Spring is both the start of warmer weather and the end of my gym freedom. Nearly every machine is packed with seasonal Sams looking to gain new muscle before the summer. Now dudes are scrambling to lift as many kettlebells as they can while filling their Instagram feeds with sweaty selfies. Meanwhile, I’m stuck on the only working piece of equipment––a run-down elliptical next to a wheezing woman.
One evening, as I waited patiently for a cable machine behind two dudes in Lululemon, I heard one of them pant, “once I get a man, I’m done with this crap!” Suddenly, I was reminded of my friend from college who said those exact words. Since my friend hated the gym, he vowed never to lift another weight once he nabbed a guy. He felt that only his prime figure would land him in a relationship. Now, I’m left wondering how many guys hit the gym just to get a boyfriend.
It’s easy to feel that gay culture is body-obsessed. Our magazines, social media, and advertisements are filled with beefy chests and chiseled abs. Online, it seems like every few minutes I’m flashed a pair of man nipples. It’s no wonder a fit guy might feel more comfortable posting a pic of his torso rather than a shot of his face. Heck, I’ve even contributed to the sea of shirtless selfies. Perhaps, because of this media, the idea of having a gym-made body feels like the easiest way to grab a guy’s attention.
Once a boyfriend is obtained, does the gym matter? Your lover has likely seen you naked, and you’ve smacked each other around in bed a few times, so why grow those biceps? While many couples keep the gym in their routine, others might trade barbells for forks. I asked a few of my coupled friends, and they say that since they met, their gym consumption has gone down and their dining out has increased. Was that the goal all along?
Personally, I love everything from fine dining to In-N-Out––but I also love feeling fit. The two can go together, but it’s a lot of work. If I stopped hitting the gym, would my commitment to fitness suddenly feel like a lie? My boyfriend doesn’t mind whether I pack on the muscle or not. Yet, I am left wondering if he’d truly be okay if I stopped lifting and started lounging. He’d likely still find me attractive, but he might miss the way I used to look.
Then again, isn’t change our destiny? Relationships that last adapt to morphing bodies––thickness, wrinkles, and everything else. Our younger selves are usually fitter than our aged counterparts whether we lift weights or not. In other words, we aren’t always going to look the same. If change is the clear trend, shouldn’t we just expect it? Or are we buying into something that was never meant to last?