As you may know it’s been a lengthy, busy couple weeks for the Brant clan. To coincide with it, I found my trainer at the gym has less and less time to devote to me. It’s funny to make that realization that, you know … the world revolves around everyone else too.

He’s started this one or two month long program for runners. Or something. I noticed there was an additional fee so, despite the fact this program is scheduled at exactly the time of one of my weekly sessions, I passed. I may have mentioned this before: he has that dry sense of humor that many Canadians have. What I’ve found strange is that it hasn’t entered into the mythology of what a Canadian should be. Americans sometimes seem too quick to assume all Canadians are robotically friendly when, in truth, that’s not always the case.

But we’re guilty of it too. People from around here come back from a vacation in the South and marvel at the “southern hospitality” and how friendly everyone is. I’m too polite to remind them that the southern accent has a more – how should I say – “complimentary” or inviting sound to it, and it can trick anyone. Unless you’ve lived there a couple years.

So I asked the trainer how the running program was progressing the other night and he said it seemed his students were more at an elementary level than he was anticipating, but he wasn’t complaining. Then, the punchline: “Everyone was asking about you.”

Trust me, y’all. They weren’t.

It’s great that I’m getting back into my old routine at the gym, for a few reasons. One, I’ve been overloading my mom (and myself) with indulgences this past week, because her birthday was on Friday and if that woman has taught me anything, it’s that the best way to alleviate stress – at least in the short term – is to eat something really, really bad.

The second reason is that I’ve apparently missed looking at all those menz. I didn’t entirely realize it until I got back there this week. I turned into Rasputia from the movie Norbit. Every time I looked at someone I uncontrollably followed it up with a “How YOU durrin?”

Not that the initial delights of a few months ago – when I first became a member – are as plentiful. As with any place one frequents, it takes a while to figure out who the regulars are, and once you figure that out, you’d might as well settle in. And I sort of have. But when you live in a world where there is no great collection of gays – like I do – you settle for the gym.

And the most important reason to get fit now is: the American Gladiators show is back on.

That show – let me tell you, even though I’m positive you already know – is the gayest show on television. Sorry, Logo. Sorry, Bravo. Sorry, my Canadian OutTV. “American Gladiators” on NBC is way gay.

My instinct, as an indigenous fellow, is to lust insanely over that hot ethnic looking Toa, but I’m troubled by all those tattoos. Perhaps I’m too much of a planner, but I just don’t want to wake up beside someone twenty years from now – after that tight steroidal bod has come to realize it’s no longer tight – and find all those tattoos have fallen or faded into an inky mess on my lover’s back. And arms. And legs. And neck.

Oh, and it seems he doesn’t realize how unacceptably not gay it is when he opens his mouth and stares maniacally at the camera. Not gay, Toa. Don’t forget who your real fans are.

One dude was running through that event they call the Gauntlet last week. You know. The one where they have to run about a hundred feet, straight, but those big hunky gladiator menz are all in the way with their spongy Nerf-y looking tools. So this guy was running through it all last week and, when he got halfway through, I found myself wondering at what point I would just hunker down and wait for them all to pile on top of me.

Or when they have to put those little balls into the baskets while the big hunky gladiator menz are tackling them? They put the camera right up in those gladiator faces – just like the viewer at home is the contestant – and I think to myself, “I just want to touch that bod so bad. Pisson the ball and the basket! Can’t we just cut to commercial for a minute or two so we all can, you know, snuggle or at least let me climb up on you and perch myself … well, anywhere about you?”

You know, just to prove this whole game is nothing personal?

Of course, I’m thrown back into the real world when it comes time for the female contestants. Are you as literally afraid of Hellga as I am?  I get all excited when she shows up, though, just at the sheer delight of witnessing a sort of David and Goliath battle play out. Even when the referee asks “Is the gladiator ready?” she doesn’t quickly throw out a “Ready!” like everyone else. It’s like she doesn’t have time for two syllables, so she blasts out a “RED” immediately followed by a near-silent “ee” at the end. That alone is intimidating.

And I’m just sitting at home watching.

THAT’S why we all need to hit the gym. So we can be prepared for the Hellga’s of the world when they come along, and perhaps warn our own personal Toa’s of the potential long-term dangers of excessive tattooage.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

When I was 14 years old, I surreptitiously made my way through the stacks in the local library until I came to the Psychology section. One after one, I took down the books whose titles I thought would provide an answer, went to the table of contents and, if there were any, I flipped to the pictures.

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James Mai

Many of us have made resolutions and pledged ourselves to transforming some aspect, or aspects, of our lives. For some, these resolutions will involve career, budget, home ownership, etc., but for a LOT of us, they will involve various health, exercise and fitness goals.

Often, these resolutions are vague, like “lose weight” or “exercise more”, and way too often they begin with a gym contract and end with Netflix and a bag of takeout. Getting specific can help in holding yourself accountable for these commitments, though. So we thought it might be interesting to talk with a local gay trainer, James Mai, about his fitness journey, his work as a trainer and how he keeps himself motivated, and get some of his suggestions for carrying through on this year’s fitness resolutions!

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