top of page
  • Writer's pictureHenry Cavanaugh

The Rainbow Tank Story

Craig wasn’t the type to ever wear something that might bring attention to him. Not at work, not on nights out and certainly not in the gym. He was the type of guy who was more than happy to fly under the radar and blend in with the crowd. Historically any attention he had received always seemed to come with negative consequences attached: the school bullies, the obnoxious neighbors, the pretty boys who turned him down for being “a four at best.” It was already bad enough that he was one of the smallest guys in his all-male gym; he was a mere kitten in a den of lions. Thankfully, the guys there were too busy inspecting their competition to care about a shrimp like him. Despite this, Craig refused to run the risk of gaining their attention by wearing something so bright and colorful that it would be impossible for them to ignore.

As such, Craig was incredibly confused when his gaze lingered on a stringer tank top featuring a rainbow mosaic for an abnormally long time. He had been shopping for some new gym gear and had loaded up his basket with items that would hide his slender frame without totally dwarfing him. Looking at the recently built Pride display that was drowned out in fluorescent lighting, Craig remained transfixed on the article of clothing. He mechanically grabbed it off the rack, moving as if something was compelling him to do it. The rainbow tank was as far as could possibly be from anything he already owned - he’d never dared to show off his bony shoulders - and yet he was totally captivated by it, like a wolf to a full moon.

It made absolutely no sense to the rational parts of Craig’s mind but he knew that he simply had to have it! It was a jarring contrast to all of the more conservative clothes he’d picked out, standing out boldly from the muted colors that would clearly refuse the attention of his intimidating gym-goers. As he looked down at it after dropping it into his basket, his heart began to race with pure excitement. What was life without a little bit of spontaneity, right?

However, once the thrill of his wild purchase had worn off, the intense feelings of self-judgment and ridicule returned and flooded Craig’s mind. It was no surprise then that the man quickly attempted to conceal his impulsive purchase, pushing it to the depths of his dresser drawers. He continued to wear loose-fitting tees for his daily workouts despite the fact that the tank lingered in his mind, showing up like a beautiful dream that refused to disappear into the sands of time. Even though he was in the gym every day once he’d finished up at work, Craig rarely felt like he was making any good progress. Sure, he wasn’t as horrifically skinny as he had been back in his college days, but he was pretty diminutive for a man of twenty-six. His reliance on the lightest dumbbells that his gym had to offer was also quite disheartening for the man, especially when there were behemoths next to him casually curling with ten times the weight.

Although his gym had no shortage of muscular hunks who served as both inspiration and distraction for Craig, there was one in particular who always managed to make him feel a certain kind of way. Joshua was an undisputable alpha, radiating confidence to the point of arrogance without even a drop of shame. The worst part of it all was that he most certainly had the body to back it up too. He was a marble statue come to life with all of his rippling muscles; his clothes were always stretched so tight across his huge physique that it seemed as if they were desperately crying out for an escape.

Another unique thing about Joshua though was that he was one of the few gym studs who had actually paid Craig any attention. They had locked eyes by chance previously, where Craig’s cheeks had immediately flushed pink in embarrassment while Joshua’s lip immediately turned up into a sneer. Craig felt as if he had been dunked right into a bucket of ice; he was nothing but dirt to a guy like Joshua, utterly inconsequential and unable to ever rise to his level. To make matters even worse, Joshua was in a stringer tank top of his own, not too dissimilar from the one Craig had hidden away in his drawer, although it was lacking the mesmerizing rainbow pattern that had captured Craig’s attention in the store. Joshua wore his stringer proudly and for good reason too: his superior physique and undeniable aura made him the absolute envy of every man in the gym, Craig included.

Cutting his workout short after the brief moment of silent humiliation, Craig fled back to his apartment and discovered himself fishing the rainbow tank from its hiding place. The fabric was soft to the touch and the pattern maintained the enthralling quality that had led to its purchase earlier in the week. As he held it in his hands, a bold thought entered Craig’s mind: You should wear it to the gym tomorrow. The thought was invasive, as if it hadn’t even come from himself, but Craig attempted no resistance. Did the prospect of wearing the stringer to the gym make him nervous? Of course it did! Still, it promised to be something of a daring thrill, and everybody had always said that Craig played life too safe. How much harm could possibly be done by wearing it for one quick workout?

The next afternoon Craig arrived at the doors to the gym with his prized rainbow tank hidden under a loose-fitting grey hoodie. He stood at the entrance for a few minutes trying to work up the nerves to enter, even ducking his head down when a pair of muscle-bound athletes departed the complex. Before the doors could close behind them, Craig slipped his slender frame through and began striding purposefully towards the stairs that led up to the gym.

The establishment was built on the top floor of a shopping mall and, since the elevator was broken, it meant that the members had to climb up three flights of stairs before getting to the gym itself. Many of its patrons joked that ascending the staircase was a warm-up in itself and honestly Craig didn’t disagree; more than once he had found himself out of breath by the time he’d made it to the top.

As he tackled the first flight of stairs Craig forced himself to focus on his reason for being there and for daring to wear a tank top, even if it was currently hidden under a thick hoodie. He desperately wanted to get bigger and stronger, but he also wanted to build up his confidence. He didn’t enjoy being the kind of guy who got so caught up in his own head that it took him several minutes to sum up the courage to enter the gym! Enough was enough, he needed to do better. He was going to do better - he’d even will it into existence if he had to!

Little did Craig know but he was actually doing just that as he ascended the stairs. His strides became more confident and every footfall became heavier than the last, stomps echoing up and down the staircase thanks to the slowly increasing mass on his body.

Underneath the fabric of his sweatpants, the long slender limbs of his legs were beginning to expand, muscle bubbling away under the surface until his thighs were slightly larger than footballs and his calves grew somewhat more pronounced, as if he spent much of his time hill-walking rather than sat on a sofa playing video games.

While his sweatpants were no longer as loose-fitting as they had been prior to his entry, they were most certainly tight around his rear, which had made a sudden and arresting appearance. The flat behind he had always felt disappointed with was replaced by soft globes that rose like dough in an oven and bounced with each passing step.

With a strong base firmly established the changes to his physique continued to travel north. His lithe chest expanded as if being pumped full of air, with the added bulk helping to fill out the rainbow tank. The arrival of two subtle yet firm pectorals pushed the top of the tank out somewhat, while the broadening of his shoulders made the slim cut of his hoodie quite ill-fitting.

Without breaking his stride Craig reached up to pull the hoodie up and over his head, tugging with such force that it came free almost immediately. He kept the garment clutched within his strong grip, still completely unaware of the changes to his body even as the twigs of his arms blossomed into mighty branches. Biceps and triceps flared beneath his pale skin as his upper arms became so thick that even with two hands someone might struggle to contain all of the muscle in their grasp!

Once he had reached the top of the mountain though, it was impossible for Craig not to notice what had become of his body. To the left of the gym’s glass doors was a floor-to-ceiling mirror, which, upon seeing his reflection, caused the skinny man to discover that skinny didn’t exactly qualify as an honest description for him anymore. His jaw dropped as he stared at the man in the mirror, struggling to comprehend that it was really him that he was seeing.

