Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Scary body-builders

It's been a bad day and I don't want to talk about it, so I pulled out a draft from yesterday and decided to finish that instead.

So I have always been a little bit morbidly fascinated by body-builders. I spent a year working next door to a gym when I was around 18 or so, and I used to watch the crazy body-builders go in and out of the building, clutching those giant bottles of protein-shake powder and wearing clothes that barely fit.

The guy who ran the shop next to where I worked was one such body-builder. I will call him Tim, because I can... Anyway Tim was absolutely gigantic, and he actually looked kid of chubby with giant arm muscles, because his stomach muscles were so big that under a t-shirt it looked kind of like a beer-gut (with associated moobs). I will always remember one day when I was chatting to him and I said something along the lines of "Oh, so you're so tough then?" and poked him in the 'moob' to emphasise my point. I almost broke my finger, he was as solid as a brick wall.

Over time I got quite fond of Tim and his tiny wife (body-building men, in my experience, tend to go for scrawny women who don't work out...) and their little girl, who was one of the cutest kids ever, despite the ADD and associated issues. Tim and I would go for tea occasionally, when my shift was over or if I went to the gym on days I wasn't working, and I remember watching him holding his teacup and wondering if he was going to squeeze it too hard and accidentally break it. I learned later that there were many drawbacks to his life-style (and he wasn't on steroids at all, those have a whole exciting bundle of consequences), such as that he battled to find clothes that were big enough, and that he got up two or three times a night to eat so that he wouldn't break down any of his muscle. And by eat, I mean a 6-egg omelette type meal.

Either way he was a lovely guy and I got very close to his whole family (although I had to stop spending time with his daughter when she had nightmares at 2am and called for me instead of her mom, three year-olds just aren't rational!) and I was sad when the shop I was working at relocated and I was moved to a different branch.

Anyway that was a good 5 years ago and I hadn't thought about them in a while, until I went to gym two nights ago to see a body-builder and entourage training. It consisted of the chief guy, who was massive, but obviously restricted his training to the gym because he was even more pasty-white than me, his tiny wife/girlfriend, and three or four wannabe-body-builders who watched his every move with awe. as it happened I was on the machine where you have to point your toes repeatedly (people spend hours developing these contraptions, so it must do SOMETHING) so I was able to watch their group.

I came to a few conclusions, some of which I had reached before, but had forgotten and revisited:

  1. I don't understand the appeal of the 'sport' I find the participants hideous. Tim used to play videos of the contests and I would sit and shudder. And while I find the men incredibly unattractive, I think the women are even worse! We actually had a client at the videostore, years ago, who we all thought was a very in-shape guy. then joey went to the gym to find 'him' in the change-room, wearing a bikini.
  2. As much as I don't get it, having too much muscle to get through a doorway really does it for some people. looking back I don't think I've ever seen a body-builder without an entourage and/or a significant other, even the ones on all kinds of steroids who were always moody and difficult (the steroids in the on-weeks make them go nuts, then they get frustrated in the off-weeks and that makes them cranky).
  3. At least with all that muscle they'd probably be worse at yoga than me!

Anyway the main guy would lift something probably about the same weight as a small car, then his wife/girlfriend would rush forward and mop the sweat off his face. Not while he was holding the weights though, AFTER he's put them down. It would have been perfectly simple for her to hand hm the towel, but no... Although even just holding the towel would be disgusting, he was sweating a LOT.

Can anyone explain the appeal to me? I just don't get it!


Janine / Being Brazen said...

I REALLY dont like body builders' bodies. I think too much muscle is ikky on a man and its double ikky on a woman.

SuvvyGirl said...

I'm right there along with you. I don't understand the appeal. Now give me a guy that is built and has great abs and I'm fine. But the freakishly large is just icky.

tonypark said...

Don't get it either.

In Kruger, a couple of years ago, we camped next to a body-building couple that we called Conan and Mrs Barbarian.

They spent the afternoon sitting around their caravan in matching red mankinis, rubbing baby oil into each other.

The weirdest thing about all that was his very synthetic, very obvious toupe.

tonypark said...

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tonypark said...

PS. Thanks for visiting my blog.


Thomas said...

Look, I really enjoy going to gym and doing wieghts but seriously? She ran over to mop his face? That's just crazy....nice blog:)

Kath Lockett said...

I'm right on your side, Helen. The best quote I ever read on the subject was from my countryman, Clive James, who in the eighties described Arnold Schwarnegger as 'looking like a condom full of walnuts.'