Updated: Saturday, 20th October 2018 @ 4:55pm

New Year's resolution to join the gym? A cautionary tale

New Year's resolution to join the gym? A cautionary tale

By David Mayor

In the days following New Year gym membership figures will rocket, as they do every year, when many people take the first steps to fulfilling their new year’s resolution.

This, many of us would think, is a good thing. People are healthier and look and feel better about themselves.

And to look at 30-year-old Dave Whitmore, you would be forgiven for thinking he is a great example of the benefits of gym membership and regular exercise.

Tall, good-looking and in great shape he is surely what most young men aspire to?

But Dave has a different opinion when taking into account the measures he's taken over the years to maintain his physique and the effect it's had on him.

“To be honest If I had my time again I'd never step foot into a gym,” Dave says.

“The reason is the mind games going in there plays with you,” he explained.

Dave was 18 when he first started working out and says it was around 12 months later that it really began to affect his life.

“From the first moment I made the transformation in my body shape, that was it.

“I knew no matter what I did I wanted to progress more and more.”

Dave, who lives in Mottram, Greater Manchester, previously owned a gym for over two-years in nearby Oldham.

During this time it was his job to be there on a daily basis which meant the temptation to try and look bigger and better was greater than ever.

“If I could I was working out every day. And it's then the obsession becomes worse and worse.

“You see the bigger lads and want to match them. What are they eating, how do they work out?

“And that's when you start finding out about steroids.”

Dave openly admits to having taken anabolic steroids such those known as deca dinabol, winstrol and the growth hormone jintropin.

He said he never felt the commonly reported 'roid-rage' that leads to violent behaviour from steroid users but could see symptoms of it.

“I never felt the need to fight anyone when I was using them, but I can associate with the feeling of wanting to prove how strong you are compared to the next lad.”

“I can and have seen how it does affect others in this way though and this is one of the many reasons why I'd discourage anyone from taking them and to a lesser extent using the gym.

Dave still uses the Gym he says, two or three times a week, and is now content with his current size.

His next few sentences again highlighted the double-edged sword that is an obsession with working out, fitness and physique.

“It changes your mind in the way you think about yourself and the confidence you gain.”

“And when you get that confidence you start walking into a room and you want people to look at you and know that you train.

“It's like having a new car that you think everyone wants to talk to you about, but as nice a feeling as this isn't worth taking over your life.”

In preparation for the interview, I discovered an article on-line by the American writer, Allan Greer of the For the Modern Man website magazine.

I showed the article called “Is bulking up your body worth it” to Dave, and a particular sentence struck a chord.

Greer summarised his piece with: “Be happy with who you are and find the thin line between a healthy and manageable work-out schedule, and a dangerous and addictive obsession with the mirror.”

“That’s about as well as I’ve seen anyone describe it,” he said.

“But for me, I still wish I never would have bothered.”