Where had those muscles come from? Sure, it wasn’t like he was at bodybuilder proportions or anything but he was one-hundred percent certain that he’d been half the size upon leaving work just an hour earlier. Such sudden growth was impossible, yet as he looked from the reflection down to his body, Craig was encouraged to rethink that understanding. He poked experimentally at his bicep, marveling at the hard muscle that met his touch. It was real!

Somehow, in the time it had taken for him to climb the staircase, he’d gotten big!

Craig could have remained in front of that mirror for a thousand years, captivated by his own reflection as if he’d been hypnotised into a trance. But as the sound of the doors opening at the bottom of the staircase echoed through the three flights of stairs, he was jolted back to reality. What sort of impression would he be giving if somebody caught him admiring himself before he’d even made it into the gym? His heart pounded at a steady rhythm as he stepped through the doors and under the bright LED lights of the gym proper.

A soundscape of deep masculine grunting, obnoxious dance beats and the crashing of weights being dropped over by the weightlifting platforms greeted his ears. It was a soundtrack that usually sparked anxiety within Craig - he did his best to block it out with his noise-cancelling headphones - but on this special day, it came with a sense of genuine excitement. It was even reflected in his body language: his broad chest was puffed out and he no longer kept his head down to avoid the gazes of anybody who might have glanced over to inspect the new arrival.

As he approached the reception desk to have his membership card scanned, Craig didn’t miss the way that the handsome and hairy employee ogled at the powerful muscles of his arms. It was quite the turning of the tables; previously Craig had looked at Dex (the employee tasked with working the desk during the afternoon shift) with envy due to his strong build and the impressive weight that he was regularly found deadlifting or squatting. There was the briefest look of recognition when Dex’s eyes met Craig’s own before the corners of the other’s mouth turned into a slight frown.

“Hey man, nice to see you again,” the gym employee exclaimed, his eyes trailing back down to the strong set of arms before him. “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but you’re looking pretty well built! I had it in my head you were a little… smaller, no offense.”

Two feelings immediately stirred within Craig: one was a nervousness not too unfamiliar to him, caused by the expectation that his sudden growth might get called out, but the other was a brand new sense of glee. It seemed unlikely that anybody would believe the truth of what had happened to Craig - hell, he hardly believed it himself - so would anybody dare call it out for the risk of sounding insane? The bodybuilders and powerlifters who occupied Craig’s gym didn’t exactly seem like the smartest of types anyway, probably putting more stock in their reputation with their fellow bros to dare risk it for such outlandish claims.

“Uh yeah, must have been all those layers I’ve been wearing,” he replied, offering up his membership card for the other to scan. As his profile flashed up on the screen, Craig no longer grimaced at the unflattering picture attached to it, with his skinny neck, sunken cheeks and tired eyes. From what he’d seen in the mirror outside, Craig wasn’t just looking bigger but healthier too. It was quite the contrast, but certainly a welcome one for the man.

“You’ve come a long way, man,” Dex remarked, looking from the profile picture to the man before him and back again. “Keep it up, bro. You’ll be a beast in no time if you’ve gotten this big this quickly!” Craig just chuckled. You really have no idea!

Departing from the reception desk, Craig made his way into the changing room and threw his bag into one of the lockers. There were two other guys already in there, one pulling on a plain white tank while the other was dressing after a shower. Upon Craig’s arrival, both men nodded in greeting as Craig passed them by. It was an incredibly brief and simple gesture, but the acknowledgement still sent a fresh jolt of excitement through him. Previously, they would have looked right through him as if he wasn’t even really there. Simply by carrying some (okay, maybe a lot) more muscle on his frame and holding himself with confidence, he suddenly existed on their radars.

Once he was out onto the gym floor, Craig made his way right over to one of the benches and tentatively loaded a few weights onto each side of a barbell. By the standards of the gym’s regular clients it was a measly weight, but it wasn’t too far from Craig’s own one rep max. Time to test a theory, he thought as he settled down onto the bench, wrapped his hand around the barbell and pushed the weight up. Although he’d partially been anticipating it, the ease with which the weight moved still managed to startle him and caused his arms to shake wildly for a few moments. Taking a moment to regain his composure, Craig brought the weight down to his chest, paused, and then pushed the barbell back up. The movement was as smooth as a knife through butter and he quickly pushed out five more reps before returning the bar to the rack.

Over the next ten minutes Craig slowly but surely increased the number of plates on either side of the bar until the weight was finally enough of a challenge to start feeling a burning in his pecs and triceps. Throughout the process he remained aware of the gym around him and sure enough there were a handful of guys who were either admiring his strength or straight up checking him out. The attention actually caused his body to have a physical response, so he was quick to rearrange himself in his shorts so as to not alert everyone as to the arousal their looks had brought him.

Progressing from the bench press to the cable machines, Craig set the weights heavier than he would usually dare and began to perform crossover flys with unbridled confidence. He had the strength of a goddamn superhero! His inner comic book nerd was having a blast - he could already imagine his improved physique getting stuffed into a Superman costume. Maybe that was something he should look into once he’d finished his workout…

It was between the sets of crossover flys that one of the gym’s personal trainers approached him with a warm smile. They’d had a single conversation before, on Craig’s first day at the gym, when the trainer had approached, introduced himself as Nolan, and encouraged him to sign up for one-to-one training. While Craig had no doubt that personal training would probably be incredibly beneficial for his fitness journey, the prices that were put forward made him balk. His measly wage wasn’t going to cover it, especially when the gym wanted him to pay for the full six month cycle in advance!

Despite being forced to reject the trainer’s offer, Nolan had remained on Craig’s radar since then for quite obvious reasons. The man was tall, charming and trained to maintain a perfect aesthetic, and his handsome face was supported by luxurious brown stubble and kind chocolate eyes. He was pretty much Craig’s dream guy, only Nolan’s everything made him about a hundred leagues beyond anything he could ever even hope to attract.

“Hey dude, are you new here?” the trainer asked, holding up a fist for Craig to bump. “You’re jacked, man! Prepping for a competition?” Unlike Dex, there wasn’t even an ounce of recognition in Nolan’s gaze which at least permitted Craig to relax into an easy conversation.

“I guess you could say I’m new, yeah,” he replied, unable to stop a grin from forming as he placed his massive fist against the other’s in greeting. “But no, no competition prep or anything. I’m just training for me, you know?”

The personal trainer nodded sagely. “I dig that, man, I dig it!” Now that he was up close, Craig was able to see that the two weren’t all that different in size. Nolan’s chest was a little more prominent and his calves held more definition, but Craig felt like he maintained an advantage when it came to the arms, shoulders and traps. Still, even standing toe-to-toe with somebody who trained their body for a living gave Craig a real thrill. This had to be in the running for the best day of his life, no question about it!

After a few minutes of casual chatter, Nolan attempted his usual pitch for personal training. However, this time around, Craig didn’t feel quite so awkward when he turned the other down. Instead, in an uncharacteristically bold move, the once-average Craig lifted up an arm and flexed the bicep to form a perfect peak. “I think I’m doing alright on my own,” he answered, prompting the other to let out an uncomfortable chuckle. Given Craig’s current size and the power displayed through his flexed arm, there was no reason for Nolan to suspect it was anything other than the truth. It was deceitful, sure, but that didn’t change the thrill that Craig felt being able to turn the other down with more confidence than he’d had when he’d previously given meek excuses to the exact same offer.

