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TV show hands out free cupcakes, enrages gym-goers (VIDEO)

Charlotte Hilton Andersen is the author of the book The Great Fitness Experiment: One Year of Trying Everything and runs the popular health and fitness website of the same name, where she tries out a new workout every month, specializing...

Watch gym-goers react to free cupcakes

When is a cupcake not a cupcake? When you're handing it out for free in front of a gym. As Scott Rogowsky of the Running Late show found out, free desserts at the gym makes some people downright enraged.

"I don't want a free brownie. What are you guys doing here? Because you're really f***ing pissing me off," says one man in the video. When the production assistant holding the tray of sweets responds that he's just being altruistic, the man growls, "I feel like I'm gonna smash this in your face." He then adds, "The only thing saving you right now is the fact that they're taping."

All that vitriol over a brownie? But, he wasn't the only one upset. Lots of people turned down the freebies without elaborating, but it appears at least one complained when the gym manager came out and asked the TV crew to leave because a patron reported "a man with a mustache making lewd faces in the windows." In her defense, Rogowski did make eating a cupcake look rather orgasmic.

But, the outrage only continued after Rogowski traded spots with Abe, the aforementioned PA, who then took over the elaborate buffet table. "People are here to lose weight, not look like a slob like you," said one man, pointing at Abe's admittedly not-gym-honed physique. And then there was the man who, according to Rogowski, took it upon himself to tell a passerby that Abe "had poisoned [the cupcakes] with 'acid.' I don't think he was referring to amino acids, which admittedly, they were chock full of."

People walking by on the street, however, had no compunctions about indulging and some even made it a point to go stand in front of the large windows that separated the people on treadmills from the people on the street while they licked frosting off their fingers. (One man even plastered himself against the window because apparently sugar makes him a climbing frog.) 

The show was clearly trying to provoke a reaction. I'm guessing some people were wondering if they were being set up for some humiliating prank to be broadcast all over the internet. But still, why would that so anger some people? And why not just say "no thanks" and move on?

I blame The Biggest Loser. Actually, I blame every part of our culture that has turned weight loss into America's favorite sport. It's no longer about health, but about winning a competition, and in a competition every point counts. Of course people get mad when they feel like they're being sabotaged.

Plus, I think the show touched a nerve for people who were already likely doing something difficult — going to the gym and avoiding junk food is really tough for 99 percent of us mere mortals  — and rubbing it in only made them feel more deprived. I can guarantee you some of those people were already calculating how many minutes they'd have to rack up on the treadmill to work off that treat. Would it be worth it? And, yet, the gym is the one place that you hope to never have to make that kind of decision.

We've been told for so long that indulging is "bad" and asceticism is "good" which makes the simple act of eating food a moral dilemma. This is especially pronounced if you're a woman, as many (most?) of the dessert-deniers were. But hopefully, we are learning that a food isn't good or bad and neither are you for eating it. After all, it's just a free cupcake. Or not.

What would you have done if you'd been offered the free treat?

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