Scaring boys in the gym showers, comparing personal trainer services, and taking powders before working out.
I did a sit-up once. Wasn’t impressed. I didn’t have a six-pack afterwards, so didn’t think it was worth bothering again - couldn’t see the appeal.
That just about sums up my approach to the gym, to be honest. But after a spell of crippling body-image issues (well, I say ‘a spell’, does every day from age 15 onwards’ count as a spell?’) where I would look at my body, hate what I saw and then try to drown my sorrows with pizza, because nothing says self-loathing better than a cycle that makes the problem worse… I hate my body, so I’m going to eat a pizza to make myself feel better. Now I feel worse. Oh well, more pizza! Om nom nom nom fat and sad and pizza.
Anyway. I decided to get myself into shape a little. I tried just going by myself, but eventually realised that however up for it I was in theory, when it came to actually going, I’d much rather just have a wank and watch TV. So I got myself a personal trainer. The thinking here was that I’m much more likely to turn up to the gym if I’ve paid someone to be there waiting for me. And they make you pay in advance, so if I did say ‘fuck it’ and not turn up, he’d still get paid. Sensible, as it was tempting.
There were loads to choose from, but I rather sensibly went for one I didn’t fancy. There was a really hot 20-something brodude type, and all his advertising was him with his top off, or him in tiny shorts and I considered hiring him, but he wanted twice as much as the less attractive one, and for that price I’d want more than a workout. Besides, after years of being single and gay in London, I wasn’t about to start paying for the opportunity to look at a hot guy and not shag him.
Anyway. After a while, the results started to show, I guess, as people would begin to comment that I looked like I’d lost a little weight or something and I’d mention my trainer and the reaction would be “Oh, no wonder, if you’ve got a personal trainer…” in this really dismissive tone, as if all you have to do is pay him and he takes the fat away. I found myself pointing out that I still had to do all the work, and that basically all I was doing was paying for someone to stand nearby and count slowly, then afterwards say something encouraging before handing me a bigger weight. Like some kind of gym butler.
Anyway, after a while I found I was getting into it, and going to the gym actually helped make me feel good.
Part of that was the number of hot guys around. Nothing made me look forward to the gym quite as much as buff sweaty guys grunting. Makes me kinda sad that we don’t do naked gyms like the Greeks and Romans used to. In fact, ‘gymnasium’ is ancient Greek for ‘naked place’ and I would have been there a lot more often if that were an option. It’s probably a health and safety thing, though. I’ve blatted myself in the face with a weight while perving on the guy next to me as it is, I’d be much worse if we were both naked at the time… And I imagine with all those heavy lumps of metal being lifted and dropped all over the place, it would be far too easy to get something caught or trapped between two weights and ooooh, I just made myself feel weird.
There’s lots of guff about pills and potions and stuff like that for helping you work out. The only one I’ve found useful is the pre-workout power. It’s essentially just caffeine, but strong enough to make your face tingle You mix it with water, drink it and go ‘By Christ that’s awful why would anyone AAAAAA I WILL LIFT THE ENTIRE WORLD!’ Then get to the gym and struggle with a particularly stiff door on the way in and go ‘Nope, never mind!’ So it’s a good workout for my imagination, at least.
Here’s a pro tip for you - if you go to the gym first thing in the morning, but would rather just have a wank and go back to sleep, then have a little fiddle when you wake up, because I don’t like to ignore a boner in case it feels underappreciated and decides never to come back, but just enough to get your engine revving, then stop, and go to the gym and put that energy into your workout. Trying to do the same workout after a wank is always much harder. Erm, more difficult. Besides, if you DO get seduced in the showers, it’s always awkward to have to explain that you’d love to, if only they could wait another half hour for everything to recharge...
I’ve never actually been hit on in the gym, which is probably for the best as if it stopped being a workout place and became a place to pull, I’d probably spend all my time making sure my tits looked great, and that I wasn’t pulling a weird face or whatever.
I say I’ve never pulled, I think I almost did, once. There was a hot guy with a freaking amazing body in the showers opposite me. I snuck the odd pervy glance while trying to keep my face straight and pretending I wasn’t enjoying the show. Mindful that I was in a very straight environment, I managed to keep things from getting too excited on my part, (on my part. lol) so outwardly it should have just looked like I was getting a shower as normal, and if I were drooling I could just have passed it off as shower water.
I didn’t think he was looking, but then as he was getting dry, he suddenly had somewhere new for him to hang his towel. I pretended I hadn’t noticed, and after a little while did the ‘oh no, I dropped my towel and now I’m naked, I’d better find my pants and get dressed’ routine and I when I saw him looking, I get my hips a little jiggle to make things swing a little, and I swear, as soon as he saw me do that, he legged it. I have never seen anyone get dressed and run away so quickly. I’ve never thought of my wang as particularly pretty, but I wouldn’t have described it as ‘physically revolting’ either.
After a while, I found I’d got into a good rhythm of gym going, and decided to get rid of my trainer and just work out on my own. I mean, “lift shit up, then put it down again” is a fairly straightforward premise that I got my head around after only a year or so of practise, so I found a cheap local gym and would go a few times a week. It was oddly gratifying to start seeing the same people there at the same time as me every day, and I’d nod and say hello.
Once I even got one of them to spot me. That’s where someone kind of stands over you with their legs by your shoulders while you’re on your back lifting the weights, in case it’s too heavy and you accidentally throttle yourself with the bar. Another reason we don’t do it naked, I guess. I’d just be laid there underneath going “Oh, no, the weight is too much’ and then as they swoop down to lift it off me just be all om nom nom nom at anything that dangled into range.
At least until a new guy started working out at the same time, and he was pretty much embraced by the other guys. It was like being back at school and not being in the cool kids group. Eventually, I found myself in the changing rooms at the same time as this new guy, and struck up a conversation about how he was new here and generally chatting and managed to ask “Why does no-one like me”? Well, not quite. I made it sound less bothered than that, but that’s certainly how I was feeling inside.
“I dunno man, you always seem so intensely into your workout that no-one wants to bother you…” Which made sense. I know I have a bit of a resting bitch face. Once I went to high five one of those guys on the street who try to get you to sign up to charities or whatever, as it was a charity I already gave to, but I forgot to change my face into a smiley mode before lifting my hand and he flinched because he thought I was going to punch him. So I got why people wouldn’t chat to me when I’m working out, especially when by resting bitch fae is combined with the intensity of the super caffeine pre-workout stuff.
In fact, I wonder if that’s why the guy in the showers ran away? I mean, if you were checking someone out and then they kinda turned to you with this super-intense look of PENIS in their eyes, you’d probably run too… Huh. That hadn’t clicked until right now.
So now I make the effort to set my face to ‘smiley and approachable’ mode while working out and it’s working, at least a bit - the guys in my gym have been more matey with me since. Which is nice. I mean, it’ll probably wear off if they ever find out it was me that his those cameras in the changing rooms...