Shiny ADIDAS Tracksuits & the Death of Five Pound Barbells

Yesterday I purchased a pair of 5 pound barbells. I’m not quite ready for the gym, but I want to start adding exercise into my daily routine. Anyway, 5 pounds. I went to Walmart and tested their neoprene-coated barbells. 2 pound and 3 pound barbells seemed anemic, even to me, so I went with the 5 pound-ies. They’re lime green, hexagonal, and I feel good about them.

Anyway, this morning’s workout was a mysterious process of me imagining what a healthy person does with them in a gym. Exposing my ignorance led me to google “5 pound barbell exercises.” If you’re aware, at all, of how the internet works, you can probably imagine the millions of hits it returned. Non-peer reviewed articles, videos, photo guides; an ocean of Lululemon and Nike spandex. Suffice it to say there is no shortage of conjecture on the subject.

My takeaway from all this is that when it comes to 5 pound barbells, the workouts are majorly targeted at women. Women appear in the videos and photos, and they’re more commonly found on women’s interest sites than anywhere else. Now I’m at a conundrum; should I worry that I have “girl” barbells? I am the product of a patriarchal culture, and there are residual fears my masculinity (or lack thereof) determines my value. Or maybe I should become a crusader, reminding the public that men are susceptible to body image issues.

For now I’m just going to hope that everybody at this Starbucks who can see my screen doesn’t think I’m watching a woman in a pink tank top do lunges for any reason other than educational purposes.