They say the camera adds 15 pounds, and many a calorie is burned over this confidence-crushing adage. But that goes for people who actually wear clothes on camera.  Imagine the insecure inner monologue of the actor who performs a fair portion of his artistic endeavors sans shirt? Knowing that nearly every square inch of your flesh is captured permanently on celluloid is quite the motivator. No one wants that hideously unflattering shot in Us Weekly (or in my case Frontiers) where you’re captured bending over the wrong way and your one undefined ab is suddenly comparable to a fat roll on Jabba the Hutt. It’s not pretty.

Simply going to any given gym isn’t sufficient in this pursuit of physical photographable perfection. Where you work out is integral to your success in attaining that goal. It may be worth a 25-minute rush hour commute past three gyms that are within walking distance of your apartment if that commute can mean working out next to the person who can give you a job — or your next date. Here is the overly generalized, completely clichéd rundown of what your gym says about you before, you even open you mouth.

If you go to Equinox, your gym choice says you are probably a working actor. If you’re on a television series, you secretly hope someone from Creative Artists Agency (the death star of talent agencies, the best of the best) will spot you, recognize your potential, and promise to help you get out of TV and cross over into film. You can’t yet afford the home gyms of the true A-listers, so this gym is basically a purgatory until that day comes, which of course it will as soon as you get spotted by that agent from CAA.
You also wear overpriced, color-coordinated, brand-name athletic clothing, with one generic accessory like a tube sock or headband to show you still have a little “Jenny From the Block” in you. You take group dance classes led by actual Pussycat Dolls and sweat to number 1 singles next to the people who recorded them, the producers who created them, the agents who represent them, and the plastic surgeons who transformed them. You enjoy the spa-like locker room, complete with eucalyptus-scented towels and brand-name lotion, where you probably spend more time than on the workout floor. You’re aware of the flagrant displays of unnecessary and prolonged male nudity, and you either enjoy it, partake in it, or can ignore it better than most. Hopefully you’re not the old guy blow-drying his hair wearing a T-shirt and no pants. You probably have a weekly waxing appointment, see an expensive hairdresser, and drive a Range Rover. You pay $140 per month to work out here, even though no one in his right mind would pay this much for a gym. And, of course, you pretend to be annoyed by the paparazzi waiting at the entrance for Ryan Reynolds to finish doing his chin-ups — even if you secretly enjoy it.

Tags: People