Showing posts from January, 2017

Revenge of the jock

Attending a math conference, surrounded by thousands of mathematicians, during last week has brought this to the forefront of my mind. Surprisingly, a large number of mathematicians are slender or fit. Surely many of them exercise regularly. Perhaps some have a high metabolism despite being elderly. And I assume many of them are just very health-conscious in their dietary habits. At any rate, there are very few I have seen at this conference who appear to be athletic. Most are either skinny or fat. There are only a few who have obviously defined, noticeable muscles.

Whatever the reason for this phenomenon, I wish to give my own personal perspective on the matter. I grew up believing that “jock” and “nerd” were anti-types. That someone could be one or the other but not both. Society teaches this in many ways. There are countless depictions in our media (movies, tv shows, etc) of nerds being skinny, having glasses, and not having time for physical activity (or possibly that…


Like many of my posts, this one has been floating around in my mind for a couple months.  I know many people avoid the gym because it is intimidating, so I'd like to share my thoughts about this phenomenon.  First of all, obviously going to the gym isn't the only intimidating thing in life, and many of these thoughts are things that easily translate to any other of these intimidating things.

So I'd like to share some of my personal experiences with gyms.  The first time I recall ever going into a weight room to use it was my first year of college.  I had PE classes all through K-12, but I don't remember ever using the weight room--just group sports, etc.  I recall being intimidated by all the machines.  Some of them I could figure out on my own, but many of them I just stared at and couldn't possibly conceive how it was meant to be used.  Fortunately, I occasionally went with friends and one friend was very familiar with all the equipment so he could help.  So, kn…