I must remember I’m my biggest critic in the progress I am making at the gym, but what do I see when I look in this mirror? I see muscles in my legs and a flattened stomach. I see a bright red face with sweat beneath my eyes, dripping down my forehead, onto my neck and chest. To me this is absolute proof that there is some beauty attached to exercising.
I head to the gym again this morning and I am welcomed with a damp sweat smell, although really unwelcoming, it actually reminds me I am here to work. I walk into the bathroom. I am hit with a mountain of smells, shampoos, toilet sprays, perfumes and damp sweat. I feel overwhelmingly sick and need to get out of there. As soon as I walk out, I am greeted with one of my favourite songs blearing on the speakers – it seems the music is louder than usual today which motivates me to walk faster to the piece of equipment I want. Perfection – aspirations – a valid aspect of the aesthetics of exercising. I agree, sometimes this can be taken to the extreme, but in my case, perfection will be achieving my greatest goal: Bikini by Summer. Some may say this is artificial or self-absorbed, but for someone who has never felt comfortable with doing so, I completely disagree.
“Beauty and health go hand in hand. The finest cosmetics in the world cannot disguise the effects of poor nutrition, lack of sleep, and exercise or too much stress. Beauty comes from within.” (Bakhru, 2007, p. 134). If I consider beauty in this context, the type of beauty that is associated with going to the gym is purely selfish and can be seen as vanity. I agree with this to some extent as it is very much a very personal journey but there are elements to exercising and shaping an individual’s body that is aesthetically pleasing, to say the least.
Bakhru, H. (2007). A handbook of natural beauty. Mumbai: Jaico Publishing House.