How far would you go to gain the satisfaction of a gym rat beach bod without having to work for it? Would you break your thumb if it guaranteed your ideal body without having to break a sweat? Would you rather change your name to Trump than run a marathon? Or would you rather give up sex for six months?

Some enjoy the thrill of working out and testing their limits while others have no limits when it comes to things they'd rather do. We surveyed over 2,000 Americans to see what they’d be willing to give up or do if it meant having the perfect body. 

Here’s what we learned.

Run a Marathon or Watch a Marathon of C-SPAN?

Almost half of participants (48 percent) would prefer to watch 24 hours of C-SPAN over running a marathon. Slightly less (46 percent) would rather sit down to read the the Bible in it's entirety, and 18 percent would even go so far as to change their name to Trump officially.  

Interestingly, it seems some people would rather sprint toward the finish line if it meant never having to walk in on their parents having sex. Only 17 percent of American could live with the emotional and mental scarring.

Food Is Life Versus Fitness Forever

Would you give up your favorite beer or cocktail to achieve the gold standard for fitness – six-pack abs? For some participants, even that’s too far. Thirty-seven percent of those surveyed would rather say “bottoms up” than have the perfect bottom.

For the foodies out there, pizza, guacamole, and cheese mean more than the perfect bod. In fact, 35 percent of respondents said no to relinquishing pizza, while 29 percent refused to live without guac and 25 percent without cheese. They’ll stick with their workout – and dining – regimens, thank you very much.

Thumbs Down for the Ideal Body

Although we would never advocate bodily harm, the question still had to be asked. Would you be willing to break your thumb if you could have the ideal body without working out? It turns out, most Americans agree that bodily harm isn’t the best course of action. Almost 79 percent said they would never break their thumb.

However, 21 percent of participants are pretty adamant about achieving the ideal body. They’re prepared for a lot of pain to avoid the pain of working out.

Athlete Alternative, by Gender

For the women surveyed, the top three preferences over running a marathon were watching 24 hours of C-SPAN (52 percent), reading the entire Bible (50 percent), and changing dirty diapers (39 percent). Only 18 percent said they’d rather walk in on their parents having sex and 16 percent would change their name to Trump.

As for men, the top three alternatives to running a marathon included shaving their head (57 percent), watching 24 hours of C-SPAN (44 percent), and a tie between gaining 10 pounds and reading the entire Bible, both at 39 percent. On the other hand, only 20 percent would give up sex for six months and 15 percent said they would rather walk in on their parents having sex.

How Much Money Would It Take to Get You Across the Finish Line?

Many Americans enjoy training for and participating in marathons. According to Running USA, there were more than 1,100 races held in the U.S. in 2014, with 541,000 finishers. Many of these participants paid money to run. Race registration can cost anywhere from $50 to $250, and that doesn’t include the cost of training, transportation, and lodging.

While some people dish out the dough to pound the pavement for 26.2 miles, many of our survey participants would need roles to be reversed before they would agree to lace up their running shoes. We asked respondents how much money they would need to be paid to run a marathon.

Some participants ran a hard bargain. The three states with residents who would need to be paid the most are South Carolina (roughly $211,000), Massachusetts ($210,000), and Arizona ($203,000). Americans in Arkansas, Kentucky, and North Dakota needed less persuading with significantly lower prices: roughly $1,400, $1,900, and $2,000 respectively.

Regional Alternatives to Running a Marathon

We also looked at which U.S. regions have residents most likely to change their last name to Trump or give up sex for six months rather than run a marathon. The Mountain region had the highest percentage for both. Participants were most likely to jump on the Trump train (29 percent) or practice celibacy for six months (53 percent) instead of pounding pavement.

The Midwest and Northeast regions followed behind, with 22 percent of participants admitting they would rather change their name to Trump.

The Mid-Atlantic (36 percent) and Southeast (30 percent) were among the top three regions that would also be celibacy seekers if faced with a choice.

Let’s Work It Out

Unfortunately, we don’t live in an imaginary world of what-ifs and fun trade-offs. Whether you’re cross-training for a 26.2-mile run on an elliptical, relieving some stress after work, or working off those midnight snacks, getting active and working out are great ways to look and feel great.


We surveyed 2,000 people in the U.S.

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