“You know I’m so glad bulking season is over, I finally get to start cutting!” Said no gym goer ever!
I don’t do cutting, mostly because it’s one of the least enjoyable things at can be done in relation to the gym. Sure, there is the struggle with lifting weights and the soreness and stiffness that come the day after and even the long trudging stretches of time in the cardio section, but with all of these I feel good after with a great sense of achievement and a flood of enorphins. When it comes to cutting I just feel crap, and hungry, and tired and just plain miserable. Beyond this however, my mental health starts to deteriorate.
Spending a stretch of time starving myself to the point where my body has to dig into its fat reserves are never fun. I’m just constantly tired and hungry, so very hungry. My sex drive goes, my ability to concentrate goes but beyond that my mental health suffers. It starts with me feeling ratty and short tempered. I begin to see my body in a negative light and start measuring my waist all the time. I start to feel horrible about myself and hate how my body is. This is the biggest thing that makes cutting repellent to me.
Since starting back at the gym four years ago my relationship with my body has completely changed. I feel I relate to my body in a much more positive way, I have gained a greater understanding of how it works and I don’t feel powerless against it. That may seem a weird thing to say, that I felt subjugated by my body, but I did. It seemed like my weight and body shape were things I was trapped by. My skinny arms were something forced on me and I couldn’t change that. If I became fatter or thinner, it was because of reasons I didn’t understand and so felt dragged along by my body for the ride. Now I know I can affect change on my body. I know how my activities and eating patterns affect it. If my body starts to go in a direction I don’t want, I can just change my behaviour and my body will respond. This feeling of control over my own self has improved my body image to no end. I now like my body, not for what it has changed into, but because it isn’t something that makes me feel bad about. Its part of me, not something forced onto me. Sure there are goals I have set to achieve in terms of body shape but I’m happy with where I’m starting from.
This all seems to go out the window when cutting.
The wearing down of my mental health probably has a lot to do with this. Being miserable and tired for so long won’t do anyone any good, but then further combined with fighting against an appetite that I often loose against and lack of easy progress means that old feeling of my body being an object I am forced to deal with, rather part of me, rears its ugly head.
Being a cub helps a lot with it, as I don’t feel any social pressure to strive for the classic gay mans abs when I can have a rubable belly instead (well most of the time, going to Hampstead heath pond and sitting in a large group of topless gay men all with abs in speedos) so if I feel my bellies getting beyond my comfort zone I just start clean bulking and do a bit more cardio, which is normally enough to bring things back to where I want them.