In all of mankind’s history, fitness as an intentional endeavor is a fairly recent development.  For thousands of years, fitness was both the means and the byproduct of the never-ending struggle to survive.  Humans relied on a combination of our athleticism and superior wit to keep us safe from the predators we had yet to unseat from their place atop the food chain.  For early man, the hunt was cardio, and if you were lucky enough to kill your prey, dragging it home sufficed for resistance training.

Today, we no longer face the same kinds of threats as our spear-toting forefathers, and fitness is no longer an intrinsic part of our way of life.  In a strange twist of fate, our glorious modern society has made it easier to be fat, static, and unhealthy than it is to share in the physical strengths of our heritage.  Strength has become a superfluous affectation of the Alpha minded–a hobby akin to playing dungeons and dragons or working on old cars.  The men and women that abide by the biological imperatives of old and work to fashion their bodies into a means rather than an end, are no longer a species-wide norm.

Being a modern athlete is often relegated to the same corners of conversation as things that make people just awful, like being vegan or driving a Toyota Prius. However, fitness does have one thing going for it that other “hobbies” don’t: an ever-growing population of people who view upon your habits and their results, with a kind of annoyed admiration.

I’m no fitness model, and I struggle with the same types of body image issues that any man of my generation does–especially when it comes to getting a little softer around the mid-section–but it seems as though it must be pretty apparent that I work out a lot, because not a week goes by without hearing one of these gems:

“Well, in your line of work, you must have time to work out!”

“Sure, I’d love to get in shape like you, but I’m just too busy.”

“Man, you must be in the gym all day!”

No, no and no.  My line of work regularly calls for spending long days locked inside my (admittedly homey) office, chugging coffee, typing like a maniac and hitting refresh on my e-mail like a junky waiting for another hit of heroin in the form of pull quotes and source confirmation.  When I’m done writing, I migrate to my living room where I split my evenings between managing stories and spending time with my wife.  Just like anybody, I work hard and I value the time I get with my family–I just also make the time to work out.  There’s nothing more important to me than my wife (and inbound daughter), but fitness remains a priority.