For the first time in Craig’s life, he actually spent more than sixty minutes training, leaving just shy of the two hour mark, and he felt incredibly accomplished to boot.Not only that, but his body also glistened with a thin sheet of sweat as his workout had given him a solid pump that made each and every one of his enhanced muscles pop just that little bit more. Seeing the results of his workout, Craig began to entertain himself by hitting a few poses that he had seen from the once-intimidating workout experts. To his surprise, the man began to enjoy himself and achieved a level of self-confidence that he had never reached before. If it wasn’t for the deep growl echoing within his empty stomach, Craig wouldn’t have dared to give up the opportunity to check himself out and flex a bit longer. After wiping down the equipment he’d been using and washing his hands and face, he grabbed his stuff from his locker and departed with another nod of acknowledgement at Dex.

Carrying more muscle mass had made Craig a little unsteady on his feet at first, but once he’d gotten used to it he found himself breaking into a confident stride as he returned to his car. Fitting in the vehicle was another matter though; everything felt a little too small and he’d had to adjust the seat back a number of clicks before he felt even slightly comfortable. Even though he knew he’d have to satiate his hunger sooner rather than later, Craig had some more devious thoughts in mind for when he made it back home: namely he was looking forward to getting an up-close and personal experience with his new physique without the risk of being disturbed by other gym-goers.

As soon as he walked through the doors of his residence, Craig threw his bag to the floor and reached down to pull the rainbow tank up and over his head. It was a little bit of a struggle getting it off from around his larger muscles but he persevered and began to peel the sweat-soaked tank off of his buff body. What he hadn’t anticipated though was as the tank passed over his head, a sudden chill spread across his body. As soon as the tank was no longer wrapped around him, Craig had been returned to the slender physique of his natural form. All of those beautiful muscles and the impressive strength he had spent the last two hours enjoying had vanished in an instant and all he could do was stare down at himself in disbelief.

For several moments, Craig remained frozen in abject horror. The wave of confidence he had been riding crashed and burned in an instance, leaving behind an uncomfortable knot in his gut and a desperate sense of longing. It must have been the tank, he rationalised, scrambling to pull the rainbow-decorated item back over his upper body. This time it hung loose on his skinny frame, a far cry from how it had stretched across his barrel chest - the sheer difference was more than a little disheartening.

It must take time, he told himself, patiently waiting a minute for his muscles to start inflating. After sixty seconds nothing had happened, nor after two minutes, or even five. The only thing to increase was Craig’s desperation. He’d had a taste of excellence only to have it robbed from him almost immediately. It had been so fleeting that Craig would have chalked it up to some sort of daydream if it wasn’t for the still-prominent burn he felt from the exhausting workout he’d pushed his enhanced body through.

Just as he’d anticipated, Craig slept terribly when he’d finally retreated to bed after drowning his sorrows with a few glasses of wine. His nightmares had involved Joshua pushing him around, even pinning him down and humiliating him by shoving his bare feet right in Craig’s face. The next morning, he woke with a violent start and the nightmare continued to loom over him throughout his working hours like a persistent storm cloud. Despite the lingering negativity, Craig still planned to go to the gym once he had finished up work. He’d even packed the rainbow tank again in the hopes of recreating the circumstances from the previous day.

Sure enough, the concept of coming face to face with Dex and Nolan again provoked even more nerves within Craig as he began his ascent up the staircase towards the top floor gym. He was once again hiding his body under a thick sweater, only this time it was to hide the muscle he’d lost in an instant. There was no way they would haven’t questions if they saw him back in his diminished state. I was so cocky turning Nolan down yesterday! If he sees me like this… oh boy, the humiliation is going to be real…

Craig pictured the personal trainer’s handsome face splitting into a smug smile when he discovered the truth. “I thought you were doing alright on your own, huh?” The voice rang through Craig’s mind so clearly it was as if Nolan was whispering it directly into his ear. A cocktail of emotions - anger, fear and confusion - bubbled away inside of Craig as he thundered up the next few steps, getting so consumed in his own nerves that he once again missed the beginning of his transformation.

Just as they had the day before, his muscles began to expand in a slow but certain fashion with every step he advanced beyond. While he quickly reached similar proportions to the previous day, his transformation actually localised in a few specific areas. The extra changes were perhaps most notable in his pectorals, which spread out into huge slabs of meat and created a firm shelf of flesh on top of a firm yet understated set of abdominals. His mighty pecs even managed to stretch out the loose-fitting sweater, with the tank underneath being stretched across them like a second skin.

Once again overcome by a sudden heat, Craig reached up to pull the sweater up and over his head, and as he did so his changes extended across his facial features and skull. His prominent roman nose lost its pronounced bridge while the nostrils flared wider, and his thin lips became plump and delectable. The bug-like large eyes Craig had always felt a little insecure of took on a smaller shape, his cheekbones rose and his eyebrows thickened to help frame his face into an undeniably handsome visage. The final changes to his face came as thick stubble protruded onto a slightly sharper jawline to completely redecorate the lower half of his face. To end his transformation, Craig’s messy hair underwent its own transformation as it was pushed up into a slick style befitting of somebody trying to impress everyone around him.

For the second day in a row, the young man was caught off guard when he came face-to-face with his reflection at the top of the staircase. But to Craig’s extreme surprise, the reason today was for an entirely new matter. While he’d clung to the hope of seeing his enhanced self from the previous day looking back at him, it was actually something infinitely stranger.

He was instead greeted by the face of Nolan, handsome yet intimidating, and the glorious pecs that Craig had silently admired just the day before. Despite the amazement of seeing another man reflected back at him, Craig felt like all of the breath had been sucked right out of him. Creating an idealised version of himself had been one thing - transforming into another man was definitely something else entirely! What if the real Nolan saw him? That wouldn’t just be difficult to explain, it would be nigh on impossible!

But you don’t have to worry about that, Nolan doesn’t train clients on Thursdays! It was an unexpected thought but Craig knew instinctively that it was the truth. Even though he’d had no contact with Nolan between the trainer’s two attempts to recruit him, Craig was always hyper aware of those around him and that, when combined with his love of patterns, meant that he eventually noticed that the trainer was never present in the gym on Thursday evenings.

With his temporary alarm soothed, Craig allowed himself a moment to consider what his options were. Could he actually get away with entering the gym and having a whole workout session while playing the role of one of the most popular guys there? Craig’s obsessive need to observe everything around him meant that Nolan wasn’t a complete stranger to him. He knew that the trainer loved to snap selfies between sets, that he got in at least five sets on the bench press no matter what his workout focus was supposed to be, and that he was always ensuring his hair was looking good. Doing all those things and playing the part for the duration of a single workout couldn’t really be that hard, right?

Having made his decision, Craig inhaled deeply and stepped through the doors, walking with the same confidence that he had possessed the day before. Just like the day prior, as Craig walked into the gym, a number of people glanced towards the entrance to inspect the new entry. However, this entrance was different, now with even more people nodding in acknowledgement or even raising a hand to wave at him. Craig couldn’t help but grin, relishing in the attention he knew he’d never receive as himself, and waved back before approaching the desk. Dex was working the afternoon shift as usual and greeted him with a smile and a fist bump as seemed to be customary for them.

