Meatheads. From what I’ve seen they populate gyms everywhere. If you’ve ever attempted to work out in what I like to refer to as a “chrome and fern” type of gym you’ve probably encountered them yourself.

Meatheads are the bulgy guys flapping their way through a workout on their massive lats using up the squat rack doing bicep curls and bellowing like they are being mounted by a rhino (and kind of like it). As they walk by you they magically inflate with the pixie dust of imagined superiority and isolation exercises. “Today I’m working nipples and kneecaps! Yeah!”

In the infantry it is generally accepted if you are covered in slabs of muscle then you can’t possibly be a grunt. Grunts spend too much time in the field eating cruddy MREs to develop the inflated physics of their box kicking brethren. As young Marines we used to try and guess other guys MOS’s by how big they were: “That guy must work in Supply. There’s a Bulk Fuel Marine. Look at the size of him!”
Meatheads have their own dress code. The other day it was apparently tank top day in the weight room and no one sent me the memo. All the meatheads in the gym had a tank top on and spent more time admiring their own awesomeness in the mirror than actually working. Apparently the more bulk you have the smaller your tank top is supposed to be.

Even better is the variant fashion of actually wearing a t-shirt and pushing the sleeves up. This style is usually practiced by meathead wanna bees who actually have no muscle tone to speak of but wish to admire the “pump” their arms get during triceps push downs. I even saw a guy on the hack squat machine with his sleeves up and openly wondered why his pant legs weren’t rolled up past his knees instead.

Trying to fit in I got on an ab working device once and rolled my shirt up past my chest. Strangely this practice wasn’t accepted by the meatheads nor the gym staff particularly when I began trumpeting my full rhino mount bellow in an effort to properly pump my abs. I guess the logic didn’t translate.
Having long since abandoned trying to reach any common ground with the meatheads I now keep to myself in the squat rack and take notes so I can laugh at them later.

In our gym on NSA Bahrain the king of the meatheads is a guy we refer to as Front Spread. I have been on base for almost three months and have not yet seen this guy in a uniform. He is only ever spotted wearing blue Under Armor shirts with a Navy logo and can usually be found personally training someone in the gym. At other times he has been witnessed flapping about the base speaking in meathead code to his brethren laughing like a neanderthal who has found a book of matches. He also fails to understand the concept that UNDER Armor is for wearing UNDER clothing and not an outer garment. Amazingly when he works out he strips of the Under Armor to reveal a tank top underneath. Who would have thought?

Front Spread earned his moniker while personally training one of his worshipers on the hack squat machine one afternoon. As his charge was blasting out reps big’un caught his reflection out of the corner of his eye and immediately struck a front double biceps pose shouting: “FRONT SPREAD!” Another meathead in a tank top said something unintelligible behind him and he immediately spun around hitting his buddy with another front double biceps and yelled:”FRONT SPREAD!”

I immediately left the gym and wet my pants in hysterical laughter.

Semper Fi,
America’s PT Monster

/ / / /


  1. Oh lordy, what a quality piece of literature! I’ll be sending you the bill for my laptop repair, since i just snorted tea all over my keyboard.
    There was a guy like your Front Spread at my old gym. What a valve.
    Keep going, A1S, i can see a sitcom script in there somewhere!

  2. Ha ha! Sadly, I think meatheads are everywhere.
    Our friend trains college athletes at a university. He’s working on a graduate degree in Kinesiology and Sports training. I’ll send this to him. He’ll love it.

  3. A1Sgt,

    I can picture you with hysterical laughter mainly because I kept snickering all the way thru this post … but … you. wetting. your. shorts.

    NNNNnnnoooo WWWWwwwaaayyyy!!!

    That picture just won’t compute mainly because the mind’s eye won’t go there for it keeps hearing the mind’s voice screeeching “That is so UN-man-ly”.

