Welcome to the Blog!

Scroll down for the latest posts!

sticky-2-readHowever, before you do:

This blog is for guys who admire other guys who put real effort into their physical development. It is NOT exclusively gay, but hopefully you will be gay-friendly.

tumblr_neimn2tEkV1qffcrao3_500The rules are simple:

  1. Make an effort to improve your own fitness this year (you’re NEVER too old);
  2. Enjoy the pictures (and comment please on what you see, and feel free to ‘FOLLOW’);
  3. Buy a book (preferably, all of them) to support the continuation of the blog!

The books (print and e-versions available) are about finding gay love, developing ourselves as acrobats, starting a family (yeah, I’m a gay dad and enormously proud of my teenage son!!), going on tour, meeting difficulties ‘head-on’ (they become a bit of a thriller as well). sticky-1-readLinks from all posts from September 2014 onwards will lead you to more information and potential purchase – they are in almost every post and either through clicking on images of the covers, or on the separate links when given!! And, as the image on the right clearly shows, you can follow all of these rules at one go…

The blog is essentially G-rated; the books get a little explicit from time to time about gay guys doing what gay guys do – you don’t have to be gay to enjoy them – just be gay-friendly. 

And now, as they used to say on the old TV game shows: “Come on Down!”⇓

*** Many pictures will enlarge if you click on them ***

 

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Back Where we Belong

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Enough of these recent posts about LGBT, ‘inbetweeners’, homophobic and homophilic churches (I just made that word up, but it should mean ‘supportive of gays’)… today it’s just BACK TO BASICS, celebrating our love of fitness training and focussing on the other side of the body which gets far less photographed – the back.

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back development

Compare those rhomboids (above) with the first picture, where the lats dominate. All down to the routines used… more rhomboids here:

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…while Billy here displays the whole repertoire:

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That’s a superb exercise, provided you don’t cheat it by leaning back, which he is, a bit. Ideally you then turn around and pull down again behind the neck for three more sets!

Where you can see the cleavage of the muscle ends, as in this next guy’s medial deltoids (above the bicep), you know that your routine has really delivered:

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The first part...

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Rowing is good too:

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The second part...

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A ‘sideways’ look at the back now:

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A more slender, but very well developed example: a gymnast or tumbler, I think, whose body has developed through his sport rather than with weights:

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A different sort of pose…

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The end result: “check me out!”

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Introducing ‘Xem’ at The University of Tennessee

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Relationships. Gender equality. Gender uncertainty. I wrote quite recently about the high number of young people who admitted in a survey (in the UK) to a degree of uncertainty about their sexual preferences… ‘The Inbetweeners’. Hot on its heels comes some news from The University of Tennessee which you really couldn’t make up if you tried. PC gone nuts…

According to Donna Braquet, director of the University’s ‘Pride Centre’, ‘he’ or ‘she’ may prefer to be thought of as ‘non-binary’ – as she (?) puts it, ‘neither male nor female’. and wish to ‘cast off the heavy burden of traditional labels’..instead of ‘she/her/hers’ or ‘he/him/his’, students and staff are therefore invited to refer to new students as ‘ze/zir/zirs’ or, in the plural, ‘xe/xem/xir’.

I’m rather delighted to report that one of our State Congressmen has commented “We have paid people a lot of money to sit around and come up with this nonsense. It makes me kind of mad.”

This woman (I assume that Donna is a ‘ze’) is just down the road from us, in Knoxville! Arrrgh! “Big Orange, Big Ideas” is the motto. Daft ideas, if you ask me.

It makes me kind of laugh, to be honest, and puts me in mind of another little story about ‘the use of English’…

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The first part...The second part...Cover 3 ThumbBetter keep quiet about my roots, then, or I’ll get sent home. Here’s a little unsubtle reminder about my use of English, and then we’ll move on to the customary pictures of young men who’ve been putting in the effort to get fit!

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A well-lit sultry sheen on a chiselled body, to finish for today:

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Deja Vu?

