12 ways to be a pretentious athlete

Since publishing this post on my twelve guidelines to be pretentious, you have been begging for more. So now I’m back. In my personal life, I’ve got a sassy side of me that I don’t often show in my writing. I prefer to keep my written voice honest and humble but I like having fun once in a while. I thought I would change it up by sharing twelve ways I exude my pretentiousness as an athlete. Just don’t take this seriously – it’s supposed to be satire. Here we go! 

1. Use marathon training as an excuse for everything
When it comes to training, I have a “no excuses” approach. Very few things get in the way of my workouts. When it comes to life, marathon training is my excuse. I’d tell others, “I’m busy. I can’t hang out. I can’t party. I’m racing on the weekend. I have class. I need to get my miles in.” Yes, it’s a subtle way to make people feel bad about their life decisions but also a great excuse to opt out of social situations that I don’t want to participate in. The best part is that it always works.

2. Complain about the benefits
Being an athlete comes with amazing benefits. My increased metabolism allows me to eat guiltlessly. I’m quickly losing weight from running. And let’s talk about the quality of sleep I get every night. As a pretentious person, I find ways to complain about these benefits. Buying more food is expensive. My clothes no longer fit properly so I have to get a new wardrobe. The benefits significantly outweigh the downfalls but I complain anyway for those extra pretentious points.

3. Isolate non-athletes from group conversations
Bonding with athletes is a great way to expand my social circle but isolating non-athletes from running-related conversations is even better. I love comparing workout routines. I love exchanging Strava profiles. I love complimenting my fit friends for their hot abs and arm definition. But I also really love making others feel like they’re missing out on the fun. Fitness and running can be discussed for eternity and I capitalize on those opportunities.

4. Shut down the jealous folks
There are too many jealous folks who judge my choices and believe that what I achieved is magic because they’re not motivated enough to do what I do. They’d say, “You’re so lucky that you’re healthy!” It’s not luck, sweetie. It’s hard work and focus and they know it. Others might make remarks such as, “Why do you work so hard to train for the marathon? What’s the purpose?” I like to make them question what they’re doing with their lives because that shuts them up.

5. Give fitness wannabes a difficult time
I come across wannabes all the time. You would be surprised at how many people talk about how getting fit is a determination they’re committed to or how they want to try running. All I can say is, “Homie, talking about working out isn’t equivalent to working out.” Calling people out on their bullshit is something I love to do but it’s the best when they act like a hero for making some life changing determination to get fit and do absolutely nothing about it.

6. Wear workout clothes to social settings
Yes, I’m that obnoxious one that channels the “athleisure” street style. I love wearing my comfortable running leggings to social settings (given that I’m going to a social setting). It’s not enough that I constantly talk about running and the shenanigans that happen at my fitness classes. I need to physically show it off to the world. And when I’m not wearing my actual workout clothes, I still make sure I channel my inner athlete through sporty clothing choices.

7. Initiate competitions
Competitions are the best. When I taught ESL, kids called me “fat” because I’m not a size zero so I forced them into push up competitions. I beat them every single time and it was gratifying to rub it in their faces. “Who is fat now?” I still do that to un-fit people who arrogantly think that a half marathon is “not too bad” and wouldn’t dare run one themselves because they know they’ll collapse before finishing. I don’t work out intensively to be humble about it – I need to show it off.

8. Exaggerate the pain and soreness
Intensive marathon training means I’m always sore. I really want people to know how hard I go during my workouts so I throw in a few exaggerated grunts to make sure they know I’m in pain. Athletes always say that pain is weakness leaving the body but conspicuous pain is showing my pretentiousness. To make matters worse, I’d change it up every day. One day, my hamstrings are sore. The next day, my shoulders are sore. I need to keep it interesting, don’t I?

9. Talk obsessively about the lifestyle
Being an athlete isn’t a minor part of life where you do your workout and you’re done. It turns into a lifestyle, even if it’s not your full-time job (but might as well be). Every other part of life needs to accommodate. Laundry day is a nightmare. Shopping for the right gear, especially running shoes, is a painful. Eating properly is difficult. But ask any athlete and we’d tell you it’s worth it along with a two hour monologue about the crazy lifestyle we live.

10. Discuss your workouts in detail
First, people shouldn’t ask “How many days do you work out?” but instead, “How many times a week do you work out?” That number can go up to ten and it accounts for my double-duty days. But once we get past that, we can discuss those workouts down to the nitty gritty details. I can’t just do a workout, log it in Strava and never talk about it. It’s about the reps, the time and the blood, sweat and tears that come in between. It’s also about the blisters and the muscle spasms.

11. Invite friends to fitness classes
Since marathon training is my excuse to being busy and not having the time to socialize, I always end up inviting friends to fitness classes or for long runs. I get my workout in and spend time with friends. What’s not to love about killing two birds with one stone? Most of my friends are athletic so having them at my favorite fitness classes is not a problem. It does becomes a problem when friends start expecting me to keep them accountable and at the end of the day, that’s your job.

12. Be a boss athlete every day
Here’s what it comes down to: athletes are the boss. People who live active lifestyles are strong and no matter what level they are at, I look up to them. Things get hard often and the more I work out, the tougher it is. Hate to break it to you but the reality is that it never gets better, only harder. There are no shortcuts in fitness. But again, I love that. The continued challenge makes it exciting. Knowing that I could obliterate a half in under two hours keeps me feeling like a boss.

It takes a certain personality to be an athlete. It starts with commitment. But it’s not the kind of commitment that you show at work, in a relationship or whatever else you have going on in life. For me, I’ve experienced the highs of finishing a half marathon because there was a time I could barely run around the block. Getting to that point was all work. And why not have a little fun and be pretentious about it?




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