For centuries, philosophers have been embroiled in a vigorous debate that strikes at the very heart of gym bro culture. It’s a question that precedes every GymShark purchase, every thirst-trap Instagram “progress” picture, and every chunky protein shake loudly chugged in the back of Dwinelle 155. If it’s not abundantly clear to everyone around you that you work out, do you actually work out?

Recently, amidst the pandemic and shift to online classes, I’ve experienced firsthand the relevancy of this issue. No longer can people see me stagger into my Econ 1 Discussion with an overpriced chocolate MuscleMilk from GBC. No longer can people smell the profuse stench of my daily pilgrimage to the RSF. And worst of all, nobody can feel sorry for me as I eat my meal prepped, unseasoned, bland, spongy, and otherwise exhaustingly boring chicken breast for the third week in a row. 

Having been confined to a little, pathetic square in a Zoom call, I’ve had to rely on my resourcefulness to overcome this hardship. I purchased a Shure SM7B, the microphone that Joe Rogan uses to be so charismatic and alpha on his podcast. With this top-notch technology, I’ve been able to capture every swish and swosh of my shaker bottle as I join my online class five minutes before BerkeleyTime and “accidentally” leave my microphone unmuted while enjoying my hard-earned shake of gains after doing twenty push-ups. 

Besides championing my athleticism, the high-quality microphone also allows me to eloquently contribute to class discussions, like in my American History class, where I compared the Native American struggle to reclaim ancestral burial sites from white Anglo-Saxon protestant settlers with my personal struggle of reclaiming the heaviest deadlift record in my fraternity by 3 pounds. 

Without a doubt, bros everywhere are struggling as our prevailing identity and personality trait is challenged by the limitations of online classes. Hopefully people understand how the closure of gyms and public spaces has affected us. We may lose our gains, but may we never lose peoples’ perceptions of our gains.

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