Inspiration

Fitness isn't just about what you do - it's how you think. Here's some gym-spiration to supercharge your workout.

Quiz: Are You Beautiful?

maxresdefaultBeauty is a funny thing.

If you could ask our society to define beauty, you’d get a very narrow answer. It’s an answer that is depicted in magazines, advertisements and almost all the media that we regularly consume.

The thing is, beauty isn’t concrete. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. Different societies and cultures have (and do) define beauty differently.

From the full-figured bodies with wide hips and body fat of the Renaissance Era to women with large feet in northern Indonesia, there’s really no consensus on beauty. In Thailand, I visited the Kayan tribe wherein women would wear thick metal rings to elongate their necks (and collapse their shoulders) as a sign of beauty.

And beauty has changed for men, too. From the lightly muscled and lean bodies of the Greeks and Roman statues to the feminizing Cumberland Corset of the 19th century, society’s definition of male beauty has evolved over time, shaped by culture, values and many whims.

Elsewhere you’ll see light skin, dark skin, tattooing, stretched earlobes or lips, scarring and just about every body type imaginable being included in some culture’s definition of beauty at some point in time.

The point is, when we see our society’s portrayal of beauty, it’s important to take a step back and see that definition for what it really is; it is shifting, arbitrary and totally subjective. We might not have long necks, big feet, tiny waists or six packs abs, but what does that matter? So rather than aspire to something which isn’t even real, let’s give ourselves permission to define beauty for ourselves.

And even if that definition isn’t accepted by the world around us, it’s important to recognize that it’s equally valid – and probably a lot healthier.

So, time for our pop quiz: Are you beautiful? You tell me.

The Best #Manass On Instagram.

manassLord, grab some water. You’re about to get thirsty.

There’s a new trend on Instagram called #manass. And it’s the best Christmas present that anyone could ask for. Well, except for world peace or a cure for cancer.

As it turns out, men are posting pictures of their backside all over Instagram. AND… Instagram is allowing it. I couldn’t be happier.

So here are a few of my favorite #manass pictures. Let me know which is your favorite in the comments below.

A photo posted by BEAST (@mrashleycain) on

Hiked Bear Creek, flashed bare cheeks. #mountainbabes #freethenipple

A photo posted by gus kenworthy (@guskenworthy) on

The neighbors won’t probably like it… Or yes…? Lol

A photo posted by Daniele (@danipallo) on

Viva com ousadia. O mundo pertence a quem se atreve!

A photo posted by Paulo Roberto Prestes Jr. (@pr_prestes) on

#sweatwithcharlie #humpday

A photo posted by Blake Bridges (@blakejamesbridges) on

The #100DaysOfFitness challenge may be behind me now but the journey continues. It’s incredible how the human body responds and transforms to even just 100 days of a consistent diet and exercise program. During the last 100 days your positive comments motivated me to push through and stay committed. I encourage all of you to experience for yourself how rewarding it is to set your own goals and get inspired by the results. You don’t have to be a fitness model or featured in the ESPN Body Issue to be proud of your physique. We all have what it takes to be the best version of ourselves we can be. Be dedicated, be passionate and be relentless in the pursuit of your dreams. Shortly, you will look back at where you started and be astounded at how far you’ve come… and you might just be inspired enough to post a naked picture of yourself on Instagram. ✌ #Day100

A photo posted by Ashley Parker Angel (@ashley_parker_angel) on

Happy #humpday

A photo posted by Colby Melvin (@colbymelvin) on

As long as you know who you belong to ✨

A photo posted by John Steel (@jsteel) on

The sexy @firstmate_blake posing with my teddy bear! Shot by me for @helixstudios

A photo posted by AJ Ford (@ajford93) on

Why I’m A Gay Man Who Doesn’t Drink Alcohol.

bartender_161951Being gay and drinking alcohol go together like Mary Kate and Ashley. Or so most people think.

I’m a gay man and I’ve never had a drink. When I was a young boy, my father gave me a sip of his beer. But that’s it.

And when I share this information, other gay people are usually dumbfounded. And that’s because so much of gay culture – from brunch (which everyone knows is the gayest meal of the week) to pride and parties – centers around the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol has become a backbone of our community. In fact, the modern gay rights movement even started in a bar!

