Guest Post by RenMan: ‘What is Your Definition of Cheating?’

RenMan is a mid-thirties professional artisan with interests spanning from visual art and literature to hardcore weight training to culinary experimentation and beyond. Ask him any question and, if he can get off his lazy ass, you may get an answer.  Ask RenMan—He’s full of shit, but only sometimes!

[FFG here, interrupting RenMan, something I will do only this once. Here is his first regular column, based on a real question asked by an FFG follower at the gym. You may have noticed that our blog site is still undergoing a redesign, becoming more collaborative to include RenMan as well as another regular feature, ‘Ask a Trainer,’ to appear shortly. I am so pleased that my good friend RenMan is willing to collaborate in what will no doubt become a new and improved version of Although the bio above is accurate—he is indeed full of shit!—it is partial, so I will take this opportunity to expand on it, using selected photos to display a few of  RenMan’s many talents.]

In addition to lifting heavy—very heavy—as pictured above, he can also:

make beautiful things

make beautiful things

help out in the kitchen

help out in the kitchen

lean in for a menacing toast

lean in for a menacing toast

Plus he also knows how to write.

Dear RenMan,

What is your definition of cheating?

So, this was the question that was posed to me as the topic of my first post for ‘Ask RenMan’ and I gotta tell you –  I’m laughing my ass off right now.  Not because this question has any great pertinence to my life (I am usually a very forthright and honest individual) but because this isn’t the first time I’ve been asked this question.  Nor is it the first time in recent history.  This is making me laugh because the people who ask this question have either already done something that makes them feel guilty about doing it, are genuinely contemplating doing something they feel they shouldn’t (and will feel guilty about), or are facing the prospect that someone has done something to make them feel (for lack of better terms) ‘cheated’ or even worse, ‘cheated on’.

Personally, I find guilt to be kind of hilarious.  It’s one of those mental constructs that many people over-apply to their lives, to whip out at a moment’s notice and abuse themselves with.  Think about this – if you are reading you are probably interested in a healthier lifestyle, and as such, you have probably been on a diet of some sort at some point in your life.  Diets can be necessary but shouldn’t be overwhelming in their scope unless you have a set goal (ie. fitness/bodybuilding competitions, marathons, beach vacations, buying non-stretchy pants, lookin’ good nekkid, etc.) and have something to prove to yourself.

(Fuck everyone else, by the way.  If you are doing it to prove something to others, you aren’t doing it right, so go change your perspective right fucking now.)

I can understand if you are running through a carb-depletion cycle before a show that you might feel guilty about eating a cookie (or the whole box), but otherwise…  grow up.  Stop beating yourself up about the ginger snaps already.

(Unless they were for the kid’s lunches, then you should feel a little bad, so go buy some more before anyone finds out.)

Where I find guilt to be more justified is pretty easy to discern.  It’s when someone has some sort of deprivation or harm inflicted upon them by someone else during the furtherance of that other person’s own self-interested agenda.  And nothing could be a finer example of this than participating in what Magic Johnson used to call ‘getting a little strange’.

(He wasn’t referring to stripping down, rubbing on some coco butter, putting on a feathered headdress and go go boots and heading out for Carnivale either.  You’re smart, aren’t you?  You can figure out what I’m talking about.  Now stop thinking about trains going into tunnels, oil wells gushing, butterflies kissing in midair…)

So, before all of you possessive monogamists out there point out that he was punished for his infidelities (some might say justifiably, some excessively) the only person who could truly label him, and anyone else who has ever gone outside of their relationship, as a cheater would be his or her spouse/lover.  Them and them alone.   Ultimately, it’s none of our business and that is specifically because no one else sets the parameters of our relationships and what is permissible except our partners and us.

(Except the clergy seem to have an opinion on this, as if they invented relationships and ‘marriage’.  Nice try, assholes. You might want to check out what the Gnostics were up to prior to your ‘invention’.  What you did was invent a standard for relationships.  And still you put an imaginary figure as more important to people than people themselves.)

None of us know that Mr. Johnson would have ever been openly labelled a ‘cheater’ if he hadn’t gone public with the aftermath of his activities.  Perhaps his external forays were entirely permissible by his wife until he became a global example for safer sex and sex education.  Then, to conform to the social construct of our times, he and his wife had to own up to what everybody else considered infidelity – and thereby became a ‘cheater’.

So, I really find that my definition of ‘cheating’, in a relationship, is when someone does something outside of the mutually agreed upon rules that a couple (or couples) lay down for themselves.  They are individual and, while sometimes similar in function, always unique.  And they always need to be discussed, not presumed.

And as far as food goes, cheating on your diet can be fucking awesome.  Until you have to do 20 hours of cardio for that whole cheesecake.  With topping.

Consequences, people!  Consequences!

2 thoughts on “Guest Post by RenMan: ‘What is Your Definition of Cheating?’

  1. I’m heading out for a very-necessary cheat meal/carb load tonight because my weight is dropping a bit more than it should be. I compete in the 114 pound weight class in powerlifting so dieting–and being strict as hell about it–is something that’s actually very relevant to my life. And so is guilt. And so is the way RenMan discusses it. Don’t bloody beat yourself up about small slips; it’s detrimental to maintaining the self-appreciation necessary to sacrificing something physically for a greater goal. In other words, if I make myself feel like crap because I ate something carby/fatty/over my nutrient allocations for either type of macro, I’m less likely to “believe” in myself as I work towards my goal of being the best lifter at 114 I can be with the body composition that most aids my efforts. Guilt where it’s unwarranted only hurts one’s athletic endeavors, it only works against the full belief in self required to make crazy lift attempts.

    Also, cheers to the artisan/lifter duality. This is me as well (painter/powerlifter). I think RenMan should write a post sometime regarding how lifting works in conversation with his creative efforts…if it does. I’m assuming it somehow does. It’s hard to keep one’s passions totally separate from one another, if only in how one meets challenges they pose on a psychological level.

    • Thanks for the comment, babyeaterlifts (love the name!). I’ve seen far too much guilt in regards to dietary constraints in a variety of people, both athletes and non, to not write something about it.

      I also appreciate the topic suggestion as well – it could turn into an interesting internal discussion which I assuredly will make external in the process.

      Hope your cheat meal was excellent and satisfying!

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