Skinny? Fat? Don’t self-motivate. You don’t have the right! #gym

Now, I’m not one for knocking off a blog on the spur of the moment. But an FB status from a friend kinda got me riled. It was an a screenshot of a twitter conversation between himself and someone I don’t follow. The tweet my friend was responding to said

Why do guys who aren’t in good shape Tweet things like “get big” and “train dirty” when it’s quite obvious that they don’t? Earn the right.

This is the sort of attitude that really lets down guys at the gym. Can only a ‘big’ person tell himself to ‘get big’? Why? Is there no room for self-motivation? Does motivation only have to come from watching other guys at the gym? (how co-dependent is that?). I’ve been amongst them for six months and  haven’t come across this negativity from the gym-goers, gay or straight. Sometimes I feel that there is a slight belittling of efforts from the PTs (“Why are you doing those exercises, they’re so 80s!”) which I read as “I’ll give you up-to-the-minute expertise – if you pay for it” – I know your game boys. Unfortunately the best way to get me motivated is to motivate, not denigrate. Anyone else feel that?

I’m neither fat, though I have a belly (affectionately known as my RiceBaby) and I’m neither skinny (though for years I’ve had arms and legs like matchsticks, slender matchsticks with the wood scraped off) since the December just gone, I’ve been going to the gym fairly regularly, spurred on by the usual images of men, gay and straight, who look great. When I used to play capoeira in my early to mid thirties, I looked great, felt great and gained a supportive and creative friendship circle. In the gym, many of us are there with a gym buddy, but more often than not, we’re there by ourselves and can be quite disheartening to face the mirror every time you go. The other day I took my measurements and was given my 6 month point. Some gains and some losses (also in the right places). You can see the post here.  It’s not very exciting though, just some stats.

I’m not the kind of person to start taking selfies topless with barely a ripped muscle… OR am I?  or tweet that I’m weekly changing but I’m not going to stop myself taking progress photos. My ‘before’ photo is online somewhere and I’d never show it without at least one progress photo. But there seems to be an attitude among some of the guys in the gym who think guys don’t deserve the right to take photos of themselves because they’re out of shape, too thin, too fat or just don’t fit in to a certain idea of what ‘fitness’ is. Now, don’t get me wrong but, don’t we go to the gym to better ourselves? That’s why I go. I want to look and feel better, I want to go for better castings, I want to lose my precious RiceBaby so clothes fit me better.

I know my progress-making is slow – it doesn’t help that as an actor I have a nomadic lifestyle and routinely have to change my routine according to what current job I’m doing (theatre, writing, painting, cheffing, temping – this is my 7 day working week is the closest thing I get to a routine – adding the odd acting job in the mix delightfully upsets the set-up) but I’m doing something about my level of fitness. To have some gymhead declare that I have no right to motivate myself, to tweet that I’m adding kilos on ‘my stack’ or that my legs are killing after ‘leg day’ makes me angry. It’s still my experience that I’m going through. It might not be yours but let me enjoy my experience. It’s mine.

For every guy wanting to lose weight or tone up or gain muscle or add pounds or feel better, be more healthy – GO FOR IT. It’s hard enough that the media is telling us that we should be a certain shape and that we should all be in the gyms doing working out. But when there is prejudice in the gym, that’s what makes people want to give up

So to the denigrators out there. Enough with your pronouncements. We’re not all like you. Thank goodness.
And here are two guys who I find motivational – James Haskell and Todd Sanfield never a bad word to say about anyone.

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