A couple days ago I was standing in line at a local Starbucks, checking through the usual things I do when I stand in line (Twitter, Facebook, bank balance, thechive.com for the lulz), and began to wonder what the hell was taking so long. I mean, I wasn’t getting impatient or anything ridiculous like that, but for a lineup with only one person in front of me, I should have been able to get in and out relatively quickly. That’s when I started listening in on the order the individual in front of me was trying to place with the barista.
I swear to God ancient alchemists put less thought into how to turn lead into gold than this guy put into how particular he wanted his late-morning tea.
After waiting 10 minutes, having this guy take, taste, test, swirl, and eventually reject 4-5 drinks before the barista managed to please his pleasantly particular palate, he finally strode off, content that the world could now continue as normal. Frankly, if I would have been the one behind the counter, I would have wound up shoving a black coffee across the counter, said “You will take THIS ONE!!!” and then proceed to scissor kick him in the throat across the bar.
Now I have nothing against individuals expressing their individuality and sense of style, as well as going against the cultural movements and societal norms of our time, as that is all part of progress. However, much like punk rockers, they all tend to look very much the same, which is I guess a sense of individuality. You know, looking, acting and sounding like an entire sub-group of people you identify with. Hell, I do that with fitness, so I don’t judge.
That being said, there are a lot of distinguishing characteristics of the average hipster that will make it nearly impossible for them to co-mingle in a typical gym setting, which makes it especially challenging if someone seriously looks to gain muscle, strength, or see body composition changes or benefits in performance. On one hand, most hipsters that I have seen tend to have as much muscle mass as Tracy Anderson, but but in cogent to this is the fact that they don’t have the supportive structure through their core to be able tolerate sitting for long periods in front of their iMacs due to inconsistent low back pain. The cure for this would be axially loading the body, but the concurrent gains in muscle thickness and size would cause their skinny jeans to not fit properly.
Quite a conundrum in deed.
Now for those who have ever seen these rascals in the gym, they’re pretty easy to pick out. They’re the ones wearing the John Varvatos limited edition Chuck Taylors to top of the thift store inspired gym attire (complete with 80′s inspired t-shirt three sizes too small) they got from Urban Outfitters, while listening to Gotye and Bon Iver and any other underground music you’ve never heard of before on their limited edition iPods while wearing chunky framed glasses with no lenses.
Years of skinny jeans have left them with no reasonable hip extension capacity, meaning everything is done with a rounded spine, and nothing is done over 20 pounds. As a result, they tend to do modified yoga poses at random places throughout the gym, like right in front of the dumbbells during peak hours. They follow up with this by doing that weird bicycle thing where they balance on their shoulders and cycle their feet up above them somehow.
They arrive to the gym on their old school one-speed bike with the banana seat and front basket to carry their satchel, never wearing a helmet as it would mess their coif, opting instead for a news-boy hat on top of their styled do, and their loose-tied scarf flowing from their neck in the breeze of their 3 mile an hour drift. Why go fast since the goal is to be seen?
I’ll never fault someone for trying, as it’s one of the defining characteristics of success. THat being said, there are some seriously dichotomous concepts between the hipster life and the ability to heave copious amounts of weight off the floor and get all jacked and stuff. For instance, the pants. Oh God the pants!! The typical hipster wears skinny jeans, and has the legs to do so. If you were to make a circle between your index finger and thumb with both hands, you could literally run that circle unbroken up the entire leg of the hipster as they tend to have as much muscle mass on their legs as a parakeet. For some reason these jeans also have a very short rise, meaning they’re held extremely close to the pelvis. THis gives little room for, ahem, “breathing.”
Reproductive research has shown that both sperm concentration and testosterone release can be reduced by wearing binding underwear, and this is the same result after wearing skinny jeans. As a result of reduced sperm count and testosterone, the ability to lift weight and gain muscle size, strength, and density is also totes compromised, meaning when your average hipster says they don’t have the genes to build muscle, you could say yes, but they’re just spelled differently.
The diet of the typical hipster tends to be filled with Pabst Blue Ribbon, Parliament cigarettes, fish tacos, fair trade coffee, and dietary trends ranging from gluten-free to dairy-free to paleo and everything in between. It’s easy to know what they’re in to as they will tell you, ad nauseum, about their dietary choices. (How can you tell if a hipster is eating paleo?? He’ll tell you!!!) Shout out to Mark Young for that one.
In many situations, the dietary trends are more about being different and unique, not necessarily because they are looking for specific weight loss or performance enhancement benefits. Food is more of an experience than a fuel source, which means the ability to enter beast mode in the gym is a secondary concern to adequate digestion of the previous amaze-balls meal they also conveniently took an Instagram of and put up on Tumblr. #foodporn
This results in less than adequate glycation storing muscle-fueling awesomeness and can’t quite get the body movin body body movin as much as a pre-workout dose of NO XPlode or something of the like, and therefore limits the ability to produce a high work capacity during a session, making them less awesome and more ironic at the same time. In many ways, this is a self-fulfilling goal of the hipster.
Top it all off with the typical slouchy posture, lending itself more to Gumby or wearing a zoot suit in the 1930′s, and you have a recipe for someone who just can’t lift weights all that well. That’s completely fine and not a big deal at all, as everyone should be able to be themselves, which sometimes means understanding finite features of art and culture and not spending copious amounts of time in a gym. This means they have the ability to understand and make the world a better looking place, provide new experiences, and help us all live lives with more colour and variety. So to them, I salute your hipster ways.
Just do your warrior 3 a little to the left so I can grab the 90′s.