Happy Father’s Day. But I’ll get to that later.

photo of Bryan as a father

First, a lot of people in the fitness space are in pain. Not just physical but emotional and psychological.

Some hide it well, under a steely facade of ego and a bit of bluster, to make it through the day.

Others are more transparent and almost wear their pain like a uniform, perhaps to attract people in a similar situation for companionship or to help ward off potential “predators.”

Finally, there are those in pain who project over-the-top “strength”—but not the quiet confident kind. It’s strength from a place of fear and defence, and manifests more like animus and hostility. And as it gains followers (many people want to be led by someone “strong”) it can lead to bullying, groupthink and other shit you wish stayed in high school.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

I’ve always been fascinated by the male archetype in fitness. At times, it’s left me disillusioned, like seeing young people embrace transparent, debunked “alpha” nonsense, or idolize pick-up artist stuff, or chase “hack” mentality — bragging about seeking shortcuts to hard work. And usually have negligible results to show for it.

But lately I’m also inspired. I’m seeing older meatheads shed the gorilla suit and become helpful, thoughtful, inclusive, and above all, kind.

They’ve realized they don’t need to manufacture strength to lead. That their true strength comes from embracing who they really are, flaws and all, and helping others.

There’s no better example than Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s the reason guys like me first lifted a weight, but his many flaws are also well documented.

Yet now, with his film career and his physique deep into their twilight, public opinion of him as a good, helpful human has never been higher.

This didn’t happen, though, until he accepted who he was and left the gorilla suit behind.

Now, when I encounter such online raging my first thought is:

I’m sorry that you’re hurting. I hope you can get past it and heal.

Life is SO much better on the other side.

– Coach Bryan

PS: it was Father’s Day this week, and awhile back — it was around about Mother’s day, actually — joked with Mom about what I want my son to be when he grows up.

She said, “Just try to teach him to be kind.”