“Didn’t expect to see you here tonight, bro! What happened to Thursdays being date night?” Dex queried, lounging against the reception desk in a relaxed manner. He’d always had a friendly relationship with Nolan, with their social media channels even indicating that they’d go out clubbing together on occasion.

Craig thought fast for a response to the question. He hadn’t anticipated that there might be a reason for Nolan’s consistent absence on Thursdays, but he supposed it made sense. “Last minute cancellation,” he remarked, only to get caught off guard by the bizarre sensation of another man’s voice leaving his lips. He stumbled over his words as a result and cleared his throat, ignoring Dex’s raised eyebrows. “Thought I’d come in and work off some steam.”

“Makes sense, makes sense,” came Dex’s reply, “Sucks that he did you dirty like that though. Dude’s a fool for it.” The comment hit Craig with the force of a freight train and it was a miracle that his only physical response was to blush. Somehow he’d never picked up on the fact that Nolan was dating other guys! In Craig’s head the personal trainer had been just another one of those guys who picked out women for their looks alone and broke up with them when they discovered that their girlfriends had actual personalities and desires of their own. How wrong was I?! While Nolan had always been of interest to Craig thanks to his good looks and the mighty set of pecs that he was now sporting, the personal trainer had just become a whole lot more interesting with that latest revelation!

Craig was so caught up in considering what this meant for his little act that he didn’t even notice Dex was talking once more until the other clicked his fingers in front of his eyes. Refocusing himself in the present moment, Craig laughed off his temporary daze and listened to his handsome friend’s request for Nolan’s membership card. Uh oh, gotta think fast! He patted down the pockets of his shorts as if feeling for the card only to give up with a heavy sigh.“Man, I was in such a bad mood when I left that I must have forgotten it,” he lamented, scratching at the back of his neck. That small motion was actually a tell for whenever Craig was lying through his teeth, but how would Dex have ever known that?

“I’m not supposed to let anyone in without a pass, but…” Dex began before huffing half-heartedly and shaking his head. “Go on in, man. You’re just lucky it’s me and not the boss on the desk right now!” He was onto something there: Brandon, the gym’s owner, was a real stickler for rules and given his titanesque frame he wasn’t the kind of guy that somebody wanted to piss off. In fact, Craig had always gone out of his way to avoid Brandon due to the goliath’s sheer intimidation factor. A quick scan around the premises confirmed that the boss wasn’t present at all, which allowed the fake Nolan a little bit of relief. At least he wouldn’t have to fake his way through that conversation!

The previous day’s workout had given Craig a brief taste of what it might be like as a bigger guy in the gym, but being there under the guise of Nolan was leaps ahead of even that. He could barely go a few steps without one of the gym regulars wanting to strike up a conversation with him. Craig was thankful for his natural skill at observation as he knew the names of the vast majority and those he didn’t were receptive to simply being called “bro” or “dude”. The words had sounded foreign when spoken in Craig’s own voice, even the day before when he had the body to match, but with Nolan’s delightful tones they sounded completely natural.

After getting in a number of sets on the bench press - pushing more weight than he had the day before, as he’d expected given the huge slabs of meat that were Nolan’s pecs - Craig spared a moment in front of the mirrors to snap a few selfies. He felt no shame in pulling poses and flexing his muscles because it wasn’t his reputation (or lack thereof) on the line, plus it was expected from Nolan. The best part was that Craig would have all of the delightful pictures to keep for himself! They would no doubt help fuel a private moment of arousal or two at some point in the near future and the real Nolan would continue to have no idea…

Just as Craig was starting to get comfortable though, whatever higher power actually existed decided it was time to deliver him a challenge. He returned the barbell he had been military pressing to the rack and turned to find himself face-to-face with the always imposing sight of his tormentor, Joshua. When the hell did he get here?! A ripple of dread spread throughout Craig; it didn’t matter that in Nolan’s body he was a certified stud in his own right, absolutely everyone appeared secondary when compared to the gym’s undeniable alpha male. Joshua’s sudden appearance had caused him to freeze up, his mouth slightly agape, and the lack of greeting prompted the other to scowl.

“You just gonna stand and stare?” the other man grunted. “Believe me, I know there’s a lot to admire.” To prove his point he raised both arms and hit a double bicep flex. The motion sent a jolt of excitement through Craig. As much as he hated it, he couldn’t help but find Joshua’s arrogant attitude incredibly arousing. How somebody could have so much confidence in themselves… It was a completely foreign concept for somebody who had suffered from poor self image for their entire lives.

“Do you want me to stare?” Craig replied through an incredibly dry throat. He was certain that the awkwardness he felt was probably evident on his face; his shaken confidence had left him totally exposed. Pull yourself together, you’re supposed to be Nolan right now! The uber-extroverted personal trainer would never quiver in fear in another’s company, and the thought of alerting somebody that he wasn’t the real Nolan scared him even more than Joshua did. “I mean, what’s up, man?”

The sour-faced alpha stared intently at him for a few moments before letting out a rumbling bark of a laugh. “Are you finished with that yet?” Joshua inquired, nodding towards the loaded barbell. Despite the relatively neutral tone it was delivered in, Craig understood that it wasn’t a question but rather a request: Hurry the fuck up and finish. Joshua hated to be inconvenienced even for the shortest spell of time.

“Uh, yeah, that was my last set,” Craig lied in response. He’d been planning on getting two more sets out until he could really feel the burn in his delts, but he’d do and say anything to get out of the other’s company as swiftly as possible.

“Great,” came the simple response, before Joshua muscled his way in front of Craig and readied himself to use the existing weight as a warm-up set. But of course! He spared one final moment to regard Craig once more, his eyes trailing down to the brightly coloured tank as he did so, before murmuring a quick, “Nice shirt.”

Craig didn’t stick around to reply, nor did he much feel like continuing his workout. The encounter had twisted a knot in his stomach that refused to loosen. His heartbeat was drumming away at an elevated pace in his chest and the foreign nature of Nolan’s body compared to his own suddenly felt incredibly pronounced.

Having learned from his mistake the previous day, Craig didn’t immediately strip out of the tank top once he was back in the safety of his own home. He was still trying to understand the rules of whatever strange situation he had stumbled into, but it seemed logical based upon the previous day’s events that once the garment had been removed, his body reverted back to its natural form. It wasn’t ideal, but it also wasn’t the worst thing in the world. He could still have plenty of fun while keeping the tank top on!

The privacy of his home made Craig even bolder than he had been previously, allowing him to make the daring decision to push his shorts down to leave himself in just the tank top and his boxer briefs. His underwear was stretched tightly around the meaty globes of flesh that made up Nolan’s drool-worthy ass, as well as the proud length of his manhood. For a fleeting moment, Craig paused to consider the ethics of what he was considering, but he quickly dismissed the thought. It wasn’t as if he was ever going to be able to get his hands on Nolan’s junk under any other circumstance, was it? Besides, nobody other than Craig would ever know what he was doing, even if he planned to record the scenario on his cell phone as a keepsake from the extraordinary experience.

It was late into the night, and after a lot of personal fun with Nolan’s body, that Craig finally stripped out of the tank top and allowed his body to return to its normal state. While he’d never exactly been happy with his physique, it felt especially depressing when returning to it from the powerfully built frame of a guy like Nolan. His chest and ass were so very flat, his arms and legs so very thin and his face could hardly match up to Nolan’s good looks. Craig didn’t even dare look in the mirror as he stepped into the bathroom to take a shower; his own reflection suddenly felt like a hostile image.

