How To Suck In Your Gut

06.2.2008 | 2:11 pm

Here at Fat Cyclist, Inc., we seek to do far more than simply entertain. Far more. We also want to educate you, offering practical tips and advice regarding all aspects of the cycling experience.

Today, we will help you learn the art of hiding your gut while being photographed in a skin-tight cycling jersey.

Basic Techniques
Not long ago, we posted the following photo as a simple illustration of a group of friends about to participate in a fight to the death friendly race.


What we did not point out, however, was that this photo also demonstrates many simple techniques you can use to hide your gut. Starting at the left, let’s review.

  • Dug is using two techniques to hide his burgeoning middle-age paunch. First, he is wearing outlandish clothing — plaid shorts and knee-high black socks — to distract you from his stomach. More importantly, he is turning his body in such a way that his right hand — evidently just casually gripping his handlebar — partially obscures his stomach. This is called the “Handlebar Obfuscation Gambit,” or “HOG” for short. Nice work, Dug.
  • Adam is showing considerable ingenuity by using three separate gut-hiding tricks. First, he is performing the simplest of all possible gut-hiding techniques: “Back Of Photo,” or “BOF.” Next, Adam is succesfully executing the HOG, but has furthermore paid Dug $9.82 (an amount negotiated by both parties) to obscure his midsection with Dug’s left arm. This is called the “Proxy Handlebar Obfuscation Gambit,” or “PHOG.” Well played, Adam!
  • Fatty is brazenly sucking in his gut, a fixed grin hiding the fact that he is seconds from passing out. You’re not fooling anybody, Fatty.
  • Sam is using the BOF to such a great degree that it is impossible to tell how much he weighs. This is for the best, because Sam weighs 809 pounds.
  • Brad and Rick Sunderlage (not his real name) are using the rather tedious ploy of not being fat for the photo. Turds.

Expert Techniques
Once you have mastered these simple being-photographed techniques, you’re ready for these advanced tips on how to be photographed, as demonstrated in the below photo:


  • Always face front. If you turn sideways, you expose and emphasize your personal topography. And trust me: you do not want your topography exposed.
  • Always wear bib shorts. Bib shorts help ameliorate the otherwise unfortunate transition from your waist to your upper body. A good pair of bib shorts can disguise an otherwise massive muffin top. And yes, Dug is wearing bib shorts under those plaid shorts. Dug’s no fool. Though he can play that role.
  • Wear an appropriate jersey. I recommend the Fat Cyclist jersey, which, due to its dark sides, is very slimming. It is only when you look very carefully at Fatty here that you recognize he is much wider than the pink section of his jersey shown here.
  • Be photographed in the dark. When you’re photographed in the dark, you can be confident that there is only one light source: the camera flash. You are therefore much less likely to be ambushed by shadows from unfriendly light sources (e.g., the sun), which generally have the effect of emphasizing your man-boobs and / or other unsightly bulges.

Things to Avoid
As with any acquired skill, being well-photographed in a bike jersey is as much about knowing what not to do as knowing what you should do. Don’t forget these “Don’ts,” or suffer the consequences.

  • Don’t puff out your chest. When you suck in your gut, it needs to go somewhere, but a puffed-out chest is a sure sign of where you’ve temporarily relocated your stomach. This poor sap in the orange is doing it all wrong. His stomach is (somewhat) in, but his chest is stuck too far out. He should have rolled his shoulders forward, creating the illusion of a flat stomach and chest — the cyclist’s ideal.


  • Never exhale until the photographer has put away the camera. After the flash has gone off and / or you’ve heard the shutter noise, you may be tempted to relax. Don’t do it. The photographer may seize upon the opportunity to take a candid photo. Remember: the only safe camera is a stowed camera.
  • Do not allow yourself to be photographed while breathing hard. It’s difficult enough to keep your stomach in place when you’re relaxed. When your lungs are working at capacity, it’s practically impossible. If someone wants to take a picture right after you’ve gotten off the bike, say, “Just a sec,” and then find a reason to work on your bike, use the restroom, eat a snack, or whatever, until such time as you feel you can hold your breath again for up to 45 seconds.
  • Never allow anyone to photograph you while you are on the bike. You’re hunched over, you’re breathing hard, and you’re otherwise not controlling the situation. Observe:


That’s just sad. Someone should tell that guy he needs to get back on his diet.

PS: The silver lining to this photo is, of course, is that I know that 74% of the racers in my class had to say to themselves, at some point, “Hey, I just got passed by a short, fat, middle-aged, bald guy riding a singlespeed and wearing a pink jersey.” And a lot of them had to say that to themselves during the climbs.

PPS: I didn’t intend it this way, but it occurs to me now that my braking finger of choice makes quite a statement in action shots like the above.

PPPS: Special note to Bike Snob NYC: I thought we had agreed you would not mention how many children I have. My revenge will be as thorough as it is calculated.


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