Friday, June 10, 2016

Fifty, And The Aspirational Physique

On a winter night, over wings and beer, a bunch of us got talking about aspirational physiques. When we were kids in Junior High, the aspirational physique was embodied by a glass of 12 raw eggs, followed by a long run and chin-ups. Yep -- Sylvester Stallone.

Various other muscular types soon presented themselves -- Ah-nuld being the most obvious of the bunch. But a bod that was clearly helped by pharmaceuticals was easily dismissed -- non-aspirational. We couldn't get the gear, so why bother trying?

Putzing in the gym for 30-plus years and reaching the half-century mark, a fella intuits pretty quickly just how dependent on primo product today's Hollywood hams are. Sure, they do the work -- and most of the truly heavy lifting is on the end of a fork, enduring a micro-managed diet for the better part of a year. But viewers still get the occasional glimpse behind the curtain. There's "incredible shape for a 32-year-old," Hugh Jackman (playing Wolverine) . . .

. . . and then there's "no 45-year-old gets veins like that from a magazine routine and a month of chicken salads" Hugh Jackman:

Putting the "jack" into "Jackman"

Jackman, being only a year or two younger than my beer-swilling pals and I, ought to be an aspirational figure, but common sense prevails in these matters. No, we mutually concluded -- the age of the aspirational physique had passed.

"Wait, what about J.K. Simmons?"

Aw, ffffffuuuudge...
Now here was someone ten years older, with guns that looked . . . attainable. We were still on the hook.

This week, the 61-year-old Mr. Simmons "damaged the webz," as the kids say, with some workout photos. To wit:

Wings night is back on, fellas -- thank you, sir!

Other links:

This piece -- Building a Bigger Action Hero by Logan Hill -- outlines what is required from today's action stars. Manu Bennett's tragi-comic story near the end is particularly amusing.

And, finally, here's a recent shot of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Lou Ferrigno meeting up in the gym, some 40 years after Pumping Iron made them famous (a caution against hair-dye and sensible footware).

If you're lucky, you get old.


Joel Swagman said...

I was obsessed with building muscles from about 19 to 23. The attractions are obvious at that age, and it's really cool to see yourself fill out, and start to attract attention.

But once the novelty of having big muscles wears off, it's really hard to maintain the motivation to spend two hours at the gym every day. Which is why I lost interest in the activity long before the physical effects of aging began to take their toll.

Which is my long way of saying that losing interest in the gym as you get older may be as much psychological as physical. As with so many other activities in life, it's hard to maintain interest in doing the same things over and over and over again for years on end.

Darrell Reimer said...

I've hated public gyms from day one -- working out with others is too much like playing well with others, when I'd just rather be alone. That said, I've never had trouble mustering the motivation to stay on a modest full-body weight training routine. Less than half-an-hour, two or three days a week -- how difficult is that? Not that anyone would confuse me with a physically fit specimen, mind you.

Joel Swagman said...

I immediately thought of this post after watching the video below

Darrell Reimer said...

Haw! Yeah, that level of commitment strikes me as cult-like, really.

Darrell Reimer said...

Further: "'This is all coincidental,' said Simmons, referring to the coiled pythons writhing in his sleeves."