500+ Challenge


Push-ups – can’t beat them.

Friday after school, Leo and Chris arrived back with their new AfAm friends Theo and Errol in tow. ‘We’re going to all do 500 push-ups – at least, Dad’, announces Leo, ‘Can you come and check they’re all good?’

Oh. I was sitting at the kitchen table (happily shirtless and barefoot, I admit) working on lesson plans for some of our gymnast boys. Dave had collected Jaymee straight from school and taken her off to her acrobatic gym class and his own two-hour group coaching session… so I was at a kind of loose end.

All four boys arrived shirtless, and Leo and Chris barefoot too, setting the style for how we train here! And so off to the cabin we went.

Leo doesn’t call the cabin ‘The Sweat Room’ for nothing. Temperature here still in the eighties in the afternoon…


So shorts is the most anyone ever wears in there, and mostly its less. Our two stripped off completely (I group Chris as ‘ours’ although he isn’t, but he practically lives here and his dad trains here as well!), the visitors retaining underwear (for a while).

‘Gotta be nipples right down on the floor, then full arm stretch!’ announces Chris. ‘We’ll go together, Dad, you count it, OK?’ adds Leo. And they’re off. Sets of 20 to start with, dropping to tens later. Smallest possible break between sets.

The visiting boys are swimmers and have that sleek build – although one has a bit of a podgy stomach. They’re in the school swim team, so I imagine they do exercises like this…


Swimmers train for endurance, as well as for shoulder flexibility and strength for those crawls and butterfly strokes, and Theo and Errol did really well. Leo and Chris train themselves every single day, so I knew they would make 500 easily – we regularly have these kind of challenges in Ron’s private gym – and the new lads kept up the pace with them until they started flagging around 350. Sportingly, Leo and Chris slowed down the pace, and the new lads made it to around 450. Sweat streaming on all four of them, and remaining clothing long since flung aside.

Here’s a guy who has been on the running machine – look how the sweat streaming off him emphasises his muscle definition in the photo!…


A heady atmosphere, then, in our cabin – a very male odour of armpits and whatnot somehow seems just right when you’re training hard!. After passing 450, Leo and Chris were doing tens and then turning to give a bit of a boost to their friends, just a tiny lift under the shoulders. Not enough to make them feel they were cheating, but just enough to make sure they would get to 500 and not feel themselves failures. We call that sportsmanship.

Sweat dripping off their nipples and a puddle where each chest had been repeatedly touching the floor. And a sweaty group hug and a cheer when it was all over. Leo and Chris thoughtfully resisted the temptation to do more, just to show off.


All boys in our experience want to do well physically, and to be able to do as much as their friends do. Comparisons – like in those three guys above, are inevitable. ‘Who’s got the biggest…?’ You know how it goes, I’m sure. Our culture is, whoever has the biggest – or does the best in whatever they are engaged in – encourages the rest to match up to him, helping them do extra weights and so on.

They went on to ab crunches after that. Sweatier than ever!


There’s more than one way of checking out the abs!…


And, to answer your next question… yes I did it all with them. I may be in mid 30s now and headed for the darker ages, but one has to maintain standards!


After all that, they lay down in a row in the secluded private yard behind the cabin, and got hosed down by me with our ‘private shower’ – a spray nozzle on the end of the cold water supply. Well – they go river swimming, so cold water isn’t too much of a shock, and the first dose is warmer anyway with the hose having lain on the ground in the sun…


So there we are. A somewhat better Friday evening than we might have had if we had been suffering the full force of storm ‘Matthew’.

And so two more lifters/wrestlers join the increasing ‘crew’ of younger athletes, slowly taking over from us ‘oldies’. No sign of acrobatics in Theo and Errol as yet, but who knows…

…and, meanwhile, the established five of them – Leo/Chris/Jude/Ryan/Tjark, which includes two on the High School wrestle team and one bodybuilder as well as Leo and Chris, have issued a challenge to the oldies for a wrestle-fest which is going to take place in Ron’s gym this afternoon. That’s Dave and I, Chris’s dad Steve, plus Zach and Pete to make up the numbers (certain other dads are not sporty at all). Matches by random lottery, oil in large amounts…


Speaking as a gay guy, an oiled body can look (and feel) really kewl… and is a device frequently employed by physique photographers as well…


…another way of emphasising the cut of the abs…


…that’s either oil or he’s very sweaty on his bed…

New Readers Start Here

Yes, I’m a gay dad (plus acrobatic/gymnastics coach) and my partner Dave is also a gay dad with a beautiful daughter called Jaymee. It’ll all make sense if you can bring yourself to buy a couple of books:

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

And so, when we stop being dads and are just on our own or with our special gay friends, Dave and I live out our other parallel lives together (which musn’t and doesn’t spill over into our relationships with our own kids and those we help to train!).


I stupidly titled the three books ‘Living the Dream’, which is sooooooooo ‘hackneyed’ a cliché… but what’s done is done! And it wasn’t all plain sailing anyway… or no! Especially ‘Against All Odds’.

Now back to General Fitness Pictures to make up the usual sort of number for a post.




By the way, why not set yourself a little fitness challenge? Not 500 – just do ten more of something than you normally do (OK, that may be zero, I know!) – and then next day ten more than that… before you know it, your body will be thanking you for sharpening it up.



Now come on, no need to look at us like that…


And the big finish! More oil I fancy…






About tony

Born Northampton UK
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