So I have mentioned from time to time that I really find value and enjoyment in daily trips to the gym. I enjoy the self-aware ‘bro-science’ humour trends that have emerged. I love the idea that the modern trend towards fitness and wellness culture are already being viewed with ‘ironic’ skepticism. Rather jarringly though I also adore the feelings of mastery, control and achievement that this practice has brought into my life.
To me the gym is a source of contentment and inspiration for me. The ancient Greeks proposed that A healthy mind could only inhabit a healthy body and certainly I function best after a good workout each morning. But more than that the daily pilgrimage to the holy house of Krom focuses me, centers me in a way that nothing else really does. The only other time in my life I experience the zen state induced in me by a good set of curls is whilst deeply engrossed in a video game – and not just any video game only highly competitive raiding in WoW has ever elicited such a deep state of focus from me. It strikes me as the perfect continuation of the aforementioned ‘ironic’ humour that two so diametrically opposed disciplines should have such similar effects on my mental state. Something so ‘Nerdy’ as WoW and so ‘Masculine’ as lifting finding a soft spot within my psyche.
The Church Of Iron is also the one place on earth that really feels like it deserves the title of being holy to me. The gym is a place removed from the rest of the world, dedicated to the betterment of man. Yes I admit this is a wholly sohpisitic reading of it , but to me after years of experiencing the true dedication of not only myself but my gym ‘family’ it really strikes me as true. So much of our modern culture is about segregating us – about encouraging us to ourselves as wholly separate and divisible entities in order to play on our fears and make us more malleable to neoliberal influence. The gym, when looked upon charitably, is a building where all men and women are made equal before the force of Krom. No one is ‘king’ of the gym, everyone no matter their strength is humbled by the endeavor for gains or tone or fitness. When in the presence of the divine iron we are all made one, made to pray in the same way to receive that which we crave.
The gym is a place where one can commune not only with the divine but also with the self. It is a place that we can work together in to achieve the impossible. It is truly one of the most gratifying experiences to help someone with a lift they’ve never made before – a new height of their personal story. The time we get to spend in reflection as we focus and push past our boundaries has the ability to make better people of us in small daily and incremental ways.
The summation of this is rather a simple thought – Despite being a nerd, despite being primarily a skinny white guy I adore the gym. I adore the dedication and passion i get to display and see mirrored in those around me . I adore the pursuit of self betterment, I adore the generosity and humanity displayed by those who share that journey. For every arrogant or obnoxious gym rat you meet know that there is a monastic follower of the god of gains. Every time someone tell you that gym rats are just meat heads please recall the lady reading her med text book on the treadmill. For every person decrying the gym know there is someone for whom it is a daily grace.