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How "Fight Club" Author Chuck Palahniuk Works Out

Author Chuck Palahniuk on hardcore workouts, anabolic steroids, and the body that awed the world.
Alan Amato

Where does the writer of Fight Club work out himself? 

Recently I moved from the 24-hour Fitness Gyms to one of those hardcore gyms with out-of-date bodybuilder posters on the wall. There’s something so ’80s about it—I feel really nostalgic being around that grunting energy again. I go four days a week when I’m not on tour. 

You wrote an essay about your brief flirtation with Anadrol, an anabolic steroid. Which supplements are you trying these days? 

I haven’t taken supplements in close to 15 years, probably since that essay. I’m lactose intolerant, so most protein supplements makes me sick. 

Is Fight Club the most physical book you’ve ever written? 

I try to have some kind of physicality in all the books. I fall back on violence or sex or illness or drugs, or an accident of some kind. Invisible Monsters uses surgery and drugs. Choke uses sexual compulsiveness. 

When you were writing the original novel, did you see the “Brad Pitt Fight Club body” becoming a cultural phenomenon? 

I knew the character would be idealized, even though he made fun of idealized bodies. The irony was that, for the movie, Brad Pitt would be the one making fun of the idealizations, even while saying things like, “I look like you wanna look. I fuck like you wanna fuck.” That was Tyler’s character, and Pitt became it.

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