Ben wrote:I'm actually a bit intrigued by the assumption by some that if one engages in weight lifting or attends the gym, then one is necessarily a narcissist.
I have returned to the gym after a long hiatus in a bid to return some level of physical fitness and health. And I think that is the same for many people who attend - its a convenient vehicle for them to maintain the only body they've got in this life.
My observation is that at least some people at the gym look in the mirrror, not to relish the image of their own body (or others), but to ensure correct physical technique.
A bigger problem, for me anyway, is when people think I'm looking at them/staring at them/checking them out, etc.... because they're in my posture check zone. One time, the middle-aged black woman on the elliptical next to me said something like, "Why do you keep looking at me?" I joked with her and said, "Oh I'm just really vain. I'm looking at myself." She laughed. I told her about my need to posture check. Since I've scoliosis and spinal arthritis I constantly look in the mirror at the gym to check my posture (I'm currently using Esther Gokhale's method). I rarely look in the mirror (at home or in the gym) and think vain thoughts, even when according to other people I'm "looking good" (my thoughts about myself are usually negative, especially regarding my physique and ablities.). And most of the people that frequent my gym aren't exactly natural beauties: the elderly, the obese, and, yes, "ugly" ones. Furthermore, if you're there to work out
, you're probably going to sweat
and so are others which can really kill vanity. In fact, I find the gym a great place to contemplate foulness of the body. It might just be the gym I go to, but I rarely see people look in the mirror for vanity purposes. There's mirrors on all
the walls, but they didn't put them there for narcissists. If you're working out, getting the right form is crucial. If you're vain about it, you're the exception. Plus, I think you can dinstinguish between vanity and a healthy self-image, the latter of which you can use to your advantage as a motivator. The better you look the more likely you are to stay in shape.