Like the teen guy on the bars there, showing off his shoulders, abs and chest development as a result of his workouts, I am watching my son Leo (just 13) steadily but definitely turning into a man. A lot of the time he’s still a kid but, when it comes to training – either his acrobatics with Jaymee or us, or his weights/strength with his mates Chris and Ryan – there is a fearsome dedication suggesting a commitment something beyond his years.
This has a lot to do, of course, with growing up with a dad who works as an acrobat and fitness trainer and a mum who is a part-time endurance artist – and all of our assorted mates who have given so much to helping Leo and Jaymee develop (Jaymee has similar parentage and has grown up with Leo as ‘brother and sister’ although they’re not actually related).
But they so much both want to excel, whether it be balance…
…or just slogging it out on the weights…
…well, in the boys’ case, anyway. Jaymee, after showing signs of tiring of being an acrobatic balancer, has taken a position as ‘top’ in a girls trio at the gymnastics center, with the Romanian coaches driving her forward rather than us, and it seems to have inspired her to renew an interest which we were afraid might flag. And, of course, having done a TV show with Leo just after Christmas might just have something to do with it – they currently have three bookings to repeat their routines – a private show for a huge birthday party, an ‘exhibition’ performance at the end of a big gymnastics competition whilst the scores are being evaluated, and (inexplicably) at a car showroom as part of some kind of promotion. All of which needs to be fitted in around school, of course, and means they need chauffeurs! Hey, but it’s all in a really good cause!
The boys, of course, are at the ‘I want to be ripped with big muscles’ stage, inspired to some extent by Chris’s big brother who, at 19, is a teen bodybuilding champion. But huge muscles with no skills or flexibility left are not in Leo’s interests, nor the others, who are both, slowly but steadily, developing their balance and acrobatic skills too. So the training is probably about right. Their dedication is ferocious, however: early morning sessions in our cabin, often starting even before Dave and I wake up and often with Chris’s dad in attendance, who is a little older than us but also enthused by the chance to improve his own fitness. Full involvement with every Phys Ed opportunity in school follows, including stuff with their friends in the lunch period, then back in the gym in the late afternoon or evening… often, too they set themselves challenges like ‘let’s all do 1000 sit-ups today’ – and they do, stuffing them in at every opportunity! And then there is a ‘Skype’ to Ollie in UK to report progress and get his news – he may be 4000 miles away and a bit younger, but he’s very much part of the ‘gang’!
And they so like checking each other out – not to compete to be the best, but to make sure all of them are making good progress!
…and checking themselves out – this is a nice shot to illustrate that:
Do I sound proud? Hope so, ‘cos I am! Leo hopefully will enjoy following a similar road to me, although in one respect, there will be a huge difference. I’m gay. He is girl-obsessed and has been introducing new girls both to us and to the mess that constitutes his room at a huge turnover rate. But now, something new. The girl acrobat who is working as ‘middle position’ to Jaymee’s ‘top’, although a little older than Leo, is his latest crush, and the feelings seem to be reciprocated. So now he wants to be at the gymnastics centre when the trio trains – not to support Jaymee (although he does) but to spend time watching Carla (or ‘Karla’ as she seems to want to spell it, unwittingly becoming the Russian spy controller a la John Le Carre, for those who read such books!). Even more things for him to fit in – somehow, homework assignments get fitted in as well, though goodness knows quite how – and then, at the end of the day, he crashes out. Suddenly and terminally!
I now break the habit of a lifetime of avoiding cats to offer two funny pictures found on tumblr recently, to illustrate that point and to please Dave, who still has a ‘cat thing’:
“Sweet”, huh, Dave? Syrup, anyways!
If you are in any way remotely interested in how we got into all this stuff from age about 17 on (and, as gays, managed to sire two kids along the way), then ‘read all about it’ here. E-books are available too. Just click on the covers for a link to more information.
And, with that, I now offer regulars and followers the usual diet of fitness inspiration – great guys with great bodies. Enjoy:
And, before I finish today, another ‘funny’ and hopefully an invitation you can’t refuse, even if someone else beats you to it!