A Dainty Diary of Lifting

STFU about the stairs

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I was going to talk about my bench session tonight. But it was kind of really shitty. I have some thoughts on that, but revisiting them right now is only going to drive me to drink. Instead, I want to address a small phenomenon, if you will, that really grinds my gears.

Simply: taking the stairs is not a physical achievement. It’s not a measure of how fit you are. Walking up a flight of stairs burns like 10 calories and you’re going to consume 600 more in that venti mocha frappaccino with extra whip that you’re guzzling down at coffee time every morning. By my calculations, you therefore need to walk up 6000 flights of stairs just to break even, so get crackin’.

Except that you’re not about to climb the leaning power of Piza or all of the steps in the CNN tower. No, you’re going to walk up the single flight off stairs that is necessary to get to your second story office, where you’re going to sit on your ass all day, perfecting your secretary spread. And you’re going to inform everyone that you take the stairs now, like you just won the Boston Marathon. Of course, you will not be on the front of any newspapers, and you won’t explicitly gloat, but instead you’ll perfect the subtle art of dropping offhand remarks into conversation. “Oh, you’re going to take the elevator? I always take the stairs.” Congratulations, your smug sense of superiority knows no bounds.

I’m sure that someone has done a study showing that people who routinely take the stairs tend to score better on some arbitrary measure of fitness. But the joke’s on you, oh magnificent stair-climber because you aren’t a shining star of fitness when you can’t make it up a single flight of stairs without being winded.  The very fact that you seem to think that taking 3 flights of stairs is somehow of note indicates that you aren’t doing anything actually noteworthy like learning how to climb a mountain.

Now, your fitness achievements don’t have to be record-setting but why don’t you try going to an actual gym? It would be infinitely more interesting as a topic of conversation, and you can even be one of those people who spends hours on the stairmaster and then gloat about how hard you worked at the gym because you were so sweaty and your legs felt like jello. In the meantime, unless you’re a paraplegic or walking the stairway to the sky, I don’t want to hear about how you’re keeping track of your daily stair mileage.


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