I have a feeling many of you will think that I go for muscular guys.

Well I like my guy, but it just so happens that he’s muscular. (Not that that isn’t a bonus, cause that means no one will dare bully me. Haha.)

My tastes used to be guys of a lean build, tall, long, lean, not too skinny, sufficiently buff. In short, the water polo player.

My tastes now remain that of the water polo player sort, but I grew to appreciate the muscular kind. People usually have the perception that bodybuilders are scary, like they’ll go crazy any minute and attack you. Yes they’re strong, yes they can defend themselves physically if need be, but bodybuilders are regular people like you and me. They just want to be better — bigger, stronger, faster;p –, and they have both the motivation and the mental willpower to carry it through.

Of the many bodybuilder stereotypes out there, this one’s no over-generalisation though: Bodybuilders do have very high standards — of themselves, of others,…and of their girlfriend. A few hours after I first met him, he had already pulled me to the gym and made me do an arm exercise. (That’s how much he wants other people to be in shape like he is.)

And a few days later, he suddenly messaged me and told me he’s designed a fitness programme for me. I was like, what?! Now that’s a whirlwind. But I decided to go for it even though I, as any gym novice would feel about going to the gym, had qualms about huffing and puffing in front of other people. Simply because I knew he wanted to help me for my own good. And that he wouldn’t be too pleased if I went all cowardly and said “no, cause I’m shy’.

When I started out it was getting out of my comfort zone. One aspect was as I mentioned, working out in front of other people. Another was not being able to conceal my bodily flaws in front of him. If he were just my personal trainer, it wouldn’t have been much of an issue. But the boyfriend role thrown into the mix complicates things. When he asks you, “Did you go to the gym this morning?”, you freeze and feel a stab of guilt and wonder whether he’s gotten the answer psychically from the thickness of your flab.

Weight and body image is already a difficult issue for the female population, so it takes a tough chick to be able to withstand their “constructive criticism” and “helpful suggestions”. You struggle with the self-doubt, wondering if your boyfriend, the one who you most want to find you hot, finds you so. And you sometimes resent, feeling that you’d probably not be under so much pressure if he weren’t like this. But then the woeful doubts clear and you know deep down that he’s doing this out of best intentions and his love for you is evident in that he’s with you all the way on this journey.

When you’re at the high end of the spectrum of perfectionism, you really don’t need perceived judgment from your beloved. But I wouldn’t say things cannot work out between two perfectionists. Even if sometimes the pressure gets stifling, perhaps it’s the perfectionist in me that can live with such high expectations by appreciating his efforts in helping me become better.

Plus, I get 100% girlfriend discount for him as my personal trainer. Now that’s nothing to complain about. 😉 After being a girlfriend to a bodybuilder for quite some time, I’ve noticed that some people have very misguided stereotypes about bodybuilders. So, with my first-hand experience being in love with one, I’ll debunk some stereotypes surrounding them.

Stereotype 1: Bodybuilders are tough guys who have no emotional side to them.

I remember early on in getting to know him, Wee Kiat asked me whether I think bodybuilders are ‘insensitive brutes’. He stumped me with that question. To begin with, I don’t stereotype people. I don’t believe in doing so before even getting to know them for who they are. Why would anyone see a big, muscular guy and immediately jump to the conclusion that he doesn’t have a soft side to him? To not spill too much about my relationship with him, let me just share that Wee Kiat’s a sweetheart and he does have an emotional side like any other human being. Need more evidence? A guy who is not in touch with his emotions cannot be having a girlfriend. So I’m the proof. =D

Stereotype 2: Bodybuilders are “egomaniacs”.

Egomaniac: A conceited, self-centered person. Informal: swellhead.

I can actually see why people think bodybuilders are egomaniacs. So I’m not blatantly defending my boyfriend here, alright? By that definition given by Yahoo! Answers, egomaniacs are basically people who are very much into themselves, and are driven by self-interest. In a previous post, Wee Kiat did say that when he started out bodybuilding, he was very passionate about it and talked about gym-ing and bodybuilding a lot, and with topless photos of him abound. That was interpreted as being a show-off and being, well, egomaniacal. But no, I don’t think Wee Kiat is egotistical. I can’t tell you how to think, but let me share with you what I think. Let’s say that Wee Kiat is into his body and all that, as he described himself. Let’s also then say that he also takes care of other people, he hears when you say you have a stomachache, he offers to send you home, he asks, “Are you feeling better?” the next day and when you need a listening ear to be there for you, he’s there. Now, is this Wee Kiat still considered egotistical? I’d say that he is a nice guy, and how he’s so into his body is just attributed to his zeal and enthusiasm for his passion for bodybuilding.

Stereotype 3: Bodybuilders are such vainpots!

You see him scrutinising his body at every opportunity. You see him taking off his shirt once he enters the gym and start posing in front of the wall mirror. You hear him talk about his body, how it’s good, where it needs to improve, etc. No wonder people call him vain!

It doesn’t affect me much though. Vain, he’s not vain at all. Unlike some guys who spend hours in front of the mirror preening, touching up their perfectly coiffed hair, checking their complexion, and whether these checkered berms match that V-neck shirt, he is not vain at all. When he gets ready to leave, he doesn’t take more than 5 minutes. When he’s out, he doesn’t bother how his hair looks. I’m vainer than him in fact.:)

What explains his constant checking-himself-out antics then? If you’ve tried to build your body with weight-training, diet control, and tiresome cardio before, then you’ll know how difficult it is to do bodybuilding. So when you get a better body from your hard work, you won’t be able to resist admiring it in the mirror.

I say, as long as he doesn’t get an inflated ego from his bodybuilding, let him have some fun admiring the fruits of his labour.

Stereotype 4: Bodybuilders are shallow and dumb.

I think this stereotype isn’t too bad. Most people nowadays recognise that to be a bodybuilder (or just to have a fit body), one must have extensive knowledge of training, dieting and everything in between. Plus, my baby studies in National University of Singapore. That counts for something, doesn’t it?

Bottomline:

He is like any normal, regular guy-on-the-street. He plays computer games, he checks out girls, he loves cars, he loves driving. What’s different is that he has in him pure dedication and passion for a sport named bodybuilding, unabashed and unabated by what others think. And that’s Wee Kiat for you.

Being a Bodybuilder’s Girlfriend by Lai Wee Kiat