It is no secret that sex sells, particularly in the LGBT community and especially amongst gay men. It is also no secret the standards of beauty that people tend to adopt along with kind of body image issues this kind of advertising creates.
We all want to look good, especially as a gay man I want to look good and I suffer from body image issues myself, constantly looking at my body in the mirror and not always pleased with what I see. We are always our own worst critics and that is true here too. What’s more important than how you look is how you feel. Even body builders, fitness models and athletes of all disciplines may have the sexiest and perfect body but to them that’s simply not the case.
Body image isn’t always a bad thing, having standards and ideals to give us a goal to shoot for. It’s what drives us, in all aspects of our lives. Be it working hard to get promoted at your job, training for a particular sport or even studying extra hard to get a good grade in school. Training for aesthetics is really no different but like everything else there are dangers involved. Eating disorders, toxic supplements and medications, drug use and even degradation in your physical and mental health including depression, self-esteem, anxiety, self doubt. These can lead to a downward spiral that affects your entire quality of life and although you might have a nice tits and a six-pack, the rest of you is significantly lacking.
I once had a hook up with a guy during a gay swimming competition, I had won 4 medals in 4 events and accomplished my goals, I was very proud of my accomplishments and had one more event left. During our sexy time, he looks at my body and casually mentions I should hit the gym more often. As you can imagine that was a major mood killer. It had left me with the feeling that despite my accomplishments, I still wasn’t good enough because I didn’t look sexy enough (apparently). Well fortunately there was still one event left for me to swim at the competition. At the pool I had seen him and said “hi” as I went up to swim. I had bested the competition and finished in first place to win the gold, with a new personal record to accompany it. He had a few events that day as well and he didn’t swim too well, so after I received my gold I mentioned to him that I wasn’t the only one who needed to hit the gym.
Did that make me sound cocky, perhaps conceited? Sure but I didn’t let his comment have a negative affect on me. Instead I turned it into motivation, choosing to channel that in my swim because in the end it didn’t matter how I looked, I stood up on that podium and proudly received a gold medal and to me, that’s what was important.
It was clear that his judgments of me were merely a reflection of himself. Consciously or subconsciously it’s easy to find ourselves trying to bring others down. It was a reminder that no matter what you accomplish or are doing, you will always have a critic, not only from others but especially from ourselves. The difference is those who succeed tend channel that criticism into motivation and continue to set higher standards for themselves.
- David Smith is an exercise professional, athlete, blogger and owner of Stonewall Fitness. He is a certified personal trainer and holds a Bachelor's degree in Exercise Science and Nutrition. He is an active athlete and Gay Games medalist training and competing in swimming. He is passionate about bringing the LGBT community together through exercise and fitness. Help support David with his athletic endeavors! Visit www.gofundme.com/bttrflyr and Read more here...