Continuing on from my last post on eating to be healthy not thin, this post is about hitting the gym. In my previous post I spoke about how many of us need to change the way they think about food, and eat to be healthy rather than thin. This post I want to speak about hitting the gym to be healthy not hot.
As Gay men we are constantly bombarded with images of hot guys and for many of us myself included, going to the gym starts as much out of vanity and insecurity as anything else.
Many guys I talk to about the gym constantly complain about not being big enough and not gaining weight, others who feel out of shape talk about not going because of feeling out of place or judged. It seems that a lot of Gay men are adding additional stress to the gym experience because we are placing too much importance on superficial reasons for going rather than focussing on the health benefits of exercise. This problem doesn’t just apply to the gym either. Sports are another place where often feelings of insecurity over perceived superficial failings, prevent us from joining in something that could be beneficial for all kinds of reasons.
If the only reason you’re are going to the gym or playing sport is to be hot then you are going to have a rough time motivating yourself because what is hot and how we see our bodies changes constantly. We always see something different, we always think something could be better, we always think somebody else is hotter. The result can be a never ending cycle of feeling inadequate and disappointed.
Fitness is a far more useful and far more fun reason. Working out to be healthy, have more energy and meet new people is a much more satisfying reason to hit the gym or play sport. Taking the first step and joining a gym or team is often the greatest mental hurdle because we need to get past the idea that only in shape people play or workout. Changing the way think about physical activity goes a long way to help us leap over that hurdle.
Being selfish is one of the best motivations to get fit. It means wanting to look after yourself, to live a long active life, to enjoy the rush of victory or accomplishment, to reduce our risk of disease and illness, to be able to enjoy the world around us, play with our kids, improve our social life and much, much more.
When we focus on our health the more superficial reasons for getting fit start to become less and less important, because our value of the benefits of good health begin to outweigh our insecurities. Looking healthy and being fit become the pleasant bonus rather than the focus of our efforts, it is our inner health that gives us that illusive glow that no amount of window dressing can acquire.