After another disheartening nightmare where he played the prey to Joshua’s predator, Craig woke up feeling eager to test out a theory he’d been considering the night before. Unfortunately he had to make it through the work day first, but after an eight hour struggle, Craig quickly found himself back at the base of that grand staircase. This time though, the rainbow tank was packed away in his bag and he remained in the shirt and pants he had worn to work that day. There was a spring in his step as Craig began climbing the stairs, thinking about the first time he had worn the tank and transformed into a muscular version of himself. He was anxious to see what awaited him in the mirror at the top, although he had a suspicion he already knew what it would be.

Sure enough, once he had reached the summit of the colossal climb, Craig came face to face with his normal self. There were no enhanced muscles or anything he had enjoyed about his reflection two days previous, it was just plain old Craig. Delightfully dull Craig. Although he was hardly thrilled to see himself in the mirror, he was at least pleased by the fact that the experiment had allowed him to narrow down what the rules and limitations of the strange phenomenon he’d been experiencing actually were.

Dex didn’t work Fridays (or Saturdays, for that matter) so it was Rosie, a stunning redhead who had won a number of bikini competitions over the years, who greeted Craig at the desk. She was none the wiser about his rapidly changing physique and barely even managed a smile in his direction as she scanned his membership card and allowed him in. The lack of perception was a startling contrast to what he had experienced over the previous two days but Craig didn’t take it too personally. Unlike many of the guys in the gym, he didn’t care much for Rosie - she didn’t exactly have the physical equipment he was fond of, so to speak. Instead, he made his way into the locker room and ensured that nobody was present before beginning to strip out of his work clothes. He felt horribly exposed, his own negative perception making his slender body appear practically skeletal to himself. This perception was especially heightened for the young man due to the buffer bodies he had recently found himself inside of. In comparison, Craig looked down and all he saw was the runt of the litter. As such, he was practically scrambling to get the tank top up and over his torso just to try and eliminate the sense of vulnerability.

After waiting a whole two minutes in the surprisingly calm and quiet locker room, it became clear that Craig wasn’t undergoing any changes to his unimpressive physique. This had been the second of the theories he had wanted to test out, and although it was disappointing, it allowed him to narrow things down further. Maybe he’d never completely understand what was happening to him, but he was hopeful that these experiments could at least teach him how to best take advantage of it!

Hiding both the tank and his scrawny physique under an oversized sweater and track pants, Craig made his way out into the gym and began his workout. However, after attempting just a few beginning warmups, it soon became clear that his reduced capabilities compared to the previous few days had seriously harmed his motivation. He simply felt so weak, like a kid in a room full of adults. Before long it was simply too much for Craig to bear and he cut his workout short after only thirty minutes, fleeing the locker room and down the staircase with considerable haste.

Tomorrow’s another day, he reminded himself as he got back into his car. It would be Saturday too, and without work Craig would be able to head to the gym much earlier in the day. Although it was impossible for him to not feel disheartened given his failure to produce another transformation, there was still a burgeoning optimism inside of him. His eternally curious nature encouraged him to take his research online, but it was difficult to identify what he was even supposed to be searching for. With limited options and nowhere else to really turn, Craig ended up creating his own discussion thread on a subreddit for “Supernatural Happenings”. In the post, he detailed everything that had happened to him and what his testing had uncovered. However, as to not risk outing himself or his general location, Craig elected to leave out his own name and the name of his gym. It was selfish and he knew it, but he didn’t want anybody else to be able to take advantage of his discovery.

Craig checked the subreddit the following morning and sure enough, it had received a dozen or so replies. Two thirds of them were people ridiculing him or accusing him of being a prankster, and there were a few other messages demanding to know the location of where his transformations were taking place, or requesting videos of his transformations in progress.

However, there was one message that stood out to him though, posted by someone under the username BryceTheCrafter. An investigation of their account revealed it had only been created the previous day, which usually would have suggested the fact that it was some sort of troll account. However, while reading the message, Craig gained faith in the validity of the brand new user, especially since their comments lined up quite nicely with what Craig had been thinking anyway.

It’s possible that the shirt you purchased is a magical object, but its power isn’t potent enough to work alone, the comment began. As such, it needs to come into contact with another magical source in order to activate, and it seems to me like this gym staircase you mention in your story might be it. That’s probably why you felt compelled to buy the shirt in the first place, and why you’re drawn to thinking about who or what you want to be when you make your way into the gym. Call this an educated theory from an expert source. Truthfully, I think you’re a very lucky man to have stumbled onto this!

Even if nothing else about the comment was correct, there was definitely one thing that “BryceTheCrafter” had gotten right: Craig was incredibly lucky!

Once he was out of the house and in his vehicle, Craig spent the journey thinking about precisely who he wanted to become for his daily workout. Of course, he could quite happily go back to the idealised version of himself or Nolan, but there were plenty of other possibilities too. One possibility loomed large among them all - Joshua - but the thought of trying to convince anyone he was the most intimidating jock in the city caused Craig’s anxiety to flare up.

No, he’d have to stick to safer options. Thankfully, there was one name that was just as appealing as Nolan had been, and it was that individual that Craig kept in the forefront of his mind as he ascended up the many flights of stairs to the doors of the gym.

At the bottom of the staircase he had felt like something of a fool standing there in the billowing tank top and the roomy shorts, but it wasn’t long before the suspected magical properties of the staircase began taking care of things. This time though, Craig was alert and focused on the changes he could feel happening to him as he journeyed towards the top floor. The gentle caress of an invisible pair of hands worked each and every one of Craig’s muscles, massaging and stretching them out to thicker and sturdier proportions. Superior proportions, he told himself.

While his transformation into Nolan had focused upon his pecs, sculpting them into mountains of inviting muscle, this time the changes were most accelerated around his lower half. His quads exploded with newfound power, ballooning with such ferocious muscle that it seemed highly likely that a watermelon could be crushed between them with ease.

His narrow feet widened, causing strain at the edges of his sneakers, while his calves blossomed into the beautiful diamonds to be expected of somebody who never skipped leg day.

While Craig’s glutes had taken on a delightful form both as the improved version of his natural self and as Nolan, it reached pure perfection with his latest transformation. His strong legs were accompanied by cheeks so perfectly spherical that there wasn’t a set of pants anywhere on the planet that could hide such a delectable sight!

Even though there was no doubt that the lower half was the star of the show, Craig wasn’t left with an underdeveloped upper half either. His chest expanded to now-familiar broad proportions while his shoulders were pulled further apart by those invisible hands and allowed to settle at a much wider position.

A tickling sensation spread down his back as his lats flared out to create a vast tapestry of muscular art even while his waistline remained impressively tight to create the triangular structure that was sought after by bodybuilders.

At his sides, the unimposing lengths of Craig’s arms took on a new monolithic quality as years of intense training were downloaded into them and the smooth palms of his hands became rough with callouses, as if he’d spent the better part of his adult life deadlifting like Dex had.

Not even his fingers were exempt from the changes, Craig discovered, watching in fascination as the digits grew thicker to better match the brawny appearance of his mighty arms.

