Real Men Love Their Bodies From the Inside Out: The Gay Man's Intro to Loving His Looks

Fall and winter are a'comin', and while we all know it's cuddle season, it's also the time a lot of us look down at our tummies and question all that booze and BBQ we scarfed down all summer. The gym membership flyers are starting to pile up on the kitchen counter, giving us the evil eye every time we head toward the fridge. "Right after the New Year, it's totally gonna happen," we tell ourselves. Even the most dedicated gym bunny among us is probably in a bit of an autumnal sweat slump.

But here's the most important question: Who cares? Seriously, who are you working out for? If the answer is anyone other than yourself, we need to have a little chat.

Full disclosure: I've had some nasty body dysmorphia in my life. When I first started out acting in New York and L.A., I thought having a killer body was everything, and I had no idea when enough was enough. I was nailing magazine covers and product endorsements, but even with a gorgeous boyfriend who told me I was beautiful every day, I never felt like I was good enough when I looked in the mirror. It took a lot of growing up and letting go, casting off the people who brought me down and made me doubt myself. It finally got better when I began surrounding myself with love and support from friends who cared about the real me.

For the first time, the body on the outside was as strong as the heart on the inside.

Ask a guy why he joined a gym, and the answer will often be, "I want to get hot!" Well, friends, it's my pleasure to break it to you: You already are! If there is one thing I learned in the long journey to being happy with my looks, it's that the outside should always be the physical manifestation of how you feel inside.

I've been asked repeatedly to write about fitness and why it means so much to me, but I really had no idea where to begin. Do I tell you about which weights are best? What you should be eating? The yummiest protein? No, none of that matters until you look at yourself in the mirror and realize that the only person you need to worry about impressing with your body is yourself. Don't worry, there are plenty of websites with lots of tips and videos about getting that beach body you're looking for, but first things first: Let's figure out why we're going to sweat.

Each week RuPaul tells her ladies on Drag Race that they'd better remember who really comes first, because "if you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" Amen, Ru. Amen.

Listen, body image, like that gorgeous muscle boy you stare at each time you go to the bar, is nothing but a mess of confusion. Every ad in every magazine shows us glistening pecs and rippling six-packs that lead us to believe that we're not worth squat unless we can grate cheese on our stomachs. We are being told that if we don't match this prepackaged ideal, we're something "less-than."

What you are is a gorgeous man who is already sexy just because you've embraced who you are. Working out, eating right, and keeping your body and brain healthy make the wrapping on the present firm and desirable, but it's the man inside that matters.

Just remember that there will always be some guy younger and fitter than you, but he doesn't have your heart. That's the sexiest muscle you've got!