Once, back when I was in my 30s, a coworker sheepishly asked if she could touch my stomach. Staring at her hand pressed against its flatness, she questioned, “How does my husband get a stomach like yours?”
“He has to be gay, ” I laughed.
“No, seriously, Chris,” she said, looking imploringly into my eyes.
“Well, I go to a gym every morning before work and I run 20-25 miles a week.”
“Oh,” she said disappointedly, “He does have to be gay.”
Let’s face it, most gay guys are into keeping fit. Take my friend, Farook, for example. He hits the gym hard and plays water polo five nights a week. And he has the smoking hot body to show for all that work. But I have one thing — well two things — he doesn’t, kids!
Once, I saw an article in Men’s Fitness that showed different exercises guys could do using babies as weights. It didn’t say if the baby had to be your kid or just some random child. To be honest, I didn’t read the entire article because I could tell by the photos that neither the author nor the photographer had kids. If they had, there would’ve been warnings about how much babies drool and upchuck. Had I ever laid on my back and repeatedly lifted Niko over my body, I would have been covered in every kind of gross bodily fluid in 15 seconds flat.
For gay dads trying to stay in shape, having kids can be a bigger deterrent than a box of Krispy Kremes. Since I haven’t seen the inside of a gym since my nearly 12-year old was still in diapers, I’ve improvised workouts.
Doing the laundry, for example, counts as both lifting and cardio. With four of us in the house, the laundry basket weighs a ton, so that’s my lifting routine. And since the laundry room is downstairs, there’s the cardio.
President Obama is said to be able to bench press 200 pounds. But I used to schlep a diaper bag that probably weighed a couple of hundred pounds. Just like with weights, when I put it down I had to catch my breath and walk around a little. Hey, it may not have been the hottest accessory for a gay guy, but it got the job done.
Now I’ve replaced the diaper bag with Gus’s hockey bag. Seriously, all that equipment weighs like, oh I dunno, let’s say 500 pounds.
I’m actually pretty good when it comes to cardio. I have a treadmill in my office that I use nearly every day. A couple of years ago I ran in a 5K benefiting the boys’ school. Gus ran too, and I discovered that my paternal instinct is greater than my competitive instinct. I stopped and waited with him when he needed a breather, rather than leaving him in my dust. I even let him cross the finish line ahead of me.
For my paternal sacrifice, the running gods rewarded me with the best finishing time in my age bracket. Of course, my time ended up being the only one posted in my age bracket. But a win’s a win.
Chasing after the kids has inspired me to run another 5K at the end of May. It benefits the BrockStrong Foundation, which honors the memory of the son of our friends, Lori and Roger. I’m pretty sure I won’t be the only gay man running, and I probably won’t even be the only gay dad there.
You should join us. Who knows, maybe some nice woman will ask how you get your stomach so flat!