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Fifteen years ago, I walked into our training cabin at the top of our yard for the first time. It wasn’t ‘our’ yard at that point, but “Dave’s dad’s” yard. Ivo and Pete (Dave’s brother) were in residence already and sweating through their workouts when I arrived (see ‘Loving the Boy’): this quickly led to some intensive work by those two on ‘sorting out’ the faults in my balancing and acrobatics. And, of course, to Dave and I becoming an ‘item’.

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Fifteen years later, my 13yo acrobat son Leo walks into the training cabin along with Dave’s daughter and makes adverse comments about the body positions and shapes I’m holding while practicing with Pete and Ivo for some new routines to put into our forthcoming ‘circus’ stint.

And he’s right.

Oh dear. Maybe it is time to give up and do something sensible, and leave the acrobatic thing to the next generation. Here’s one of our major role models, Ed Upcott, from the UK, current aged 23 and probably at the peak of his acrobatic career:

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I can add about ten years to his age… you need to keep the right combination of muscle and flexibility, and that gets harder as you get older.

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We do still very much enjoy the training (if not the criticism!) which, for us, is as much in the weights gym as doing tumbling and balance.

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And, of course, outdoors too:

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Hmmm. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves of the rules sometimes though, after returning home exhausted from several hours of coaching at the gymnastics centre:

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We didn’t start this acrobatic nonsense seriously when we were Leo’s age: but about 4 years older. Not that we hadn’t enjoyed gymnastics generally. The first three years or so of sampling performance and touring are covered in The Power of Love and Against All Oddsat the end of the final book we took off to Eastern Europe for a while to avoid potential trouble arising out of our friend Zach’s personal background, but our enthusiasm for being ‘on the road’ has diminished year on year ever since. Or at least mine has.

A number of people have commented here on the blog or privately to gymacrobat@gmail.com  that it all seems ‘too idyllic’ – actually it’s far from it! There are many, many downsides to following the ‘showman’s’ lifestyle and I would think very hard indeed before recommending it to anyone.

OK, some more pictures celebrating fitness: you can keep in good shape to pretty much any age, even if you are late starter to fitness:

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So – the final strapline is ‘work that body’ and stay/get fit – you don’t have to worry about the fine detail if you’re not a performer (and you don’t have to take cheek from the kids either!). Anything/everything you do in that direction can only be a benefit to your health and life – so get stuck in!

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LGTB – A Different Christian View

charlotte 2Hot on the heels of my rant about the ‘Grace’ church in Seattle and its ferociously homophobic pastor and his wife comes news of a church much closer to us here, in North Carolina, which stands up to be counted for its welcoming of gays n’all (as they say around here) – and recently found itself the victim of a homophobic graffiti artist as a result. Assuming that they are all worshipping the same God, one of them must have got it wrong…?

We would say, ‘thank God for the folks of Wedgewood Church, Charlotte’ for their response to the graffiti (above left and below)…

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…was to re-paint the doors of their church in the welcoming colours of Gay Pride…

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The pastor, Rev. Chris Ayers, said the paint job ‘…is just one more example of how Wedgewood aims to “let people know “that there are churches and Christians out there who believe that sexual orientation and gender identity are not sins, but great gifts from God,” as well as “celebrate the tremendous courage for those who came out so long ago and set the stage for the wonderful things that have happened.”‘

As it happens, one of the issues in my next book, Let the Future Find Me is the different views on homosexuality in different factions of the native American community. Putting it like that, it sounds dreadfully boring, but I promise you that – when it eventually gets published – it’s anything but… watch this space!

Apparently, the graffiti at Wedgewood Church was less aimed directly at the church than at the LGTB communities directly, although some time ago someone did reorganise the letters of the sign out front to read ‘A Lesbo church’.

