I hate those awful statistics that suggest how many miles you’d have to run to burn off, say, a cheeseburger. “Eating 1 slice of cheesecake = hiking for six hours.” Boo! Shut up! I am a frequent exerciser, thank you, but this information helps no one. I’m already fighting a losing battle against diet culture; I don’t need to walk into a restaurant already panicked about how I’m going to burn off the food that I consume. But a recent viral TikTok video suggests that one chain is encouraging patrons to exercise while they’re still eating.
Mashable Southeast Asia reports on the video, which was uploaded by user @cris13yu. The video shows a woman eating a meal in a McDonald’s restaurant, which the uploader says is in China. Fine, normal—until you notice that the woman in the video appears to be sitting on a stationary exercise bike, pedaling as she eats her fast food.
In the video, the bike appears to be attached to the dining chair itself. In fact, the video shows a row of similar seats in an otherwise normal-looking McDonald’s dining room. In the video’s caption, the uploader wrote “Mc da China kkkk amei a ideia,” which, per Mashable, very loosely translates to “McDonald’s in China, I love this idea.”
I do not love this idea. For one thing, research shows that standing up while eating can make you feel less satisfied. If simply standing is enough to ruin your meal, imagine the effect of pedaling a goddamn stationary bike while eating. The push for consumer “health” is also a bit of a scream coming from a chain that famously mistreated workers during the height of the pandemic. Riding a bike while eating a cheeseburger isn’t promoting public health. It’s a gimmick, baby, a gimmick.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that the video is a hoax. If TikTok users can create a Tom Cruise deepfake, they can fake a McDonald’s video for the sake of going viral. Ah, what a time to be alive!