Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Heart Bobs

I’d rather be at a convention of lunatic evangelists, Brazilian soccer announcers and carpet pitchmen from Dalton, GA than have a Jillian as a personal trainer or fitness class instructor. So, ten seconds into the commercial break during The Biggest Loser, when asked the question of Bob or Jillian, I blurted an emphatic Bob.

I’m a Bob. For me exercise, particularly cycling, is an escape. Secondly, cycling is a sport where a cool head prevails. The last thing I need is a reverberating car dealership announcer screaming in my ear, playing make-believe dominatrix drill instructor and preaching the fire and brimstone of a sedentary lifestyle in my ear. Maybe that plays well on TV, but the last time I checked there weren’t camera people and a network producer in my gym. I’ll ride with a Bob, sign up for a personal training session with a Bob or take a spin class with a Bob any day over a Jillian. Having a Bob is more or less like paying a well respected athletic friend to promise to meet you for a ride and show you the way. That’s all I need. I can do the rest.

Jillians encompass the three personalities I dislike most: the smarmy salesperson, a preacher in disguise, and the blithering know-it-all expert. I want to put my ear buds in and crank up my I-pod volume just thinking about having a Jillian standing over my sit-ups, or in my team radio earpiece during a bike race. Types like Jillian are the reason I never go back to certain stores. Bob’s make me a loyal customer. So, I like Bob.

The more I think about it, The Biggest Loser cast the parts perfectly. For TV, Bob’s with their silent expectations and low-key demeanor aren’t too exciting to watch for two hours. Put a Bob in a room with a Jillian, tie them with a thread of common interest, and you’ve got drama. Thing is, I don’t need drama in my fitness. I can give myself a kick in the pants. I know how hard I have to work to do well in races. I know I looked a little chunky in that holiday photo. Seriously, I made my Aunt Take four photos. Moreover, I enjoy it. Like a tasty wave and a cool buzz, a good workout and good music and I am fine.

That’s why Bob’s are great. Bob’s get ya. They know you don’t need the hard-sell. You’re already in the store. Bob’s point you in the right direction and know there’s more to exercising than losing weight. Bob’s share your appreciation for the intricacies of the sport, and understand you’re there for peace of mind as much as the workout. Bob’s let you ask the questions, well knowing you did your research and likely know a lot already. He’s quietly confident you’ll make a good decision and make the sale. Like a used car salesman, Jillian’s think it was a miracle that you came to the store in the first place, she desperately can’t lose you and will stand in your way gushing about this and that till you just give in. Jillian’s think being louder, projecting a larger image and theoretically backing you into a corner is the only way to get through. It’s as if there were no difference between personal training at a gym and training a puppy. Jillian’s wish there were a human shocker collar. Zap! Harder! Zap! One more!

Bob’s know not to preach to the choir. It’s no secret, your here for fitness goals, all you need is a little tweak to get the most of out your workout. Keep your knees in. You’re going to have to hit this hill hard. Jillian’s give you the impression that the choir may be possessed. If Jillian pauses for a moment, you’ll be off your spin bike, eating pizza and downgrading your USAC license from a 3 to a 4. Therefore the gospel of exercise must be instilled upon thee at every possible moment. Dare a sheep stray from the flock. Ten more! C’mon! Don’t let that lunch turn into a spare tire! Puh-lease.

This just in. People who exercise and do sports aren’t necessarily interested in the latest JAMA study about the effect of stress on the effective metabolic rates of Portuguese lab monkeys. Spare me the doctorate dissertation. I get it Jillian. You’re a fitness expert. And, that’s why you’re on TV. However, it’s not what I’d like to have hoarsely shouted in my ear when my heart rate is at 85%. Bob’s understand that people exercise to relieve stress, not get stressed out by over zealous militant gym rats.

However, there is a place for Jillian’s. The reason is evident in her popularity on The Biggest Loser. While I’m somewhat of an athlete watching the show, there are millions more sedentary than I that need a minor explosion in their life to motivate them. The sad truth is most people need a Jillian. For those that have already seen the ways of exercise and sport, we don’t need our chamois set on fire, a perspiring pistol whipping, coupled with a reading of the holy fitness bible according to Saint Knowitall. We just need some good music and a Bob to tell us where we’re going today.

1 comment:

Mark said...

I like Bob even more after this...

We should have him coach some cross practices.