00_09_20So, for remainder of this post (the ‘colour supplement’!), I think that we can safely be a little bit gay and admire the male form and what it can be…

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As we seem to be featuring biceps this far, a couple of close-ups…

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…and a close-up of a couple…

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OK, moving on…! Some groups now:

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…whenever four fit your men are gathered together, there’s scope for some fun and games…

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…or just three…

young acrobats!

Five in the woods, at ease…

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The more, the merrier…

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Not entirely sure what that Danish group are doing, but one or two of those bodies could do with a little ‘fine tuning’ in the weight room I think!

tumblr_ng2bqxCQ8t1tytx4ao1_500Two posts in a row about churches – oh dear. Some might fear that I am becoming religious! Well, I am , but not in that way. I’m a firm believer in the power of the gym, where ‘Miracles DON’T Happen’ – those body shapes which we admire don’t happen by themselves. See left!

Then see below for some good reads about our gay life and times (that do not involve churchgoing but very much do involve gym-going!).

Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

 

 

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By the ‘Grace’ of God…

453410591That ‘wonderful’ God-fearing  ‘compassionate’ community in Seattle known as the Grace Church, renowned for the anti-gay activities of its pastor and his wife, Ryan and Katy Faust, has apparently launched a board game entitled ‘Chase the Homos Around the World’. Proceeds from the sale of the game will allegedly assist the Fausts to travel around the world spewing their hate for LGBT people everywhere. it seems that the game is designed to be played by five Christian bigots and one unlucky homosexual (the pink piece on the board, naturally). Every square on the board contains an ‘appropriate’ biblical quotation: the centre of the board is ‘Heaven’ from where the other players commence their pursuit. Naturally, the homo player is in a lose-lose situation and has to admit their ‘sin’ and be baptised into Christ’s church…

Oh, lordy!

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Well, I was baptised and so was Dave. Not our particular choice, obviously, at a seriously young age, but it didn’t prevent either of us being homosexual. Nor did it prevent us having a loving relationship with each other and nor, should we have wanted it, with Christ/God…

Thanks to blogger ‘The Pink Agendist’ for alerting me to this latest venom from Washington State. I’ve been there several times and most folks appear quite normal and accepting! And this hot on the tail of news from Louisiana that the KKK are out to kill the gays…

I’ll tell you one thing: ‘God strikes back’! Apparently a piece of Louisiana the size of a football field is being washed out to sea every hour. Here’s hoping that’s KKK territory and not the homes of poor innocent God-fearing folks…

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‘…What? I’m ranting again? All right, I’ll stop…’

The first part...The second part...Cover 3 ThumbDoubt that the Grace church would offer these on a ‘bring-and-buy’ fundraising stall! Tales of gay falling in love, gay groups enjoying their sports and pleasures, going on a circus tour together and getting into a spot of bother… with the benefit of hindsight, falling into the clutches of the Grace church would probably have been a fate far worse…

‘…what, I’m still ranting? OK, enough is enough then…’

Click on the covers or consult Amazon for the e-versions!

Some more images which, when placed in our gay context of admiring the male form, would certainly offend certain people in Seattle!

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oiled Enzo Carini

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A good sweat, there!

I seem to have gone all ‘black and white’. Never mind: two for the price of one here:

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A ‘bars boy’ in an intense front planche:

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A final message from our ‘sponsor’, to gays everywhere…

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Indeed. Should God exist, he/she/it made me gay, found me love, gave me freedom and made me happy. RESULT!!

Nice try, Mr and Mrs Faust, but I think it’s game, set and match to the LGTB fraternity!

 

 

 

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Result!!

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Yes, that is a pretty good result, but that wasn’t quite what I meant. I mean that we have persuaded our friends Leon and Dane to venture out on the circus circuit for four weeks as part of our ‘troupe’. They last did that 12 years ago, when the tour ended in disarray (Against All Oddsbut they sure have maintained their fitness like the rest of us, and can do all the strength moves (nails and stuff) as well as making sound bases for balance work. Phew! That’ll give some of the others a bit of a break.

