It can sound really painful when I hear a grown man scream “Arrrggghhh!!” and as I cautiously look up to witness the victim in excruciating pain I have to remember that I am not in my local accident and emergency unit but I am in the weird and wonderful world of my local gym.

A heavenly place where people go to partake in a range of physical activities that motivate and inspire us to achieve a greater level of fitness and a healthier lifestyle…

Or does it?

I am not a traditional or conventional man in any sense of the word however I am not quite liberal enough to enroll in Zumba or Body Pump classes so I tend to embark on the safe standardised route that most guys seem to take; which is either the running/rowing machines or the machine assisted/free weights area.

This is the most bizarrely fascinating weekly experience a man can have; especially if you are a casual gym user, like me, who does not necessarily worship at the alter of muscle mass and protein shakes. Not every man that enters the gym wants to try and out “Alpha Male” other competitors in this arena, as this isn’t Gladiator and my name ain’t Maximus.

The advantage of time and maturity is that you do reach a point where you no longer feel the need to aggressively compete, puff out your chest, grimace as you slam your weights to the ground or flex your muscles in every available reflective surface…and there is a real freedom in that…

Although we never dare speak about it people are motivated to attend the gym for a multitude of reasons outside of just physical fitness; some go to ease the guilt of over indulgence, some enter this realm due to insecurities placed on them by our crazy media’s idea of perfection, while others secretly go to show off to attract the gaze of the casual observer or secret admirer.

Don’t misunderstand me, there is nothing wrong with a healthy dose of ego driven discipline and/or competition, and if it helps you get the physical results that puts Mr Olympia champ Phil Heath to shame then I am genuinely all for it.

However gym staff or fitness industries should not assume we all have the desire for ultimate physical perfection, some of us realise the importance of staying active and healthy but on occasion we do want to indulge in a little Ben & Jerry’s Utter Peanut Butter Clutter…

And that’s okay…

Until next time

“Real learning comes about when the competitive spirit has ceased.” 

Jiddu Krishamurti