Submitted by alvin on Thu, 2016-05-12 19:14 Over the past couple of months, after joining a new gym, I’ve been bombarded with questions for which I have just one answer. The answer, I will divulge later, but first, the questions go somewhat like these…Why do you come to the gym? Have you lost weight? Where exactly do you need to lose weight? You are not fat, so why are you here? The people who question my very presence at the gym, I notice, are mostly women. The men who usually go about their business around the weights and benches understand and acknowledge that there is a 52 kg woman who is trying to lift the barbell and do the bench press in a space profusely dripping with sweat and testosterone. I am one of those women who think their workout is incomplete without a bounteous bit of strength training. It’s only been a few months, but I have never felt better about working out. I love the chest press and the leg press and the chin ups and the biceps curls and the triceps curls and all those things that we do on those mean machines that make our muscles feel like they are on fire. The trainers who are always pleased to see a woman in the midst of the menfolk tell me that most women shy away from intense strength training as they fear they will ‘sprout’ muscles and look like men. I wish sprouting muscles were as easy as that! Over the years, men have been told to look a certain way and women have been told to look their part that when someone does stray into the other arena, it becomes a strange phenomenon. That’s why I look up to the women bodybuilders in India who’ve had to overcome many battles to achieve their so called ‘offbeat’ dream. And I think ‘offbeat’ is good because I can’t picture living in a world where all people look and think the same way. I’ve realised that there are many reasons why people hit the gym. Some want to lose weight. Some want to put on some pounds (oh yes, that happens too). Some want to stay fit. Some want to be strong. But I hope the general notion that gym is the place just for shedding those pounds will one day pass. And I sincerely hope that even gyms will stop promoting such philosophies. ‘Do you want to look like a whale or a mermaid this summer?’ That was one such advertisement! Women are constantly reminded that their bodies are not perfect and gyms should be the last place that should reiterate that. No wonder the women asked me what I was doing at the gym. So let me end with the answer to the question. Why do I hit the gym? Simply because I love it. I can’t imagine a life without some heavy lifting. It’s my drug – the only addiction that I am finally proud of.