I think, if we’re honest with ourselves, most of us have been “that guy” in the gym at some point or another. The guy who grunted or yelled to make sure everyone saw how hardcore they were. Or maybe the guy who was quick to tell everyone that only compound lifts mattered, so people were pussies or had “fuckarounditis” for wasting their time training “beach muscles”. Or maybe the guy who thought every set should go until you blacked out or busted blood vessels in your eye, and that skipping training session because you were hurt made you less of a man.
Yeah, I used to be that guy. And if you never were, I’m sure you know someone who is or was.
Now, that makes you wonder, where does this all come from? When we enter the gym, are some of us perma-15 year olds with the need to prove to everyone we’re so “hardcore?” Does something deep down in our psyche tell us that this is the proper way to behave, and the optimal way to get stronger and reach our goals? I, for one, am hoping that such is not the case.
I think the main problem is the many e-gurus who build up cults of personality around themselves and “sell” a certain lifestyle to sell a product/program. Unless you’re hardcore like them, you’re not doing it “right” and you’re selling yourself short. You’re submitting to the shackles of modern society that try to emasculate you. You need to liberate yourself, embrace the manliness inside yourself, and unleash all your pent up rage on the weights.
They keep you locked into the pubescent me vs. everyone mindset by playing to the insecurities most guys have have. We need to feel like we’ve truly become “manly men,” we need to feel a sense of adequacy in your physical abilities, and we need to feel the approval of our abilities from our peers (and the opposite sex). By insinuating that you’re “soft” and feminized by modern society, they threaten your identity, but then they assure you that you can be a “real man” if you buy into their “hardcore” lifestyle (which you can learn about in their ebook, delve deeper into by buying their programming and supplements, and show your newfound masculinity by purchasing their apparel).
I see it as the same ploy that companies use to market to women. They make them feel ugly and inadequate so they’ll buy makeup or clothes.
Quite honestly, it disgusts me. People preying on the most insecure of individuals, often hooking them when they’re impressionable (and doubly insecure) teenagers and warping views of masculinity in ways that are silly, anachronistic, and often sexist and anti-social.
Now, as if anyone cares, here’s my personal view of masculinity. If you want to take it with a grain of salt because I’m young, so be it. However, I think it’s a better alternative than the popular view that often pervades the fitness industry.
1. A man takes care of his responsibilities and honors his promises and commitments.
2. A man values well-rounded development. Physical development should not come at the expense of mental, social, and emotional development.
3. A man is not a jerk to people and does not feel the need to belittle them because he realizes his value as an individual is not enhanced by the attempt to denigrate someone else.
4. A man is aware of his abilities and his weaknesses. He works to improve in areas where he is lacking, but is willing to ask for help when a situation arises that he is unprepared for.