For the second time in three days, the thin whiskers that adorned Craig’s chin were joined by an army of dark bristles until his jawline was decorated with thick brown stubble. It wasn’t the only hair to appear on him, as a healthy handful sprouted from his armpits while more spread across the beautiful canvas of his chest and the expanse of all four of his powerful limbs.

The final few steps of the staircase saw Craig’s facial features shifting, with his brow becoming heavier and his lips thinner until he had taken on another visage that was incredibly familiar to him: that of the handsome gym employee Dex.

After finishing his ascent, Craig stepped in front of the large mirror outside of the gym’s main doors and lifted up his arms to strike a double bicep flex. With each and every transformation, he was beginning to feel more comfortable with his poses, especially given all the practice he’d had as Nolan a few days prior. Much to Craig’s general dismay, Dex had never actually been the type to show off his gorgeous muscles with frequent flexing and shameless selfies (hell, Dex’s Instagram profile was almost exclusively wildlife photography!), but all that would be changing for the duration that Craig was adopting the other man’s appearance and identity. As if I’d ever let these guns go to waste!

Entering through the doors to the gym, Craig received a similar response from the gathered regulars that he had when he’d been under the guise of Nolan. In fact, the personal trainer was even there, grinning at who he presumed to be one of his close friends. Given all the recent practice he’d had as speaking “Gym Bro”, Craig didn’t feel quite as nervous about any possible conversations he might have while pretending to be Dex. All he had to do was act all upbeat between sets and then super intense during the exercises and he’d have the other man’s habits completely nailed!

His first test came quickly, as Rosie worked the desk on Saturday mornings, and she immediately paid him more attention than she had the day before. “That’s a cute tank top, Dex!” she exclaimed, her voice as sweet as candy. It was the worst kept secret in the whole gym that Rosie was crushing pretty hard on Dex, only he had never seemed to reciprocate. Thinking back to Dex’s wandering eyes when he had entered as his muscular self earlier in the week Craig thought he had a pretty good idea why that was the case. Just like for Craig himself, Rosie didn’t quite have the sort of equipment Dex was looking to work with.

“Thanks sweetheart,” Craig replied enthusiastically, enjoying the deep rumble of Dex’s voice that left his lips. He could quite easily understand why Rosie crushed on her coworker so much: Dex was dreamy in a number of different ways, and Craig was relishing being up close and involved with each and every one of them.

Hell, he even enjoyed the way Rosie blushed at the pet name he’d used for her, even if he didn’t intend to make anything more of it than he had to. It was just nice to think that he was turning somebody on without even really having to try - his love life back in his natural form had been almost completely nonexistent, with the few times he’d actually gone on dates with guys he’d met on Grindr ending with him getting ghosted. It was something he had come to depressingly anticipate, but there was no way anybody would ever dare ghost a guy who looked and sounded like Dex!

There was no contemplation necessary for Craig to decide what he’d be training while having access to Dex’s body. He’d secretly lusted after the man’s legs from the first moment he’d seen the gym employee wearing his delightfully skimpy shorts. There was a stark difference between the thin twigs of Craig’s own legs and the thick columns that he had in Dex’s form, so Craig couldn’t wait to see how that translated in terms of training them. As such, he was quickly on his way to one of the many squat racks the gym had to offer. Under normal circumstances, Craig had always shied away from the areas that the more serious lifters occupied, but as Dex he fit right in, so why not seize the opportunity to throw some big boy weights around?

Loading a couple of plates onto each side of the barbell, Craig then stepped under it until he felt the cold chill of the steel bar against his prominent trap muscles. Then, after a deep breath, he pushed through his powerful legs and brought the bar up and off of the rack, stepping clear to give himself some space. Once he was certain he was ready, Craig carefully lowered himself into a deep squat before driving back up to his upright position in an impressive explosion of power! Despite the weight resting on his shoulders, he moved like a fish through water as he swiftly repeated the motion nine more times to complete his set. Although he’d been expecting it, Craig was still amazed at just how easy it all was - the strength he got to experience through bodies like Dex’s was forever awe-inspiring. No, not just awe-inspiring. It was addicting.

It took an impressive number of plates on either side of the bar before Craig really started to feel the burn in his quads. However, anytime he felt any real strain or anxiety, Craig was fuelled by a single thought: You are Dex and Dex can do this. That was all the motivation that he needed to push through. Adrenaline rushed through his veins like a prize horse at the races, helping Craig dig into strength reserves he could never have imagined having. By the time he’d finished up at the squat rack some thirty minutes later, Craig had tripled his own personal best record. He didn’t know how that quite matched up to Dex’s own achievements, but it was enough of a success for him to celebrate! He was flying high on cloud nine and absolutely nothing could bring him down.

Well, there was one thing. One person, in fact.

Just as Craig had moved over the weightlifting platforms, ready to try his hand at some deadlifts, he’d spied a familiar but rather unwelcome face entering the gym. Joshua. Even though the size difference between the two was even further reduced than it had been when Craig had taken Nolan’s appearance, he still felt dread trickle down his back and worm its way through his psyche. He hated that the other man triggered such an intense response from him, but such things were outside of his control. Joshua had been an intimidating presence in Craig’s life for the better part of a year, it seemed that couldn’t simply be undone overnight or through a revolving door of bodies.

Mercifully, Joshua’s workout focus for that morning was on his strong simian-like arms, so he remained a distance away from the weightlifting platforms. Craig did his best to shrug off his emotional response to the other’s presence and focus back on his workout, but it didn’t help that deadlifts had always caused him more anxiety than any other exercise. He was always concerned that his form was terrible and would make him the subject of mockery around such experienced powerlifters. That concern wasn’t entirely dissipated by his facade of being Dex either, if anything the pressure was higher. As if Dex would ever let that get to him though…

Clutching onto the remnants of his earlier triumph, Craig loaded up the bar with a forty pound plate either side and assumed the proper position. He kept his eyes trained on the mirror, ensuring that his back was straight and his ass wasn’t too high up, before driving up through the powerful limbs to bring the bar up towards his hips as he thrust them forwards. He held the position for a moment before carefully returning to his starting position and then working through several more reps.

His legs were already burning from his earlier squats and his brow was dripping with sweat, but Craig still decided to add an extra twenty pound plate on each side of the bar. One-hundred and twenty pounds in the plates and forty-five pounds for the bar… it was an intimidating number to somebody who only sparingly included deadlifts into his training, but Dex’s body soon proved that it was up to the task. Craig felt like a superhero as he worked through each set, adding his own grunts of exertion to the running soundtrack within the gym. However, after multiple sets, Craig had finally hit his limit and even Dex’s mighty body declared that it couldn’t take anymore.

While in the process of returning the plates to the racks, Craig’s natural curiosity led him to look around the gym. The intensity of his workout had discouraged most people from approaching even despite Dex’s personable nature, but he’d exchanged a few greetings in his rest periods and experienced the same thrill he’d had when conversing with Rosie at the desk. As himself, he was a horrifically awkward mess in conversation, but as Dex or Nolan, it just seemed to come so easily to him! A quick scan of the gym confirmed that a number of the usual faces were there besides just Joshua and Nolan. One such face was Brandon, the absolute tank of a man who owned the gym and emitted an intoxicating manly scent whenever he worked up a sweat, not that anybody dared tell him for fear of getting banned. In fact, he was the only person Joshua showed any level of respect to, which was definitely saying something!

