WOW | Coffee Break

WHY DO MEN REALLY GO TO THE GYM

With an increasing interest in health and fitness, we find that going to gym has become a daily ritual for more and more men. Is it that they are genuinely more conscious about their fitness, is it the pursuit of the six pack, is it peer pressure and the more macho thing to do, or could it be that men are now increasingly having body image issues that is driving them to the fitness centres.
WOW asked six women from diverse backgrounds on what they think is the real reason why guys workout.

Text: Pabita Dahal
wow photo file © Ram Tandukar, Gokul Shrees

What do you think is the real reason why guys workout?

Today’s men are very conscious of their looks and appearance. The pressure is even more as we are more exposed to the digital world.

Rosy Pun
Personal Trainer &Owner,
Niraamayae Fitness Studio and Academy

Rosy: We all work out to have good physical and mental health. So, I believe that the prime reason for men to invest their time and energy in fitness is the same. Moreover, guys by nature want to show their masculinity and superiority through a fit body which is even prevalent in the animal kingdom.

Men go for work out for different reasons according to their age. At the age of 18 to 25 they are more focused on weight loss and muscles gain to look good and feel confident. From 25-60 they aim to gain overall health benefits such as muscle strength, improved stamina, flexibility and to beat the stress and pressure they face in daily life. Lastly, 60 plus men are also focused on management of their overall health condition but the priorities are different such as improvement in mobility, agility, maintaining muscle mass, strengthening of joints and staying healthy.

Ruby: They go gym to be healthy, stay fit, burn calories as well as to look handsome and smart.

Men love to see how they look while doing exercise. They also check if others are looking at them or not.

Ruby Rana Shah
Miss Nepal 1994 & Proprietor of Ruby’s Collection

Mamta: Everyone exercises to stay fit and healthy and the perks of staying fit is maintaining our appearance. Working out requires discipline, willpower and hard work. I admire people who respect their bodies and nourish it with the right foods to take care of the gift we are blessed with. Staying healthy contributes to the whole family creating a stress-free, productive and fun environment. The same is the case for guys too.

Garima: The reason why guys workout is to remain fit and healthy, for their self-confidence, and to maintain their personality.

Nikhita: Why anyone works out? For themselves, for improvement of their overall health, both mental and physical.

Mahima: I see men in the gym who are regular because they are concerned about their health, at the same time they also want a good physique.

How important is body image for men?

For some men, it may be a sport for fun because it’s competitive, but for others, it could be their bread and butter.

Mamta Gurung Joshi
Fashion Designer

Rosy: It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte was of a short stature but he commissioned an artist to paint a dashing and glorifying portrait of him. This example points out the significant importance of body image in men from historical time. Today’s men are very conscious of their looks and appearance. The pressure is even more as we are more exposed to the digital world. Athletic body, six-pack abs, muscular body images that media has created has added more fuel to grab consciousness amongst men worldwide.

Ruby: Definitely, body image is important for not only for men but every individual. Everyone wants to look good and stay fit.

Mamta: In these days of social media, body image is important for most men. It also depends on what career they choose. If it’s a competitive entertainment industry, fitness health coach, proficient athlete, health care, or security, their profession demands a beautiful body. Even if they do not belong to these fields, today’s’ generation is very conscious of body image. Personally, I find it very healthy not just for body image but the benefits of being disease-free with a good immune system.

Garima: Men are conscious about their body and physique. They are quite concerned about the muscle mass and the will to stay fit.

Nikhita: People today are highly influenced by the Insta perfect lifestyle and body goals. Men alike women have highly unrealistic body expectations which can negatively affect their self esteem and body image. Thus, men need to have a positive body image and self-acceptance, which helps them commit towards a healthier and happier lifestyle.

Mahima: In this age, there are very few things segregated for men and women. I feel body image is equally important for both genders. But I don’t mean zero figure or six-pack abs, they should be comfortable and confident in every shape and size. However, the main thing is to be fit.

Is working out a sport for men and they do it because it’s fun and competitive?

The reason why guys workout is to remain fit and healthy, for their self-confidence, and to maintain their personality.

Dr. Garima Shrestha
MBBS,Manipal Teaching Hospital, Pokhara & Founder of SHE Organisation

Rosy: The gym has a social aspect too. When you are at the gym, you meet likeminded people, you connect with them. I have seen members becoming gym buddies as well, hence it definitely involves a fun aspect. Without fun there is no motivation, so it’s good to have that fun aspect. And human beings are competitive by nature, and a healthy competitive environment is always welcomed in gym centers where they support and motivate each other and help to break personal records which is celebrated by all.

Working out is no longer a sport for men only, but for women too. More and more people are getting health conscious and that’s good news.

Ruby: I think athletic minded people are more likely to go to the gym. Going to gym is also like attending a club for fun. It allows people to connect with new people, release the stress of the same daily routine and try something new, give some time to their body as well as promote their business.

Mamta: It depends on different individuals. For some men, it may be a sport for fun because it’s competitive, but for others, it could be their bread and butter if they are professional athletes, yoga coach, from the entertainment or fitness and health care industry.

Garima: Working out is part of sport. Men mostly do workouts for their better health and body image as well as to maintain a good body figure. It’s part of the fun but I don’t think it’s competitive.

Nikhita: Often men in their late teens and early 20’s do treat working out as a sport trying to outdo each other and trying to show off. That eventually changes once they realise working out is something personal and even the recommended exercises are different from person to person.

Mahima: Yes, workout has become an alternative to sports and some might have a competition going within themselves or even within their circle.

Do men care about what they look like when they’re working out or they go with “the sweatier, the better” attitude?

People today are highly influenced by the Insta perfect lifestyle and body goals. Men alike women have highly unrealistic body expectations which can negatively affect their self esteem and body image.

Nikhita Thapa
Singer, Lyricist & Composer

Rosy: Men do care about their looks in the gym. They invest in appropriate attire. Gyms are full of mirrors so you cannot escape looking, grooming, adjusting yourself now and then. However, while they are doing cardio: running, cycling, rowing and cross-training, then they definitely go for the sweatier, the better. Scientifically it’s not true but many of us associate sweating with melting of our body fat and to the workout intensity. But during weight training their concern is more on their body form and postures to avoid injuries.

Ruby: They go with the flow while working out without caring for sweat, but after finishing the workout, they prefer to be clean and look good.

Mamta: I have closely observed my husband and brothers during their workout. They get into the momentum without bothering how they look. And I feel that’s how we get our desired results. So the sweatier the better. Sweat is like hard-earned proof of our workout.

Garima: Men mostly do care about their looks. On the other hand, many of them just join the gym to maintain healthy habits such as to prevent diseases caused by sedentary habits. In this case, they don’t care about their looks, rather they focus on the exercise they do. So the sweatier, the better.

Nikhita: I am pretty sure, for men, it’s the latter: the sweatier, the better.

Mahima: I feel most of them have become a little cautious regarding their looks and hygiene over the past few years.

Who is more into checking themselves out in the mirror while working out: men or women?

In this age, there are very few things segregated for men and women. I feel body image is equally important for both genders.

Mahima Singh
Miss Nepal Supranational 2018

Rosy: Once you start getting results, you feel good and you like what you see in the mirror. Getting results and seeing desired changes in your body is addictive. We can’t blame them for checking themselves in the mirror. As to the answer to men or women, I say they are equal.

Ruby: Men love to see how they look while doing exercise. They also check if others are looking at them or not.

Garima: Both males and females are equally concerned about their body image, so both equally check the mirror during the workout. But I guess females are a bit more concerned than males.

Nikhita: Definitely women.

Mahima: I think men as they love to see their body (winks)