    AND … {short pause ;D } YOU are definetly ‘MAN-LY’ all what I WILL always believe is ‘6ft. 2ins.’ of you.

    Miss Em

  4. Oh my gosh!! I think I pulled a muscle trying not to laugh out loud 😀 Yep, meatheads are pretty universal but the ones I have encountered on Army posts are defintely the worst. Thanks for brightening my afternoon, 1 Sgt

  5. OK….confession is good for the soul, right? Every morning the first thing I check is your blog. I NEED an America’s 1st Sgt fix. You are such a great writer Mike.

    P. S. I solomnly swear you will NEVER have to worry about me in a gym. It’s the least I can do for mankind.

  6. I’m still trying to figure out how long all the camels, lesser rhino and other beasties kept running after our 1Sgt’s bellowing.

    And, tap tap, where is the photo of said performance? Surely a lesser mortal was lurking about ready to snap his leader in action? Or was that behavior limited to those deployed to long in the sand and MREs?

    I’ll never manage a straight face in the gym again. Thank you!!

  7. Many, many, many, many (a lot) of years ago, when I was a grunt. Our work outs were:
    Get up at Oh Dark Thirty
    Go to PT (rain, snow, heat- any weather) and do a bunch of stuff with our flak jackets on and with our weapons.
    Then go run for however long the insane NCO leading the formation felt like running- usually at least 3 miles
    then return and do more PT, then go shower, have chow and start the day.
    For fun? We’d take a little road march in full ruck with weapons.

    The PT test was easy, ’cause we ran everyday further than the run test was.
    I only saw a weight machine once and had no idea what it was for.

  8. Magoo, now you’re snorting tea? Sounds like a terrible addiction. You should seek counseling of some kind.

    Kanani, is he able to convince his athletes to get any actual training done in between preening opportunities in front of the gym mirrors?

    Miss Em, you are correct. I have not wet my pants my entire adult life. It’s just funnier if I tell it that way. Sorry if I smudged your image of me.

    Red, that is what I am here for, to focus a piercing light into the darkness of evil and of stupid.

    Tankerbabe, you’re checking every morning? Is that your way of saying I need to post more often? Getting pushy? 🙂

    Ally, it is a constant struggle for me not to lose my bearing in the gym. I mean, those guys are bigger than me after all.

    CI Roller, I would have to say the best conditioning for an infantryman would be strapping on a pack and going on a long hike. Nothing toughens a man up like a hump through rough terrain with a pack that is sawing his arms off.

  9. OK….the reality is I check the blog each night before I go to sleep to assure sweet dreams. Didn’t really want to confess that but I felt pressured by you to do so.

    Yeah…..your day job really gets in the way of you writing as much as I’d like.

    As for me “getting pushy” – happened, oh, about 40 years or so ago.

  10. Top,
    Did I mention…on some of those “walks” I had to hump one or more of the following items:
    1.) M-60 machine gun
    2.) Parts of 81mm mortar (baseplate, tube or bi-pod)
    3.) PRC 77 radio
    4.)M-203 40mm
    5.) all my own crap

  11. Tankerbabe, you must get bored then considering my updates of late are a little slow in posting. Hope my tardiness isn’t disrupting any REM cycles.

    CI Roller, not sure how it works out this way but I always noticed the 128lb guy was the one with two M60s strapped to his pack. I don’t think I would ever want to be in a Weapons Company either. Those guys had to hike some big guns around.

  12. I worked with some ‘body builders’, they’re a singularly useless breed. Very little endurance, very little stamina, and way too much posing and way too much bulk.

    I think its just too hard to haul all that ‘for show’ muscle around all day.

    Also, they all look like they’ve sat on a high compression air line.

    I find them both impractical and ludicrous.

  13. Powdergirl, I like to refer to them as big for nothing. All that size is for show, posturing if you will. As action oriented folks we tend to find this posturing comical at best.

    Magoo, this may be where the wild things are but it is not Wild Kingdom. 🙂

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