Of course, straight people drink, too. But gays out-drink our straight counterparts by some 16%.

And I get it. It’s easy to see how growing up in a homophobic or traumatic environment could increase the likelihood that someone might seek to reduce their stress through alcohol consumption or even alcohol abuse. The dots are easy to connect. But instead of being an opportunity for introspection and self growth, the conversation around alcohol consumption is often reserved for punchlines and jokes.

When I was around 14, my grandfather made me promise him that I wouldn’t drink. It had nothing to do with me being gay. Instead, it was because his father was alcoholic – and my grandfather didn’t want me to follow in his footsteps. Considering that genes are responsible for about half the risk of alcoholism, I understand my grandfather’s motivation. And for me, the decision not to drink was a simple as keeping a promise to someone that I love.

Many sober prides and festivities later, I’ve kept my promise. And though it was never my intent, I’ve stumbled into enjoying the benefits of sobriety. With the average American spending 1% of their income on alcohol, my wallet has benefited.  With alcohol hindering muscle growth and function, my body has benefited. And with excessive alcohol consumption leading to a whole slew of problems including high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, liver disease, colon cancer and many more, my health has benefited.

I know the benefits of sobriety because I live them. But from the outside looking in, I can see how the occasional drink during dinner might be nice. But I also can’t help but wonder if alcohol is really deserving of the throne we’ve placed it on? What has it really done for us as a community or as individuals? And are those benefits really worth the price we have paid (and continue to pay) for making it so central to our culture?

I don’t have those answers. But maybe you do. In the comments below, let me know.

 

 

How To Look Good Naked.

if-real-men-modelled-underwear_5The other day, I was walking down the street and saw a gym advertisement proclaiming: “Look good naked.”

As someone who has a line of fitness programs, I spend a lot of time thinking about messaging – and how I want to market my programs. I’ve made the personal decision not to pedal my programs based on fears or insecurities. Even my “six pack program” is positioned on the benefits of a strong core rather than aesthetics. All of us have enough insecurities; I don’t need to market my products in a way that feeds them.

Perhaps for these reasons, the concept of looking good naked stuck with me. What does looking good naked even mean?

I look good naked. And it’s not because my body is shaped a certain way, because I have a narrow waist or large pecs. I look good naked because we all do.

In a world that tells us otherwise, remember that each of us has the power to define what looking good or being beautiful really means. Discovering your own definition of beauty means taking cues not from the society around us but the heart within you. Looking good naked isn’t about a flat belly or a tight ass. It’s about recognizing your own value and honoring all that you bring to the table. And, as it turns out, you bring a lot to the table. We all do.

You don’t need a gym membership to look good naked. You don’t need to be a certain size or to lose weight. You are beautiful because it’s your birthright. And if you could – even for a moment – see yourself the way the universe, God, or your soul (or whatever label you use) sees you, you’d absolutely agree.

You look good naked.

Gay Men & Aging: A Different Approach!

HIV-and-aging-717445-300x155On my 26th birthday, people around me started reminding me that I’m in my late 20s. Apparently, this is a bad thing. Because then you’re 30, and then 40 and then 50 and so on. It’s basically, “Happy 26th Birthday. You’re dead.”

I know that a lot of us (and gay men, in particular) fear getting old. In a society and culture that worships youth and wrinkle-free skin, the inevitable effects of aging can challenge us and make us feel less desirable. Sometimes even invisible.

But I think we have it all wrong. Growing old isn’t a disease to be fought. It’s not a plague or a poison.

On the contrary, growing old is a gift. And it’s a gift that too many people in our community haven’t been able to experience. I think back to the AIDS epidemic of the 80s and 90s, and how many gay men lost their battles so early in life. I think about the fact that gay, lesbian and bisexual youth are 4x more likely to attempt suicide and that nearly 50% of transgender people have seriously complemented suicide.

In this way, growing old is something to honor and celebrate. Sure, we might get grey hairs and saggy tits, but we’re here goddamn it.

Of course, this isn’t an excuse to stop taking care of ourselves. On the contrary, staying healthy and active helps keep these bodies in working condition. As we age, let’s do so with energy, good health and minimized risk for chronic disease and ailments. Let’s make sure we get the most out of our years.

Anyway, here’s to becoming a bunch of old farts.