Getting Physical

Getting Physical

That beach body you have always wanted will change your life.

Summer is here, and you ask yourself: “Am I beach body ready?” A quick glance at the various men’s health magazines convinces you that you are not, even though you are logically aware that every abled body (barring deformity or incorporeality) is “beach-ready” with a splash of sunscreen and pair of Speedos. Your lesser physique does not deserve to be kissed by the sun, not like cover boy Pecker, who is going to be out there on the sand posing for the ladies like a proud erection. The men will look as well; they might even want a piece. “I’ll be ready next summer,” you promise.

Nothing triggers our obsession with our naked (or at least semi-naked) selves like the summer season, no clothes to hide behind and sucking it in does not count. The beach body is a regimen, narcissism on fitness crack (creatine). You undertake an 80-Day Workout Plan – otherwise known as 80 Days of Deranged Thinking About Your Self, Fitness, and Food – and start measuring life out in muscle-pumping reps and teaspoons of calories. Nothing else matters. Little by little, you disengage from company and conversation, dirty distractions to clean living. The beach body is a temple, and you must worship.

The more crunches and food-prep you do, the more #blessed life is going to be. This is underscored by the shirtless scene on social media, because when everyone is an “intellectual” quoting Nietzsche or Drake (sometimes both in the same caption), the only remaining measure of worth is how one looks with his shirt off. Spectacle is the simplest truth at the heart of physical fitness, and once one is worthy of the eyes, he is automatically better. You understand this intimately every time you admire your engorged body in the mirror post-workout. “You’re a beast,” you whisper with orgasmic intensity. Looking great is pure arousal.

Then came the dad bod. Neither toned nor tanned; he has even got a bit of flab to show. You have been taught that being overweight is the ultimate human offence, but when Leonardo DiCaprio flopped around the beach in his full-bodied glory, there was no reckoning but instead approval. That threw you for a loop – you are willing to concede that the dad bod has masculine vigour in the spirit of body positivity but will not understand why anyone would want to intentionally cultivate one when weight gain is an unavoidable side-effect of ageing. The fellow fit bros, on the other hand, are bewildered that people can be attracted to anything other than their big guns.

You get back on track and continue to pump, sweat, and void at both ends (detox is the devil’s work), all for a day in the sun. Eventually, the swelling reaches its peak – your biceps pop, pectorals enlarge, and abdominals quiver with rage. You wanted a beach body; you got it. Giddy with self-regard, you spend a week tops basking on white sands and baring your gains in a little slingshot. Then it is back to regular life because the Wi-Fi at the beach sucks and UV death is real. Only, regular life is no longer what it used to be. When a guy goes fit, it alters him on a fundamental level; his thoughts become a constant Rolodex of body parts, lining up the next targets to blast. He spends every moment scrutinising himself, compulsively comparing against other men; he cannot stop counting, for fear of tipping the balance towards physical perdition. You are beach body ready. In fact, you have become beach body personified.