CAIRO: Typically, it has always been women that have a preoccupation with staying in shape and getting fit. Traditionally, men have gone to the gym to “get a six-pack, “get big, and “bulk up. However, the world is changing, and fast.
Trends such as getting personal trainers and joining group exercises are making their way into men’s exercising culture. Those still reluctant to practice sports can be persuaded to give regular training a try with proper guidance. Objectives have also changed. It isn’t simply health and fitness anymore; professionals and fitness buffs agree that exercise can help satisfy many needs, whether it’s the social aspect, health reasons, self-discipline or simply to relieve the stress of the day.
Working out makes us feel better, boosts our morale and leaves us with more energy. Whatever your form of exercise, there is a definite feeling of self-satisfaction and personal confidence when you finish your training, take your shower and walk out into the day (or night) with a spring in your step and the feeling of accomplishment. Interestingly, even those that don’t particularly enjoy all aspects of their training still keep it up, simply because they know it’s good for them.
Ayman Wanas, a gym regular, admits that “weights are the least favorite part of my workout, but my trainer tells me it’s what I need and so I do it three times a week.
At 43, Wanas decided that playing tennis once a week was not giving him the results he needed, nor was going it alone in the gym. That’s when he decided to hook up with a personal trainer. “I didn’t know what I was doing and I wasn’t getting anywhere. Now I am starting to see results and it’s only been a few weeks. The accountability makes you more conscientious; you workout with proper form, and you know you’re not going to get injured.
A fellow gym member, Tarek Nour El Din, not only advocates a personal trainer, but also says it helps to keep him motivated. Nour El Din confesses that being out of the fitness scene for five years had left him an unfit, de-motivated 40-something and he knew it was time to change the status quo.
“I want to look good, feel good and be in great shape, Nour El Din explains, “Being fit is a fantastic feeling; you have so much more energy. He notes that there is also a positive social aspect to it and that the men support each other in their goals.
Given that a recent study showed that 80 percent of male university-age students are dissatisfied with the way they look, it is not hard to see why the fitness industry is seeing a rise in male participation in what has normally been considered female territory: group exercise classes.
Ramy Sukheila, a 28-year-old medical student, says that even though he trains consistently with his personal trainer to get in shape and satisfy his personal needs, “the best part of my training schedule are the spinning and abdominal classes.
Wanas and Nour El Din agree. “Having others in class keeps you motivated, you don’t get bored and stop because you’re fed up, says Nour El Din. Wanas concurs that “indoor cycling didn’t sound like it would be fun, but actually you really sweat and walk out of class like you have truly worked your hardest.
Group exercise is having an impact on the male population. Both Kevin Brawn and Waleed Shams agree that as instructors they are getting more men in class on a daily basis. Brawn says that he actually has more men in class than women, but it’s still the women who are more dedicated. Shams’s dance classes are also starting to intrigue men, “a special type of man, one who likes to joke and is not afraid to express himself.
Although there are plenty of reasons to motivate men to follow suit, there are many who don’t.
High blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity, known as the deadly triad, are prevalent in Egypt. Even with this well-documented information constantly in the media, it is still not enough to get men out of the office and into the world of fitness. Many men find the lifelong commitment to their health overpowering. Some men say there just isn’t enough time in the day, they are too tired or they simply don’t like it.
The latter, however, is often the cause for lack of dedication. You have to find your niche and do what you enjoy; squash, swimming, martial arts and football are all excellent ways to keep active and get you closer to a positive road to health.
“Self-talk can be a good way to self-motivate. Telling yourself, “I’m going to do this because then I will be stronger, or “This gets me one step closer to the leaner me, are ways to keep reminding yourself of the positive impact exercise has on your life.
Regardless of the objectives of your exercising schedule, it is important is to find what will keep you coming back for more, helping you to build a great body and strong sense of self. Think about what you need, experiment with various types of exercise and enjoy the road not only to self-discovery but also to a lifelong dedication to taking care of you.
Gina Grant is an AFAA certified personal trainer, group fitness instructor, an APEX and ISSA certified sports performance nutritionist and a J.G. Spinning instructor. She has written for various international publications on a variety of topics relating to health and fitness.