Leslie Hooper

Body Bullying Among Men

In an industry where encouragement of self-improvement should take top priority, why do men seem so content on bashing one another’s physiques online?

Why is the message we’re constantly sending to our peers, “you’re not good enough”?

I’ve been guilty of the “Do you even lift?” schtick in the past, but the more I think about it, the more I’ve come to accept that it’s not just jocular locker room talk — that, perhaps, from out an outsider’s perspective, we may actually be turning people off from going to the gym due the culture being perpetuated online

Now, if you’ve ever spent a significant amount of time in the gym, then you understand that most people there are very friendly, supportive, and eager to help. The online circle is not an accurate representation of what these individuals should come to expect in an actual gym environment.

In fourteen years of working out in gyms, I’ve never once seen a guy yell, “DO YOU EVEN LIFT?” to another gym bro. I’ve also never seen people in the gym point and laugh at how much weight you’re lifting.

Instead, you harness your need to thump on your chest and loudly claim your “alpha” status for when you’re in the comfort of your own home and can bang away on your keyboard with your callused hands.

Photography by Ryan McGuire
Photography by Ryan McGuire

Visit any newbs Instagram page or YouTube channel and the comments section is completely littered with pithy thoughts about the posters shitty physique or the pathetic amount of weight being lifted.

What’s with this bullying mentality, anyway?

It’s not as if anyone who’s new to training will have a physique that resembles someone who has dedicated years spent under the bar.

Any bro with a solid musculature foundation understands that you have to nail your workouts and nutrition consistently for YEARS before any stranger on the street will be able to identify your fully-clothed physique as belonging to someone who lifts.

Physiques that stand out in a crowd are not built overnight, so why are you shitting on the new guys instead of encouraging them to keep going? If anyone knows what it takes, it’s you.

For those individuals who are already feeling insecure or intimidated about stepping foot in the gym, you are their first impression. Most people will do their homework online before they’ll ever work up the courage to get a membership at their local box gym.

Are you doing your part to welcome them with open arms or are you one of the individuals who takes the first opportunity to let them know how big of a dick you are?

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