So you want to get fit and look like the pictures of the boys and girls you see in advertising and on the Internet. One of the most common trends in the gay community is the overwhelming desire to have the perfect body and look like a superstar with perfect definition, rippling muscles and the favorite - abs of steel. Unfortunately to get the perfect body takes, time, discipline and plain old hard work.
We are all built differently and our bodies are not the same, some of us are skinny, some fat, some stocky. Our basic body shape is genetically set for us right from birth and there is not a huge amount we can do to actually change this. But we can work on what we have and make improve not just the way we look but also the way we feel about ourselves. The first thing we need to do is think about what type of body shape we are and then work out according to that.
One method used to assess body shape, called somatotyping, rates a person's body on three factors: endomorphy (fatness), mesomorphy (muscularity) and ectomorphy (slenderness). The three main types of body shapes are:
Ectomorphs have very high metabolic rates. This makes it very difficult for them to gain both muscle and strength. The ectomorph faces a much greater challenge than does the mesomorph in gaining muscle and therefore must be patient with muscle gains when resistance training. Those with this body type should stick to the basic hypertrophy phase of training (in the 8-12 rep max range). Fewer reps means going heavy - a high intensity workout. In turn, a longer rest period in between sets is necessary so you're thoroughly recuperated between sets.
hard, muscular body
This is the guy or gal who comes in to the gym and doesn't really look as if he knows what he is doing, nor does he stay very long, yet grows like a weed? Some of these people make enormous progress despite their complete lack of training or nutritional knowledge - imagine what they could do if they did. Mesomorphs can basically get away with doing less and achieving more. However, mesomorphs are also more prone to over training because they see results so quickly. They also tend to do the same routine over and over, again because they see results. This could in fact lead to decreased gains. For this reason it is recommended that mesomorphs change up their routine often. Pyramid training is an ideal method for this body type.
Endomorphs are generally those with a large bone structure. They can probably hoist some relatively heavy weights around the gym, but with a slower metabolism, fat loss is very difficult, which can hide their hard-earned muscle gains (or fat loss).
The problem with the the three approach is that most people are a combination of the three types. For example a person with a stocky build who is tall may be a Meso - ecto. So what does our body type mean for a training program? In a nutshell we have to recognise that any training program be tailored for our bodies, and the program that works for one person may not work for someone else.
Before starting any program you need to understand why you want to train and what this means. Some of the common reasons for training are:
Its great to look at exercise as a way of keeping healthy and getting fit, but if you are exercising for the wrong reasons then you need to understand and help yourself overcome a potential body image problem.
Gay men have a higher proportion of body image problems than their straight counterparts and this is evident in the number of gay males who work out or who are dissatisfied with the way they look. Anorexia, bulimia and the reverse of both (feeling too small or inadequate) are common problems in our community and not just for women. More and more men and teenagers are having serious problems with the perception of their bodies. It is important to recognise if the reason why you are working out or want to work out is more than just a desire to look good and keep fit. Answer the following questions and then read the advice below:
Body Image Questionnaire
If you answered yes to some of the questions, then you are at risk of having a body image problem.
If you answered yes to most or all of the questions then you could benefit from the advice of a health professional to help you work out what you can do realistically to control your fears or insecurities about your body image.
Source: Monash University
There are many positive reasons for working out and including exercise in your daily life. I have listed some of the best reasons for working out below:
The important thing to remember about exercise is not to take it seriously, just take it regularly and do something you enjoy.