Illustration of a large round man with a tiny vest in the middle of his chest

I bought a 40 pound weighted vest for $40 dollars on Amazon. The workout term for this is “rucking” and has connotations with being outdoorsy and/or in the military. Load up a backpack full of weights (or in my case, a vest full of sand bags) and head outdoors. The marketing benefits of rucking sound great:

  • It is simple and anyone can do it
  • Gets you outside
  • Active Resistance Training™️
  • Burns up to 3x more calories than walking
  • Good for your back and improves your posture
  • Good for your mental health

A neighbor friend of mine (that’s also a physical therapist) has one and she recommended it. My body is adept at carrying heavy objects1, so this seems like an easy way to squeeze out some gains from my regular walks. Bonus points that it gets me outside and gets rid of my developer hunch. After a handful of walks, I’m enjoying the vest and –as expected– my body handles the weight fine but it’s sweatier and hills knock the wind out of me a bit more.

There’s an army fetish around rucking. It’s hard to tell if that’s fragile male ego in workout culture or if it’s because an armored plate carrier is a well-tested and efficient way to carry weight. My vest doesn’t look that masculine and looks more like I duct taped C4 to my chest. With my uni-bomber glasses, long hair, beard, and resting scowl I don’t need more help looking like a disgruntled domestic terrorist but I suppose this completes the look. If I can sustain the $40 fix, then I’ll upgrade to the $200 plate vest solution.

The cynical side of me wonders if this is more skinny people shit. As I dawn the weighted vest, the irony is not lost on me I used to be about the same amount of weight heavier. Being heavy never helped me lose weight. No one gives you an approving head nod for walking while fat, but velcro a little vest to your torso and people give you the “good for you” pity eyes.

Putting my optimist hat back on, it might work this time. Maybe this is the one weird trick my body needs to activate dormant caveman genetics that will unleash my inner Adonis. Walking in hard mode seems sustainable for the time-being and I can already feel my ass morphing into a perfect badonkadonk.

  1. I cried during the Luisa’s song “Surface Pressure” in Encanto