The accounts I follow on Instagram can be sorted into four categories: interior design, horses, dogs, and fitness. Category “fitness” brims with perfectly sculpted human specimens. Like symmetrical stacks of pancakes. Squares of softly melted butter drizzling down their eight-pack sides.

For me, few images are more #Fitness-inspiring than exercise champions who #WOWH (work out while hot). I scroll through chiseled body after chiseled body, mesmerized by cut arms and smooth, compact thighs. Whereas mine are like two lovesick elephant seals. Spooning.

I applaud these sinewy leviathans of the barbell; the competitive gym warriors who dominate every competition, with a quip of inspirational wisdom at the ready, too long to fit on a fortune cookie’s scroll. And who could forget the tight ladies of the resistance band, who’ve more leggings and sports bras than Millennial parents have “unique” baby names? As an aside, no, getting creative with vowels is not a healthy coping mechanism for a lackluster personality.

Lest anyone misunderstand my tone, I’m not shaming any person who splashes their physical prowess all over the net. I would broadcast my Amazonian image if I sweat nothing but awesome. My Instagram feed would overflow with inspirational hashtags if I, too, could clean and jerk with an expression of Herculean zeal. Instead of grimacing like a weak-stomached fool regretting last night’s curry, served at a spice rating of five.

I speak from a position of authority, as I tried branding myself into a fitspirational guru. Under Armour’s next “It girl.” Chris Hemsworth’s body double for Thor.

My steps were as follows. Think of this as a guide in what not to do. Never let it be said Courtney didn’t give back to the people:

  1. Set the phone… somewhere. This bench will do nicely. I then propped the phone on a handy plate frame I “scored” at Goodwill and have since misplaced in the garage.
  2. Hit the scary red button to record. Hurry over to pick up the bar.
  3. #YouCanDoIt myself down into a heavy squat, mighty thunder thighs hear me groan like a wounded gazelle.
  4. Revel in the strengthy gloriousness of me. Yes, I made up the word “strengthy.” You’re free to use it so long as it’s employed in conjunction with failure.

A couple of problems presented themselves in my dreams of skyrocketing to athletic wonderment.

Filming oneself performing a squat does not a good video make. Especially when recorded in one’s garage. During winter. Wearing shorts. Let your imagination wander to paler places. If you dare. Now toss in fluorescent lighting better suited for conducting midnight autopsies. Cause of death: ocular embarrassment via oh my god make it stop.

my eyes gif

If at first you don’t succeed, watch the video over and over until you convince yourself to never try such a stupid thing again. Then delete it promptly in case someone hacks your phone. The world isn’t ready for that. It will never be ready.

No, still photos are not better. Determined though I am to make trapezoids great again, every sorry selfie reflects two cheeks gender-identifying as marinara sauce. Randomly splattered on a misshapen circle of pizza dough. A forehead which, if you tilt your head just so, resembles a blobfish. Two eyes that aren’t actually the same size. What iOS update caused all this? I need answers.

The image of me heading this page is actually the best I can do. I put it there to demonstrate the above paragraph cataloging my abnormal facial features is comedic hyperbole. However, it must be said that photo was taken in my room, before any physical exertion.

Five minutes later, I looked like this:


Only kidding. I don’t jump up like that when performing burpees.

Gymnasium boudoir isn’t my milieu. Nor am I a fitting subject for outdoor action photography. Not since Disney animators sketched Fantasia’s dancing hippopotami has such grace been documented.

And so I’ll leave the sexy gym photos to those who look sexy in the gym. Relax all ye CrossFit maidens of Iceland. I shall keep my blotchy red face of perspiring splendor all to myself.

Please, hide your jealousy.