I was pretty confident that they would agree, or I wouldn’t have mentioned it in the last post. Frankly, I think that we have collectively bitten off more than we can chew with these circus contracts, when you take into consideration all the work that four of us are committed to at the gymnastics center plus the fact that Karen has a trucking job as well, in theory anyway! And there’s the kids to consider (they’ll do some shows once in a while – twice if we let them! – but having parents around would be good). But maybe we have to say ‘enough is enough’, although Ethan and Jack seem never to tire of doing shows and touring and I think those two will just go on for ever.

So, a couple of weekends of intensive rehearsing are coming up! Be nice if we could do it on the beach like these two, but Tennessee kind of misses out on beaches…

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…and plenty of this for all of us too, of course…

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tumblr_na5qwdkAHb1rzmk49o1_1280Growing tired of touring doesn’t, of course, mean we are tiring of doing all the things we have always loved to do! The ten guys referred to in the Five-A-Side post remain as committed to fitness through weights, acrobatics and so on as we have ever been – and as ten committed gay guys sworn to stay ‘clean’ and just for the group, we are as relentless in keeping that promise as we are with the weights and stuff!

That all developed quite quickly shortly after Dave and I came to the US, and is documented in Loving the Boy and The Power of Love.

Right! So more time to teach the things we love to do in the future, in a slightly less frantic way, will be great. Maybe more time for writing, even. Who knows.

Let’s celebrate fitness some more, then: young lads showing off the muscles that gymnastics has built for them…

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Five older lads strutting their stuff:

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Turkish wrestler boys:

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Baristas…

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note the elbow straps

Time spent exercising – whatever you do – is never wasted!

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You’re sure to be proud of the results!

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Five-a-Side Games

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Well, there’s rather more than 5-a-side in that ‘scrum’, but it’s the best ‘(ir)relevant’ opening picture I can find!

Got rid of the kids… Son Leo is sleeping over with his new Dutch friend Tjark – Leo is fascinated by Tjark’s contortion abilities and Tjark by Leo’s balancing.. so there’s a fun weekend in the making! And I guess that the rest of their ‘gang’ will get involved too. Jaymee is week-ending in Knoxville with one of her acrobatic friends, so the coast is clear!

That’s ‘clear’ for the current resident three gay guys (Pete, Ivo and I), joined I’m happy to say by Leon and Dane over from Lexington for a weekend of shared weights, wrestling and FUN… of the sort that gay guys with guaranteed ‘clean’ and trusted friends can enjoy.

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Down south, my partner Dave is similarly endowed with four others – but he has those all the time as they are all cooped up in our tour bus with the circus. So he’s with the ‘away side’… not so much weights for them, but more of this to keep in training…

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Overall, we have a potential 8 guys and 2 girls, plus the kids out of school time, with which to keep our circus commitment fulfilled. But we are struggling also to hold down teaching commitments at the gymnastics centre here, and we’re hoping to persuade Leon and Dane, who are due a long “vacation” – to have another go – they toured and joined in some of the routines once before (see ‘Against All Odds’) when it all ended badly, but that should be behind us. They don’t have the balance capabilities but they do have strength

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– able to support others and to readily take to the beds of nails and glass and that stuff. And well able to make effective combinations with slightly simpler moves like these…

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Dane just finished a large construction project, and Leon says he is due at least eight weeks leave from his bus company after taking none for about two years. So we hope they could be persuaded… this far in, they haven’t said no!

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That’s a Dane ‘look-alike’ – built to last! Let’s take in a few other similar bodies now:

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stable stretch

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tumblr_mfmo1cNWBX1r9o4lno1_1280Mmmm. Can’t beat keeping fit, really.

Here’s a reminder of all three currently-published books!

e-versions are available as well as paperback copies, from Amazon and other obvious outlets.

The first part...The second part...Cover 3 Thumb

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Meet the ‘Inbetweeners’

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I’ve stolen the title of today’s post from London’s ‘The Times’ newspaper of today’s date, August 18th… I devour the on-line version avidly for sensible news of home (UK) which it is impossible to get from US news media.

