Truth be told, I needed a topic for this week’s column, and ‘this week in gay’ seemed tame. Or, at least, uninteresting. Last week the gay news, from where I was sitting, was dominated by disgraced former congressman Aaron Schock being all out and gay, West Hollywood style, at Coachella. But then I thought, ‘no, he’s boring garbage and doesn’t need any more attention. Let’s move on.’
So, I’ve decided to focus on the good things. Our fair city is now in full bloom. And like the swallow returning to Capistrano, the first shirtless jogger has been spotted running the wrong way up 17th Street. All this means that beach season is just around the corner. And with that, our favorite gay gym swells to capacity.
I’ve always found it curious that as gay kids we did everything we could to get out of gym. But as gay adults we seem to flock to them. Just exactly why that is can’t be answered in a single column. But my own gym journey began in earnest this year with my New Year’s resolution to take my health more seriously. And now I’m 42 years old, beach bodies don’t come as easily as they maybe once did. I do have younger friends who can just pick up a weight and watch the pounds fall off and toning take shape. So unfair.
I’ve been a member of the gym for years. But, up until now, it’s been more or less yoga, maybe some cardio here and there. I’ve never really had the guts to venture too far onto the free weights and machine floor. And no, I don’t think I’m being ridiculous here. That’s a very intimidating space. And with my usual routine, I’ve never really had to explore it. My usual gym time is what I call ‘Realtor, Bartender, Stripper’ Hour – that quiet time of day between noon and 2 p.m. or so.
Yoga and cardio of course are great and I continue to practice both. But I was looking to kick in my gym routine into the next level. So I spent some money on a trainer, Jesse, who was honored by this paper as being one of the best in the city. And from what I see that’s well-deserved. Singularly focused in his training, he doesn’t fall for my usual tactic of using humor to deflect difficult situations. Coupling with Jesse, I’ve also spent time with Amanda, one of the staff nutritionists. Hammering out with me a diet that actually works for me and my goals. You see, growing up in the South, and in a large family, my childhood and beyond seemed to be one big eating contest. That’s a lot of bad habits to break. But she’s amenable and cool; we even went grocery shopping together. With her, we’ve set my alcohol units at no more than seven a week. She calls this a ‘goal.’ I call it more of an ‘aspiration.’ Drinking is so wrapped up in gay culture, and this being the boozy city that it is, this has been one of the most challenging aspects of getting to a healthier me.
This has all been going on for 45 days now. And I’ve lost two pounds of fat, for me that’s a whole body percentage less. So it’s fun to see that sort of change happening in the mirror. Am I trying to look more like Aaron Schock? Rock hard abs I guess? Maybe? No, not really. I like to think I’m far more interesting than that sellout. What I am trying to do is be a healthier happier version of me. And I’ve enjoyed what I’ve seen so far and the self-esteem boost that has come along with it. What will it all look like come summer? Stay tuned.