Shirtless Gym


When I first came to Oak Ridge, Dave, his brother Pete and Pete’s partner Ivo quickly got me an introduction to very special gym. In many gyms, guys are obliged to wear a shirt or vest at all times. In this gym, tops are forbidden!


In fact, the most anyone ever wears is shorts. Short shorts or Speedos. And, most of the time, nothing. For this is a gym for the guys. Guys who are seriously dedicated to doing weights for fitness, or bodybuilding, or wrestling, or endurance (pitting themselves against nails and glass and stuff like that), or acrobatics… or all the lot! Like us.

It’s not a gym anyone can join. The owner has to want you to join. You get ‘tested out’ and then there is an initiation. Brutally challenging but, my goodness, you feel proud of yourself after! Dave and I were ‘done’ together: you can read all about it – as it was done twelve years ago – here.

Chad, the owner, expects to see you for at least eight hours a week. He expects to see effort. And improvement.


He expects to see guys get built:

built built built!

…and to stay flexible (especially for acrobats!):


…whilst keeping strong:

Z (1)

Given that guys mostly like to train naked, there is a minimum age but, on weekday afternoons after school comes out, it’s ‘keep your shorts on guys’ whilst selected youngsters get a chance to use the equipment (working under careful supervision to ensure that what they do is consistent with their growing bodies):

young success

My son Leo and his best mate Chris are amongst the chosen few: Chris older brother is an 18yo bodybuilder and he’s in there as a full member.

As gay guys, this environment is a sort of ‘heaven’ with all those fantastic bodies on view, challenging the muscles…


…the sweat pouring…


Interestingly, the membership presently includes six girls. They are allowed a bikini top, but mostly don’t bother. Two of them are lesbians – Leo’s mum and her partner, formidable Amazons (again, see my first book)… for how we came together to produce my amazing son (and, indeed, Dave’s amazing daughter), look into book 2!

So we do our acrobatics and our weights. We wrestle… yeah, even with those lesbians! They’re brutal. But we really enjoy wrestling with the other guys…

tumblr_n3b4zvlGS11tssnbmo1_500…often there can be five or six bouts going on simultaneously on the mats. Then the oil comes out – that’s really sensual – or the wet pit… and gay guys often mark the end of a bout with some ‘relaxation’ – a particular reason for keeping the young-uns out of the place most of the time.

We really feel privileged to have access to such a place and, perhaps more remarkably, two of our oldest and best friends actually have an apartment there, so we often overnight after heavy sessions. Chad also lives ‘over the shop’ and, in fact, does most of his own training in the wee small hours.

I can tell you, after such intense physical activity, the showers can be very welcome..


And of course, we are in our own training cabin every day as well! Pete and Ivo are early birds and so that usually gets going around 5.30am, especially in the summer months when it is light early.

I’m sometimes asked which part of another guy I usually find the most attractive. Here’s the answer: it has to be something to do with those Pheromones


Snuggled up against my adorable Dave, I wake in the morning to that beautiful scent… OK, weird. I know…


So, as we ponder how long we shall be able to keep up this intense physical lifestyle…

Ashley and Dice

…it perhaps only remains for me to say ‘join the physical club and stay in great shape’ – for as long as you can! It is never too late to decide to take up fitness activities (although if you’ve laid off for years, do consult your doctor before easing yourself back into it)! One of our good mates in the club is approaching 70 and his body looks about 40! – max. You are only as old as you feel!


TwoDumbbellsPick up a dumbbell and feel good about yourself! And the sunbathing season is coming right along…


A little hard work plus a light tan… and this’ll be you!




About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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