The post about the recently-arrived new-gay-kid-on-the block (“Hey Jude”) caused a flurry of e-mail comments, ranging from “Good for him” for being so open in a group of ‘unknown’ peers at the High School to “He’d better be careful in that Bible Belt” to a thought that the until-recently homophobic father of Leo’s mate Ryan might seek to withdraw his son from the school locker-room! I hope we’re through that one, but all the points are valid. And a week after it was pointed out to me that the KKK are leafleting in Louisiana for all gays to be killed off “…to prevent HIV/AIDS…” (thanks for that one, Ian), the most extraordinary statistics emerge from a survey of British youth.

In a YouGov survey (that’s the statistics arm of the British government at work), 49% of 18-24yos defined themselves as exclusively heterosexual; 6% as exclusively gay, and the remaining 45% as BETWEEN THE TWO.

There were no declared narcissists…

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…nor Oedipus types!

The percentage of “effectively bisexual” falls off from that astonishing 45% as the age range surveyed increases… down to 7% in the over 60s.

So why is the profile changing in such an unexpected way? It cannot all be down to Miley Cyrus and Cara Delevigne… And another interesting fact is that the same 18-24 age group when asked to define their sexuality in the last UK official census (a much more formal affair with forms filled in by ‘The Head of the Household’), only 2.6% defined themselves as gay rather than this 6%. So there may be biases in the way the question is asked, or who asks it, or that fact that you are identified by name in the census… perhaps determining how honest the respondents feel able to be… maybe they haven’t come out to their families, for example.

I had always felt that around 7% of the population being profoundly gay was about right…

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…with the largest proportion thereof being men…

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…and our extensive household is obviously massively atypical, with four gay men, two gay women and two straight kids under one roof.

But it’s the ‘inbetweeners’ that fascinate me… the apparent bisexuals. Is it just curiosity? Is it ‘don’t know yet – haven’t decided‘? Is it ‘I’ll try it both ways then decide’? Is the young generation just more honest with themselves, and with others, about their preferences? And has there been a genuine change, through time? All fascinating, and I can’t answer those questions. Neither does the newspaper article!

Dave and I? Always been gay…

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…but when those two girls asked us with such emotion to be the fathers of their kids, we didn’t resort to AI – we managed to do it the conventional way, supporting each other and with help (it has to be said) from gay friends – my first book Living the Dream will explain.

And now – if philosophy is not the flavour of the day for you, fear not: here is the remedy – fit young men showing us what they’ve got and what they can do with it!

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OK, I squeezed in a plug for the first book already – here are the other two. Just in case…

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

All in all, our discovery of gay love, gay life and times, acrobatics and circus, some fun and some ‘not-such-fun’. e-versions as well as paperbacks are available from Amazon and other obvious outlets.

And, for today, we finish where we began – gay guys enjoying each other’s company:

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…well, more or less where we began. I don’t have any pictures expressing bisexuality – at least, I don’t think that I do!

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‘You Can’t Please All of the People’ – Ever!

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Methinks I ask too many questions. Because you get too many contradictory answers! In the last few posts I’ve tried to respond to issues raised (mainly by e-mail)…‘That grey writing is hard to read against a grey background’…OK, so I try a sort of salmon pink and get 50% success. ‘That’s much better -easier to see – good contrast…’ and ‘I can’t see that so easily…’ So I offer three more colours and get about equal amounts in favour of each.

‘You’re writing too much about ‘Me, me, me..” Indeed, perhaps I am but then, that’s effectively what this blog is about. According to my book publicist anyway! ‘You’re living in some sort of gay fitness Utopia – too good to be true’… well maybe I do make this little corner of Tennessee sound rather fun but in truth, life here is pretty ordinary. And life has had its downs as well as its ups. Out to work (coaching), home (weights cabin, to fight off the advancing years and to maintain some capability to do acrobatics when the occasion demands), try and finish another book (that’s writing, not reading). Slightly strange family situation, which has attracted some comments, but surely it cannot be unique? Haven’t other gay dad’s actually achieved that aim without artificial insemination? Just sucked their teeth and got on with it…?