As his eyes traveled over towards where Joshua was curling sixty pound dumbbells, the other man unexpectedly turned and caught his eye. Craig’s whole body tensed for an instant before he internally screamed at himself to play it cool. After a moment’s hesitation he gave a stiff nod of greeting which was returned a second later, although it was accompanied by the cold sneer that seemed to have permanent residence upon Joshua’s otherwise handsome face.

Rather than risk the possibility of actually having to engage Joshua - or Brandon, for that matter - in conversation, Craig quickly made his way into the locker room with his bag. From inside, he pulled out a plain black tee and, keeping the rainbow tank top on of course, slipped it up and over his head. The tee had always been a fairly loose fit on his own frame, but on Dex it was stretched out over his muscles and highlighted the power of his arms and chest. Grinning and winking at the handsome reflection in the mirror, Craig threw his bag over his shoulder and made his way out of the gym and down the long staircase.

During his descent, Craig busied himself by opening a new profile on a certain app that had gone weeks without use. He had almost deleted Grindr thanks to the repetitive humiliation it had caused him, but his desperation to be desired had encouraged him to keep it in the off-chance that he might find his Prince Charming in the maze of fuckbois and creepy uncles.

However, with his new appearance, Craig realized that he now had a reason to be glad for its presence. He was confident that this new profile would bring him greater luck in the hookup pool, especially as he’d filled the profile with pictures he’d taken during his workout that showed off Dex’s powerful muscles. His reasoning for doing as such was actually fairly simple: his earlier thoughts about how he’d have no trouble garnering interest from guys in Dex’s body had returned to the forefront of his mind while he’d been checking himself out and he wanted to put that test to the theory.

Sure enough it didn’t take long for Craig’s new and improved Grindr profile to get flooded with messages, ranging from corny pick-up lines to more lewd remarks that truthfully got him a bit hot under the collar. Much to his joy, some of those messages were even from guys who had previously ghosted him or outright told him they were out of his league. How about we turn the tables on those assholes, hey?

Eric was one such guy who had sent Craig’s heart for a trip in the past. His profile showed off a pretty decent body with gorgeous sloping traps and a trail of fur that travelled down between his abs. To Craig’s surprise, Eric wasn’t the type to start things off with a picture of his junk (which was more than could be said for a lot of the other guys). Back on his old profile Craig had actually exchanged messages with Eric for a few days before the replies suddenly dried up without an explanation. Now that he was working with Dex’s good looks though, suddenly Eric was back and thirsting for attention. The cold rejection lingered in Craig’s mind as he replied to the other man’s message and organised to meet at Eric’s place. Let’s get this real life Catfish on the road, shall we?

There was a skip in Craig’s step as he walked the few blocks to the address that he had been given and even though there were some nerves - this would be his first Grindr hookup in almost a year - they were overruled by the excitement. Sure, he knew that what he was doing was morally wrong because he wasn’t really Dex, but he was drunk on the thrill that it gave him. It’s not like Dex will ever find out, he told himself as he knocked on the apartment door. Just another little secret for me to keep… and replay in my dreams!

Eric seemed a little flummoxed by Craig’s decision to keep his shirt on but it wasn’t long before his mouth was too occupied to ask any more probing questions. Craig put everything Dex’s body had to offer to good use and relished the opportunity to take the lead, something that had never been afforded to him in the past. Most guys he’d met through Grindr saw him as someone they could dominate and then ditch; his own pleasure had always been secondary to theirs. Truthfully, Craig was adopting some of that mentality in his current scenario. He didn’t really care about Eric, he was just another avenue to help Craig get the pleasure that had been wrongfully denied him for so long.

The efforts of his morning workout followed by the midday hookup had Craig feeling drowsy, so when he got home he quickly stripped down to the nude (letting his body revert to its naturally smaller state) and disappeared under the covers for an early afternoon nap. His day wasn’t over though, not by a long shot! He already had afternoon plans that involved going back to the gym, only this time he’d be taking on yet another identity. His up-close and detailed exploration of Eric’s body during their hookup had sparked his interest and he wanted to see how the man’s form matched up to the likes of Nolan, Dex and of course his own idealised form.

One major difference Eric had when compared to the previous bodies Craig had shifted into was his height. Nolan and Dex were both around six feet tall, with Craig himself just a few inches shorter. This was different with Eric though, as the man stood at a proud six-foot-five that would certainly cause him to tower over any other gym goers. This then led to the rather strange - but still pleasing - sensation of Craig’s body being stretched out vertically as he made his way back up the gym staircase for the second time that day.

While the toning of his muscles perhaps wasn’t quite to the same extremes as it had been with Nolan and Dex, it was still a marked improvement over Craig’s real form. The man spared a look down at himself to watch as his pecs expanded and prompted the tank top to spread out across them until it was a picture perfect fit!

As he ascended the final few stairs, Craig let a hand venture under the tank top to feel the rippling abdominal muscles beneath. They gave him a pretty good idea of what he was going to do for his second workout of the day; he’d always avoided doing much core work due to his general inability to do a proper sit-up or hold a plank for very long, but when he already had abs to work with it didn’t seem so daunting anymore. In fact, he was rather excited for the challenge it would provide.

Eric wasn’t even a member at the gym, which meant that Craig didn’t need to be concerned about running into his identical match or meeting anyone who might want to strike up a conversation with him. He was able to pay the small fee for a guest pass at the desk - where Rosie had only seemed mildly interested in exchanging professional pleasantries with him, a stark contrast to how she’d acted during Craig’s entrance as Dex earlier - and he was let loose in the gym like a kid in a playground. Truthfully, it was fair to say that this was his playground now, and he was having the absolute time of his life!

For the next forty-five minutes, Craig pushed himself to the limit with a combination of cable crunches, hanging leg raises, weighted russian twists and more. His core burned as he settled into a plank position but, despite his body’s protests, he didn’t drop down to the mat until he’d held it for almost three minutes. From there he moved onto the treadmill, putting the same stamina that he’d enjoyed from Eric earlier in the day to the test. His long legs made powerful strides and by the time he finally felt like he could run no more, he was dripping with sweat and yet still wearing a proud grin. Had he ever crammed so much fun into a single Saturday before?

Although his real physical form saw no improvements as a result of the extended time he was spending in the gym, there was a subtle shift in Craig’s psyche triggered every time he underwent another transformation. His exposure to the lives of the gym’s more popular residents had helped chip away at the social anxiety that had haunted him in the past. With every passing day he was becoming more and more certain in his decisions and rather than fear what might happen if he was ever discovered, he actually found the idea of hiding in plain sight a real thrill. It felt good to be living a little dangerously for once!

Over the next two weeks Craig returned to the gym on a daily basis - twice on Saturdays, repeating the fun he’d had as Dex and Eric - and broadened the array of identities he could hide behind. He’d returned to the idealised version of himself twice and had engaged Dex in conversation at the desk upon entering. The other man had no idea that Craig had borrowed his identity for both a workout and a Grindr hookup, and the privilege of that knowledge made Craig’s shorts a little tighter around the crotch. For the first time in his life, he felt like he genuinely held more power than others and he absolutely loved it. In fact, he supposed he was starting to understand why guys like Joshua developed such huge egos if this was how they felt all of the time.

