It’s no secret, yoga is a female-dominated workout. Though it’s hard to put your finger on why that is unless you factor in some pretty gendered myths (“it’s just for sensitive guys and the ladies”) and stereotypes (“it’s not really athletic”). Don’t even get us started.
But the awesomely tattooed and ripped Al Kavadlo, a personal trainer and fitness author who’s known for his outdoor bootcamps on the playgrounds of Tompkins Square Park, thinks that’s all bullsh*t.
“I think a lot of men tend to shy away from flexibility and yoga training because they see it as a girly workout,” says Kavadlo, whose new book, Stretching Your Boundaries, just became a best-seller on Amazon. “Or, many guys who are tight might be afraid they’ll embarrass themselves in a yoga class. Most guys hate doing things that they aren’t good at. It’s an ego thing.”
Even if Kavadlo relies on some stereotypes to get guys on the mat, he has a point. Men might be dismissive of the practice for pretty lame reasons—even if they’d love the results of being able to touch their toes without pulling a hamstring or popping a disc.
1. He’s standing in the way of his own real strength potential. Real men do stretch. So many men think that being fit is all about the muscles, but a lack of serious stretching causes men to be inflexible, and without a full range of motion, they are standing in the way of their own real strength potential.
2. Men who don’t stretch are not truly fit. Sure you’ve got a six-pack, but can you even touch your shins? Did you know that men who don’t stretch are not considered really and completely fit? Stretching out the body not only loosens up all the parts that get tight—hips, hamstrings, upper shoulders and upper back, for instance—but helps to keep you injury-free. Oh, and it feels good! Why do you think every animal on earth has been stretching for thousands of years?
3. His body is becoming his own worst enemy. If you don’t stretch, you get stiff. As we age it’s all the more true—and no One-A-Day vitamin can keep your body supple. Lack of mobility not only holds you back from any number of physical activities, but can make life unpleasant when your body won’t do what you want it to, becoming your own worst (early fitness retirement) enemy.
4. The ladies will thank you for it. If you really want to convince a guy to get down with the vinyasa flow, tell him it will make him better at getting down, too, says Kavadlo, only semi-jokingly. “Making love is a very physical activity, so in theory, the more physically fit you are, the better your potential will be to perform in the bedroom,” he argues. Now there’s an advertisement for your local studio! —Jamie McKillop