And by now, with this little rant, I’ve probably breached another reader’s sensibilities. Already this week someone wrote ‘I can’t read what you write any more – goodbye’… either he objects to the things I say or can’t stand the salmon pink either. Didn’t make it clear except to say ‘I’m not just here for the pictures…’ Well, I don’t care if you are: we enjoy them so why shouldn’t anyone else?

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Like that guy, I feel I’m getting all tangled up in a knot (and, before you ask, no, I can’t get into that position any more!). Where are we going with this blog I wonder? Over 730 posts so far and all bar one still up there: 1,060,568 hits at the last count and between 100-200 per day (the record is 3055 – I know that’s not a lot by some standards, but this is bit of a niche market, after all.

8017548_wallyliftingweightsSo I guess that I’ll just plod on, writing whatever comes into my head and, when nothing does, return to the pictures… even if no-one else likes it, it gives me something to do when I’m not doing this.

That’s another thing – I get asked to help with weights programmes or fitness training for people I don’t know. Generally I resist, but I did prepare a very simple starter schedule for a guy who declared his age and general fitness level to me, and then never heard another word, good or bad. Maybe it killed him. Bad move…

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chest power

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And LOOK – no book adverts this post. I must be slipping.

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No Shortcuts!

no shortcuts!

This picture, sent to me by a Facebook friend, has a delicious irony. But first let me say that it might not be the driver’s fault – the level of the pavement does tend to rise up with road maintenance and re-surfacing, and they don’t change the height plates on the bridges. So we could give him the benefit of the doubt…

But it is the MESSAGE that rings true for us fitness dudes, isn’t it. Work put in = results! Whether it is working on muscle strength, flexibility, muscle size or acrobatic agilities, the equation holds true. No excuses! “I just don’t feel like it today.” We’ve all been there, done that. But the next day, you regret not having put in the work.

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Isn’t that a satisfied smile? Of course he’s proud of his physique – and he’s out there every day, I have no doubt. Just like this guy never misses gym practice…

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…and has the shoulder strength he needs to hold that planche.

Young Jaymee’s mum is a trucker when she’s not down with the circus alongside her partner Clare doing their body-burning and fakir thing. She enjoys it, and it brings in more useful cash. In fact, her employer is desperate for her return, and we are shortly going to see another ‘change-around’ in our team which is supporting the circus tour. In fact, Pete and Ivo, who had said ‘never again’ and immersed themselves in managing the gymnastics centre, have finally agreed to do a ‘shift’ and I am working with them on some new trio balance moves that we can include… yes, I’ve got to go back too…

…we’re also taking a new interest in what the ballet boys do, because there are some interesting positions in the images we see that we might make use of…

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…maybe looks a bit “cuddly” but then as a gay guy, I’m always willing to lay my head on the bare chest of another…!

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Here are some more random (non-ballet) images to awake that fitness gene!

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A “nature boy” here with a really nice handstand shape:

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…and a really nice “shape” at ease on the pool:

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The inevitable “double biceps” pose to show off…

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…although a “single” can be just as effective…

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And you don’t have to be in the gym to train with your family – like father, like son (a planche each):

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(Leo and I do that, and he’s pretty much strong enough for me to go on top of him! Um, we wouldn’t be wearing shirts, though, and we don’t have weird hair)

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And we do our thing outdoors whenever we can:

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Mass fitness from the Danes:

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And here’s young Harry, working on his chest:

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Maybe he needs to bulk up a bit, but he’s definitely doing all the right things:

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The muscle makes the “fun stuff” possible…

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Sweat brings POWER!

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…and don’t forget to drink plenty of water while your training!

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By the way, if the combination of gay guys getting together, fitness, circus and a bit of adventure appeals, look no further: e-versions are available!

Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

 

 

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