kind of color is that? Salmon?”
Verdict: The same guys who give you shit when you walk in the door are the same guys you slap hands with when you walk out.
Location: Anaconda Wilderness. Montana. 28 years old.
Workout: Hiking multiple mountains with a 70-pound pack, trying to keep up with Richelle’s 60-year-old dad.
Quote: “Look at that view.”
Verdict: Humans were meant to be outside in fresh air. Also, Charlie is killing me.
Location: The sidewalk in front of Chris’s house. Portland, OR. 32 years old.
Workout: Swinging 100-year-old Indian clubs and drinking hard cider.
Quote: “I’m not usually a big cider fan, but damn this is good. What’s the ABV?”
Verdict: There’s a rich history of physical fitness culture just waiting for you to explore—and it usually contains fun things to play with. Also: 7.8%.
Location: Any gym, any Saturday. With friends.
Workout: Whatever sounds like fun.
Quote: “That’s three rounds! Two more to go! Look alive!”
Verdict: Beer always tastes better after lifting heavy stuff.
The human body is a goddamn miracle. Use it or lose it.