Everyone Wants To Be An Underwear Model
After a particularly grueling workout I find myself sitting in the steam room taking stock of my aching body. I spent the last hour of my life breaking down my muscle fibers, forcing them to rebuild. I spent the last hour of my life sweating my way through a few hundred gut wrenching ab exercises. My shoulders, pecs and triceps are warm and slightly numb with fatigue. My abs are a whole zone of dull ache. Not only does my body ache but my ego has been busied as well.
I am by no means like most of the hard bodies I see at the gym. They float into the gym wearing several hundred dollars worth of high fashion fitness gear. Most of the people at my gym start to look better as they sweat. To me, it looks like they come to the gym to show off the temple of their bodies. Each and every movement they make is a declaration of pride.
They come to the gym to maintain. I come to the gym to renovate. I don't look glamorous when I sweat. With every successive exercise I do, my face becomes more flushed and I look every more maniacal. My baggy old work out clothes - last summers painting shorts and a ratty tee- become plastered to my body. My body may be a temple now, but in a past life it was a condemned building facing a wrecking ball. I Lean my head back and take a deep breath. Why am I here? Why am I doing this? Of course by the time I exhale, the answer is clear in my mind. Up until a year and a half ago I worked in an office, buried from the world behind a computer. I sat in the same ergonomic chair for most of my forty hour work week.
The chair is a point of interest because it is designed by highly educated people to make the act of sitting for long periods more comfortable. It’s as though they know that I spend my life stuck in a chair and by making it comfortable, I will be blind to it. My chair, in my office. I drank my pop there, ate my junk food there and I put on about thirty pounds there. While not a huge amount of weight to gain, the thirty pounds came on top of an already out of shape body. Realistically speaking, a year and a half ago, I was at least forty pounds overweight. I only really became aware of it when I noticed myself in a wedding photo. I looked like a man who was carrying an extra forty pounds. I looked like hell. Denial is a wonderful thing.
When I first became aware that I no longer had the boyish figure I once had, I simply ignored it. I told myself that the changes were only minor and not really that noticeable. Denial is only a temporarily wonderful thing. Six months later, I went to buy jeans for myself and discovered that my waist had grown by about four inches. My initial reaction was that the clothing line had changed their sizing practice. But after hitting a few different shops, it was clear that there was no size conspiracy; my waist had grown. It was only by the grace of modern technology and the miracle of stretch fabrics that my current pants still fit me. I was embarrassed. I felt shameful. I felt awful.
I ate a pizza. When I got up I decided that I wanted to feel better about myself. I wanted to be leaner and fitter. I wanted to look like an underwear model, tight tank top synched across a bulging set of abs, leg muscles carved up into well defined portions of muscular geography. Well, at least leaner and fitter. That was a year ago. I started to dig around and do some research. My first radical decision was to cut out the junk food. Not a tremendous step, but it forced me to learn how to cook in record time.