When I decided to sail away on Arion one of the first things that played on my mind was how I was going to maintain my gym routine. With no gym equipment on the boat I have had to improvise my workouts. During the first week onboard I tried to find ways to workout using the equipment that I had. Push ups on deck, dips, crunches and squats.
Not being able to go to the gym has actually been a very positive experience. Normally I get edgy and depressed when I can’t get to the gym I place a lot of pressure on myself over the way that I look. I am at heart very insecure and I have always wished to be more muscular with killer pecs, big shoulders and arms.
Now instead of hitting the gym 4 days a week and then staring at the mirror thinking I’m still too small I am able to focus on other activities that will keep me fit without needing to gain weight. Now that the pressure of constantly working out is gone I can begin to start to appreciate my body for the way it is now. I can hike up mountains, go swimming, lift anchors and hoist sails and it never lets me down or complains.
Although I will always enjoy working out and enjoy the endorphins that it come with it, my reasons for doing it don’t have to be caught up in the usual body dismorphia that so many Gay men suffer from. When you are working out you are concentrating on the flaws and the imperfections. I need to be bigger, I need a firmer butt, I want bigger arms and so on. This constant background chatter of “I need to be” becomes a mantra for us every day until we no longer see our bodies as beautiful but instead we see them as incomplete.
The realization that working out was actually having a negative effect on my body image was counter intuitive but very important. Of course keeping our bodies fit and healthy is important for our well being but we always need to keep our reasons for working out in perspective. Workout to be healthy, not because you see your body as flawed and you will be much happier.