Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Bigorexia

So I have finally experienced my first real workout injury. It seems last week I tore my left bicep doing upright rows with a straight barbell instead of a curved one (see . . . straight is just NOT the way to go!). So now I can’t lift anything heavier than 10 pounds for the next six weeks, and I have to go to physical therapy 3 times a week for the next 4 weeks. Not only can I not work out during the month of August (when I have a trip to the beach and a weekend in Provincetown scheduled), but this pushes back my move to Chicago by another two weeks.

Am I complaining? You bet’cha!

Lifting weights is my way of relaxing and relieving stress (some may argue that I don’t lift enough). If more than a few days go by, say 4 or 5, and I have not been to the gym, my body is overcome by, well… almost a sense of panic. I actually have an irrational fear of being smaller. It’s hard to explain. But I liken it to what happens to your body if you don’t eat anything for a long time: your body thinks it is starving so it starts to store fat for survival. I think my body, or at least my brain, does the same thing if I don’t work out for a few days – it goes into some kind of survival mode (which I guess would leave me with a fat head?).

Like many gay men, I believe I have a case of undiagnosed psychosomatic muscle dysmorphia: I have no idea how big I really am (the nickname for it is "big-orexia"). At this writing, I am 5’11” and weigh about 235lbs. In my mind, when I think of myself, I think of me weighing about 180lbs. I always picture myself being much smaller. So I am sometimes thrown when people comment on my size or how big my arms are. And I am always stupefied when I see myself in a picture with someone I consider average size and I look to be two times larger than he.

All this aside, I now cannot help my roommate move our belongings 1/3 way across the country. Nor can I help other friends of mine who are moving (I am always sought out – “Hey, let’s call Dop, he can lift it!”), which makes me sad. I like being there for people. And I like working out. Next time I hit a gym will be in Chicago, I guess. So look out, all you muscle-bunnies at Cheetah – I’ll be like a man who hasn’t had sex in weeks (oh wait, that actually is me). I’ll be like a man who hasn’t eaten in days!

Am I done complaining? For now . . .