DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: Hope you are well and safe. I am a 28 year old single guy who has never been in a relationship or had sex, just kissing stages. I just have this query which has been bugging me and would like guidance on.
I have friends of mine who have been bugging me (to the point that I am getting fed up) to go and join a gym and work out constantly because that would be the golden ticket for me to get laid on a regular basis. Now whenever I start a gym membership, I always end up quitting after 3 months because it’s really not my thing. I much prefer walks in the countryside to be honest.
Now back to the subject personally I think it’s a bit pathetic and desperate joining a gym just to boost ones sex life. It helps yes but I feel that one should exercise in order to feel healthy and not as an excuse to get laid only (correct me if I am wrong). And also back to my friends at one point they mentioned that if I am going to enter a relationship, being a fit guy is what I would need to bring to the table in a relationship, which completely pissed me off.
What are your thoughts please?
Not Exercise Hater
DEAR NOT EXERCISE HATER: My thought is that there’re a couple of issues here.
First and foremost is that while I believe that it’s good for people to work on their overall physical fitness, the idea that you “need” to join a gym in order to get fit. While personally I love going to the gym and find a lot of value there, exercise and physical fitness aren’t defined strictly by what you can accomplish on a treadmill or with free weights. There are many, many different ways to achieve physical fitness that don’t necessarily mean pumping iron or training like you’re getting ready to fight Ivan Drago. Playing in various amateur sports leagues or having a twice or three-times weekly basketball game with your friends is one way. So is swimming, dancing or practicing martial arts. People who throw bales of hay around, work with livestock, do construction work or other forms of manual labor are, likewise, getting quite a bit of exercise in ways that don’t involve going to the gym. Or you can go for long walks, like you prefer. After all, walking at a brisk clip for an hour will net you the same calorie burn as jogging for a half-hour without potentially screwing up your knees or giving you shin-splints.
(And that’s especially true in a time when we’re in a global pandemic and the vast majority of gyms simply aren’t safe…)
Second is that “fit” and being “in shape” is going to look very different to different people. There’s an assumption that “being fit” or “being in shape” is going to look like Brad Pitt in Fight Club, and it isn’t. In fact, most of the people we think of when we think “fit” or “in shape” tend to be at their least strong. Most of the time, they’re dehydrated as hell and woozy from the unbalanced eating that it took to get to that particular build. You can be in shape without having more cuts than a DJ. You can be fat and be fit. Nobody is going to tell Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson (well, not to his face, anyway) that he’s not fit, even though he doesn’t look like what we assume “fit” is supposed to be. Similarly, athletes like Prince Fielder were in incredible shape and able to perform to a level that most people won’t achieve… but he never looked like a Men’s Health cover model. And that’s fine because that brings us to my third thought:
Just as “being a fit guy” is going to look different to different people, so too does “guy with a hot body”. Yeah, some people are going to want Brad in all of his carved-out-of-marble-and-abs glory. Others may find him aesthetically pleasing but sexually he leaves them dryer than the Sahara or limper than overcooked linguini. Instead, they’d rather lick frosting off Paul Hollywood or ride Mark Lutton like a coin-op horsey. Some folks like ’em tall and skinny enough to wear women’s cut jeans, others want them a cuddly fat man who looks the way hugs feel. Plenty of folks are watching Letterkenny because K. Trevor Wilson is all over it and that’s what they appreciates about the show.
And of course, there’s the fact that there’s more to attraction and what you bring to the table than physical looks.
Do I think it’s pathetic or desperate to join a gym “just” to boost one’s sex life? Hell no. There’s absolutely nothing pathetic or desperate about wanting to look better, however you want to define “look better”. Wanting to look good naked is as real and valid a reason to work out as wanting to improve your cardiovascular health, improve athletic performance or putting on functional muscle. The only problems I see with it is either trying to force yourself into a build and body type that you can’t achieve or maintain, or when it starts to negatively impact your life. You can’t exercise yourself into a different frame or bone-structure, nor different genetics (which are going to be far more responsible for having visible abs than any amount of crunches). And people rarely think about how life-consuming it is to look like Captain America or Star-Lord; it’s literally their job to look like that, and none of the Chris’ (or Stephen Amell or Kumail Nanjiani or, hell, J.K. Simmons) look like superheroes when they’re not shooting movies or tv shows.
Now, if you want to cut weight or bulk up because you want to feel more attractive, by all means, go for it. If you want to hit the gym and work out because you want to fit into smaller clothes, again: you do you, man. But if you’re getting some form of regular cardio, your cholesterol and blood pressure are in healthy ranges and you’re happy with yourself over all? Then hey, you’re doing great too. But what I think will benefit you more than hitting the gym is developing some stronger boundaries and telling your friends to knock it the f--k off with all of the “get your ass to the gym or die alone” s--t. You don’t want to hear it, you don’t need them nagging you about it and frankly, you’re sick of them bringing it up over and over again, even if they think they’re doing it for your “benefit”.
And if they won’t listen when you tell them to knock it the f--k off? Then it may be time to get better friends.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org