Oscar Mairs Article 6

Oscar Mairs Q and A
I could tell you how to eat, I could tell you how to train, and I could give you any number of tips and tricks to achieve the physical ideal that you dream of. But how would that be any different to any other fitness page that you come across? There are countless athletes and fitness competitors across social media who can ably provide you with that. I’m sure that many of them are far better equipped for the job than I. Instead, I aim to provide you with something else; life skills.

It is all well and good to build a great physique, it’s an achievement in itself, but to what end? Many people embark upon the fitness journey because of some void within them. Be that an absence of self-esteem, an absence of external validation, or even the absence of a significant other. Ultimately, the pursuit of the ideal physique is founded in reference to remedying these underlying motives. In a sense, fitness is the means to the end of absolute fulfillment. But how fulfilling is it?

Any guy who joins a gym does so with the intention of impressing and pulling girls. If he tells you otherwise, he is lying. Years of training in the gym can actualise that dream. From my own experiences, fitness drastically increases your chances in the single market. It makes you an attractive object. Accordingly, like attracts like and you’re well on the way to material fulfillment. However if you train for this purpose you are trapped in the activity by material desire. You only train for the women and the glory. No amount of either will ever slake your thirst, you will always seek just that little more. You will never be truly satisfied.

Though I can’t speak for girls, I’ll try. Body-image standards set by the media compel women to fit a certain ideal. Glossy fashion magazines and glamorous Hollywood stars foster a sense of insecurity and self-doubt among the many who don’t fit that mold. Fitness becomes a means for attaining that desirable look. Once fit and toned, girls rack all the likes on Facebook and get all the boys chasing. External validation is fulfilled and life is all sunshine and rainbows. Or is it? Realisation that you’re just an object of desire is ironically alienating. No one wants to know you for who you are, only what you look like. Basing your self-worth on such an ephemeral pursuit is going to leave you feeling cold, empty and alone.

So what is the ultimate end of fitness? As we have seen it doesn’t lie in the simple attainment of self-esteem, it doesn’t lie in external validation, and it doesn’t lie in finding a significant other. This is where it gets deep, hang on. The beauty that is attained by the work in the gym is fleeting, tragedy lies in its transience. Building the body perfect is similar to a Taoist monk practicing calligraphy with water on stone. The act itself evokes the realisation of the ephemeral nature of physical reality. It is this realisation that leads to discovery of the greatest and most fulfilling aspect of the whole pursuit.

The monk artfully draws these beautiful symbols to ‘become one with the Tao’. (Tao Te Ching) It is a conscious effort to harmonise one’s will with Nature in order to achieve ‘effortless action’ (Wu wei). There is spiritually transcendental power in the monk’s act. I will draw the analogy here, this is what focused training has the power to do. It has the power to alleviate the pressures of life, the frustrations of physical existence, it is a momentary escape to a higher realm. The meditative focus required to push yourself to your absolute limits requires a tranquil state of pure consciousness, free from earthly distractions. Have you ever finished a workout with a momentary feeling of ecstatic joy? Have you ever worked so hard that you have momentarily phased out of material reality to forget all your mundane concerns? Freedom has often been described as liberation from desire. The gym is the ticket to that pure, unadulterated freedom. The elusive treasure trove that fitness unlocks is not to be found externally, but internally. The ultimate end of fitness is to discover how to use the body to free the mind. Once you do, you will never question your commitment to the cause again. You will be free.

Oscar Mairs on Facebook

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.