The Young and the Shirtless

February 18, 2012 § 1 Comment

Yesterday I stared at a bloke while he worked out.
He was young,  tanned, shirtless and ripped. (Jacked. Buff. Swole. Cut. Shredded.)

I live near an expanse of sporting fields. On winter mornings it’s a frozen sea. On summer afternoons, it’s either a straw-coloured desert or a lush green cushion. This year, cushion.

It being warm, and having walked a mile or two, and recovering from an illness, I collapsed on the grass in the shade of a tree. The next time I propped myself up on an elbow there were two young men setting up a fitness circuit, right there on the oval. There was a bar bell, a kettle bell, a skipping rope on top of a nearby concrete plinth. A squat-jump station. The soccer goal post was a pull up bar: one chin up, one toes up, repeat. Then repeat all of it. Welcome to Crossfit.

I don’t normally eyeball the Mens Health stereotype. I think it boiled down to this:

  1. They seemed young. No, not that young, but young, like late teens. I liked their companionable effort. The way that some men at that age – for a variety of reasons – set physical goals for themselves that swiftly turn into obsessions. How much can you lift, how much can you squat, how many reps can you do?
  2. I was really impressed by the effort they’d gone to, in a public place, to put themselves out there with all their showy equipment and “Hey, check this out” moves. Dedication with a side of poseur.
  3. It looked like a gut-wrenching workout, so I felt a bit “WOO! HIGH FIVE!” for them.

Anyway, with each new effort my shirtless young hero’s six-pack buckled appealingly and as the workout extended, his olive skin started to shine with sweat. So there I was, Unaccustomed As I Am To Staring and old enough to be his mother. I felt…well…I felt a bit like this, really:

Keep it up, son. I’m just (as they say over at the bodybuilding forums) mirin.

PS. I’ve been looking for the slightest reason to link to the stupidest, most awesome, several page, first world problem thread in which a bunch of bodybuilders argue about how to fit a Pizza Hut Big Box into a bar fridge. This seems like a good enough excuse. Here it is.



§ One Response to The Young and the Shirtless

  • My stepson was somewhat overweight and doing little exercise when epiphany struck. He took up Parkour and studied fitness training, good diet etc., and he and his friends are now fanatical about it in the way you mentioned. He has dropped 16 kgs (over 35 lbs in your money!) and built great strength. He never shuts up about the statistics. But it’s a great thing to see young guys changing their habits and creating a satisfying new lifestyle.

    I’m sure there’s nothing wrong with admiring beautiful young bodies even if you’re old enough to be their Mum….

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