If you’ve never seen Zach Anner’s Workout Wednesday video series, drop whatever you’re doing and watch one now. They’re hilarious and heart-lifting, as the 32-year-old actor, writer and comedian also has cerebral palsy — a motor disability that he refers to as the “sexiest of the palsies.” And he uses his videos to encourage people to try new sports and love their bodies, no matter how ridiculous they might look.
Anner’s disability makes him a great spokesperson for fitness
It’s rare that media ever shows people with disabilities being physical, but in Anner’s latest Workout Wednesday video, he begins by saying, “We’re going to be trying a sport that I’ve only heard in conjunction with the word ‘accident’ — surfing!”
After telling viewers to get a “workout surfboard,” a “workout ocean” and a “workout beach avocado,” Anner has an assistant place him on a surfboard in the water.
Pounded by the waves, Anner says, “Don’t be like the Little Mermaid and give up what’s unique and special about you just to marry some prince! I wouldn’t give up my voice for working legs ’cause I know that’s what makes my money!” He then warbles out a little of Ariel the mermaid’s famous tune.
Soon after, he talks about how dolphins “are always down to fuck” and the weirdness of sucking melted saltwater taffy out of your swimsuit’s crotch.
The video mostly shows Anner laying unsteadily on his surfboard and repeatedly being knocked into the surf as his assistants try retrieve him. But then, near the video’s end, he actually catches a decent wave and coasts to the shore.
It’s kind of amazing, watching a man with disabilities successfully surf. It makes those of us without disabilities wonder what our excuse is for not trying a new sport or fitness activity.
Anner’s best fitness tips are about self-acceptance
In one of Anner’s most watched Workout Wednesday videos, he does naked push-ups (in boxer briefs), but starts off by saying, “I was just looking in the mirror and noticing how ugly I am.”
He says, “My legs look like chopsticks. My feet look like platypus feet. My back is arched like a cat. My knees look like dinosaur eggs. Why is my face a triangle? Why don’t I have cheeks??! My arms are veiny and I have so many moles that I could draw constellations on ‘em.”
“Now I know you guys are probably like, ‘Zach, you’re being really hard on yourself,’” he says. “But how many times have you looked at yourself in the mirror and said mean things to yourself?
Then, before starting the push-ups, he tells viewers that they’ll need a “workout body.”
“Well you’re in luck!” he exclaims. “Because that’s the exact body you have!”
As he starts doing his push-ups, Anner says, “You don’t need to look like somebody on the cover of a magazine. Nobody reads magazines anyway!”
Considering the high rate of eating disorders and body dysmorphia among the LGBTQ community, Anner’s messages are a reminder to accept yourself, especially if you’ve ever felt unattractive or overly self-critical.
While we’re unsure if Anner is gay or bisexual, his first kiss (his first four kisses, in fact) were with a man, his best who he smooched for a comedy sketch. He also has publicly slammed Chick fil-A for donating to anti-LGBTQ organizations.
Damn Chick-fil-a! I loved you! And I would've loved you the same if you were a man or a woman. But you're neither. You're a douche-staurant
— Zach Anner (@Zachanner) July 24, 2012
Anner also created the Riding Shotgun travel web series and published a book last year entitled If at Birth You Don’t Succeed: My Adventures With Disaster and Destiny.