Your physique is not a product, or even a goal, it’s a process. One that never stops changing. Approaching physique as process has changed my relationship with my body and shifted my approach from one of desperately trying to achieve a single, static and perfect appearance to an open-ended exploration of movement.
What does this have to do with art, you ask? Paradoxically, understanding movement more deeply (like as lived, embodied experience) helps to capture it in the static images I create as an artist. This makes the pursuit of movement a benefit to both health and creative practice. Physiques crafted through intense movement and skill also happen to be more appealing to me. Your mileage may vary.
I’m a lover, not a fighter
But damn, fighters do have the most amazing physiques! If one wants that physique, without pummeling people and profuse bleeding, what’s a body to do? Enter calisthenics! Or aerial, dance, gymnastics, certain styles of yoga, and quite a few other options, I’m sure. Basically, think outside the gym.
The world is too damn straight!
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Like so many well-indoctrinated gays, I treated the gym as temple and religious obligation. This went on, not without some benefit, for decades. Then, the pandemic happened and they all closed. I went back briefly when they started re-opening. But, when poor old Astral Fitness (where I belonged for years) went out of business, I decided it was time to shake things up. I had been slowly sampling and adding things beyond the weights/cardio dogma for years. Dropping yet another aspect of outdated gay culture was surprisingly easy.
Briefly, my current routine mixes qi gong, yoga, and calisthenics, either at home or in nearby parks. (Exercising outside is glorious!) There have been a few other interesting things along the way, too. It’s a perpetual work-in-progress derived from a variety of sources and a great deal of self-reflection. You must chart your own path by finding your ideal companions for the journey. Mine will not necessarily be the same as yours. Enjoy the journey.
And remember, you are what you eat, so give a thought to that, too.
A thotful himbo
Getting outside the gym, literally and figuratively, freed up my thinking about health and physique, freed up my body and, believe it or not, freed up my art, too. Shifting my health routines to be more playful and expressive has added more fluidity to my figure drawing. It’s helped me better remember and visualize anatomical details while drawing. And if I’m really feeling it, I have the wherewithal to try out some ambitious poses for myself to both feel and see the reference.
The formula is simple: move better, draw better.
Cover photo: Jonathan Borba/Unsplash; the rest is all me.
Got a favorite routine, health hottie, or wanna show off? Drop your comments below…