Is fitness just another excuse to attract the opposite sex?
It’s been 6 years since I’ve been working out - here, in this gym, this temple of worship of the physical. I call my home my second home because this is where I spend most of my time. It has given me a lot – friends, a ripped physique, disproportionate legs, a narcissistic personality disorder and some discount coupons to spend a little extra on health supplements. It also gave me a magazine cover picture where I had to be pointed out to recognise myself. Sometimes I feel I should have just spent all this time 'training', not in the gym, but on learning Photoshop instead.
Airbrushing a picture burns only around 2 calories.
But this is not exactly what my expectations have been. I have always been a lonely kid with a void inside me that I wanted to fill with multiple attractive women. Being a skinny lad, my best bet was to emulate the brawny actors I saw on TV. All they had to do was flex a muscle and a dame would be by their side. It was like an overhead button on an airplane! I figured that since I wasn’t going to waste my time in building a personality and speak well, I’ll let my body do the talking. Plus, “sapiosexual” wasn’t a popular term back then.
So I buried myself in a bench press and stopped seeing the sun except on cheat days. I was determined to attract the female gaze, if not to my eyes then to my biceps. And I followed through with my plans. I worked out for hours and read gentleman magazines with a fervour previously unknown. ”Hanging out at the bar” to me meant doing pull-ups! No wonder my friends stopped asking me any more (although, it could also be their disdain for puns).
My seasons were no more monsoon and summer and the like; I only knew a lean cycle and a bulk cycle. I ritually followed the techniques and postures watching YouTube videos. There came a time when I was talking to my dumbbells! Sometimes they would respond, sometimes I gave them their space. True friends understand.
My diet consisted of proteins and more proteins and sometimes carbs, followed by proteins. There were so many empty supplement containers lying in my house that my mother had started utilising them to store grains, pickles, then later money and even pets. If egg yolk could be sold I would have been the richest man on earth. I had started taking lunch boxes to parties, weddings, and dates. Slabs of lean meat and oats are all that I allowed myself; what they called megalomania, I called sacrifice. My mother sometimes slyly stuffed chicken with my childhood favourite foods like Poha and Misal so I wouldn’t miss them too much.
I had every reason to believe that I was on my way to get where I wanted. Very soon I would be serenaded by damsels frolicking around me fighting each other for a chance to touch my triceps. Like a terrorist, I dreamed of virgins in heaven. I had even perfected the “ohh come on! one at a time, girls” hand wave for later use. All this while, I would not miss any opportunity to stare at my reflection. I had checked myself out in the gym mirror so many times, often I would hallucinate that there was a poster of me affixed there. Any conversations with people wearing sunglasses would be one-sided because I would immediately start flexing in their face.
Around the fifth year, I started to notice a change. Most of the likes on my Instagram pictures were from boys. The girls that were liking them were either fake accounts or brand ambassadors from supplement companies. I know this because every time I would slide into their DM they would respond with a discount code to order from an online site. Things were looking fishy… they are low in calories and high in Omega 3 fatty acids and protein… sorry, back to the point. I was physically surrounded by males with way too high testosterone.
Where do I get my refund? Image source: memegenerator.net
Before I could realise what was happening, I had become a trainer of sorts. Dudes would ask me for tips and diet recommendations and follow my Instagram religiously. It almost felt like a cult. We called each other “Gymbros” and high-fived each other like there was no tomorrow. Now, I do not mind having jacked-up men approaching me with reverence, even the sweaty-huffing-in-your-neck ones. But may I remind you that my goals were a bit different? I had gotten so caught up in the lifestyle that I forgot to work on my communication skills with women. Every time a female friend would approach me with an intimate conversation or with a personal problem I would start recommending specific exercise to alleviate pain and cramps. It did not help that I also had started talking like a motivational speaker. I would inadvertently talk louder than usual; almost to the point of shouting. When a college crush once complimented me saying she felt weak in the knees looking at my well-sculpted abs I retorted with “NO WEAKNESS. THAT IS FOR COWARDS. GROW NOW OR DIE REGRETTING. NO PAIN NO GAIN.” I don’t blame her for avoiding the sight of me henceforth.
I had started this journey to get the attention of the opposite sex. All I ended up with was the opposite of sex; more men wanting to “feel” my muscles and discuss sleep schedules. The only breast I got after all this was chicken and I had a deep sinking feeling that I needed a re-look into this lifestyle. I am now a recovering “workoutoholic”. When I say that I work out for fitness, I actually mean for fitness and not to get my arms the size of fire extinguishers so some lady in distress will call me out for help. This is a “before and after” transformation I am looking forward to.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are independent views solely of the author(s) expressed in their private capacity and do not in any way represent or reflect the views of 101india.com
By Jitesh Jaggi
Photographs by: Jitesh Jaggi