While he hadn’t made use of Dex’s image for any more hookups, Craig was quite happy to use Grindr as an auditioning process for bodies he might want to try out. One such guy was Richard, a beefy construction worker just a few short years away from fourty. His dark hair was already beginning to turn silver at parts and his large frame was decorated with a number of gorgeous tribal tattoos. Craig had wanted to see more of them for himself, so logically he decided to keep Richard in mind as he next made his way up that magical staircase.

Sure enough, as he reached the top floor and looked into the mirror, Craig’s body had been completely replaced with the mature tattooed hunk. Seeing the rainbow tank top stretched over the huge muscles of his torso prompted Craig to smirk as he snapped a few pictures before even entering the gym.

His fun only continued as he went to the front desk for a guest pass, watching as the usually relaxed Dex had become completely smitten with Craig’s new form, clumsily stumbling over his words. The gym employee was doing his best not to stare inappropriately at the display of mature beef in front of him, but his efforts were mostly unsuccessful. It probably didn’t help that Craig was deliberately coming up with ways to tense and flex his muscles as they spoke, working him up into a flustering frenzy.

While they hadn’t had the opportunity to privately enjoy themselves due to the presence of Dex’s boss in the gym, Craig filed Dex’s certain attraction to Richard’s body away in his mind for future use. He’d enjoyed a carnal encounter from Dex’s perspective and he was definitely interested in experiencing the reverse too. While he’d played Dex as a top, it seemed the other actually liked the idea of being dominated by a stronger man. While Craig might have once struggled to portray that kind of commanding presence, his recent adventures had him feeling rather confident he could pull it off and have Dex quivering in delight.

It became commonplace for Craig to head out to a bar after his workout, hiding the tank top under a size large button-down that he’d purchased for that precise reason. Richard’s body was a big hit at the local sports bar and he even had some poor drunk and horny fool request a flexing show from him. It was a request he had been all too happy to fulfill, and the cheering he received from the gathered crowd only spurred him on further. They were putty in his hands, excitedly admiring the way the sleeves of his shirt were strained against the massive biceps as he flexed, the muscles teasing the notion that they might split the seams at any moment.

The next day Craig elected to lean further into the bear aesthetic, styling himself after another profile that he’d been successfully catfishing using Dex’s identity. Judging by their conversations Logan actually seemed like an incredibly sweet guy, but it was his beefy body that Craig was primarily interested in. Logan was tall, passing even Eric in height as the man clocked in at six-foot-six, and powerfully built, with a healthy spread of hair all across his body. Chief among Logan’s most beautiful qualities was the thick beard that gave him a distinct mature look despite his relative youth. Craig’s footsteps thundered louder than ever as he ascended the final few stairs to inspect himself in the mirror; he had to be a hundred pounds heavier but he was a hundred times happier for it too!

Logan made a predictably great host for the day. Craig had taken his beefy body down to the local pool and enjoyed the stares of admiration and scandal as he swaggered around in a tiny speedo that left very little to the imagination. Would the real Logan have been so bold? Craig would never know, because he didn’t plan to have him ever find out!

Wanting to keep his experiments rather varied, Craig’s next choice was Ian, another guy who had once ghosted Craig on the very same app he was now aggressively pursuing “Dex” on. Ian’s body was lean and compact - he’d enthused about his daily cardio routine in some of their back-and-forth messaging - but it was the other’s clean-shaven scalp that most stood out to Craig. It was a totally different look for him, but one that he appreciated just as much as guys with a wild mane of hair. In fact, it even harkened back to his day as a horny teen only just discovering his interest in men. Thank you for the gay awakening, Stone Cold Steve Austin…

Sure enough, Ian’s stamina was everything he had touted it to be, as Craig used his body for the duration of a cardio-only workout. He’d dominated the rowing machine and the stair climber, not even fussing when he broke into a heavy sweat. He actually enjoyed the cardio, just as Ian had told him he had, and that raised some more questions in Craig’s mind. Was it possible that he was adopting the traits of the people he was transforming into, and what happened to those traits once he became himself again? His growing confidence suggested that at least part of them stayed with him, but he supposed that it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. If anything, he was feeling better than he ever had before.

Within a week of his first transformation, Craig had reshaped his entire life to focus entirely on exploring different identities at the gym. The first time he’d called in sick to work just so he could get to the gym early in the morning, he’d felt a little guilty. By the fifth time, he simply didn’t care anymore. His boss had demanded that he get a doctor’s note to explain his absence but Craig simply couldn’t bring himself to care anymore. Why should he have to bother with such trivial things as a nine-to-five job when he had genuine magic within his grasp? Surely he had grown beyond such simplistic concepts!

The more time he spent in the gym, the less he found himself feeling intimidated by Joshua’s mere presence. Now, it wasn’t as if Craig was actively engaging the other in conversation, but he no longer felt the urge to flee the gym immediately when the other man arrived. I have every right to be here too, he would remind himself before doubling down on whatever exercise he was currently working through. There had been a handful of times that he’d crossed paths with his former tormentor while he was hidden under another man’s appearance, but there were never many words said between them which was quite alright with Craig.

On the other hand, his growing confidence had reinvigorated an old idea within the shapeshifting individual: was there really anything to stop him from trying his hand at being Joshua? He had the perfect body after all, and the arrogant personality couldn’t be too hard to fake, even for a quieter individual like Craig. As with when he’d taken the forms of his fellow gym members, he’d have to be careful not to run into the real Joshua while transformed, but that wasn’t too difficult to organise. Just like with Nolan and Dex, he’d seen enough of the other to construct a rough timeline of when Joshua worked out and when he took his rest days, so Craig was confident that he’d be able to pick out a fitting time to do it.

It wasn’t even very long before the opportunity finally presented itself. Craig had deduced that Joshua usually trained for six days and then took a rest day, but sometimes he took an unpredictable rest day in the middle of the week to throw off the pattern. It was an irritation for sure, but the issue was resolved through a simple case of listening into Joshua’s conversation with Brandon, one of the few people who didn’t do their best to avoid the obnoxious meathead. Joshua had been informing the gym owner that he was taking a weekend out of town to visit his “beta bitch of a brother”, although he was apparently much more interested in meeting his brother’s new girlfriend, judging by the lewd remarks he’d made about her tits and ass. Even better, Brandon had also confirmed that he’d be away on the same weekend for a mini-vacation. Looks like I’ve got my weekend plans sorted too!

Despite the sheer number of times he had made use of the staircase’s special ability, it never felt any less invigorating, but the knowledge that he was transforming into Joshua made the next ascent so much sweeter than any of the ones before it. His delicate frame had doubled - no, tripled - in size as he took long strides, his excitement encouraging him to climb the three storeys faster than he’d ever done before.

The widening of his lats forced Craig’s arms further out from his sides even as his biceps and triceps flared until his upper arms were the size of footballs and decorated by a cobweb of veins thanks to the bully’s extreme definition. His trap muscles rose further than ever before, the giant mountains creating a perfect slope from his thick neck down to his broad shoulders.

Craig’s short hair crept down around his ears to form a cut that wouldn’t look out of place on a

Craig was already beginning to tent his pants at the mere thought of becoming such an intimidating presence within the gym. His recent experiences had allowed him to become the subject of lustful thoughts from others, sure, but that was nothing like the fear Joshua could invoke within people. It’s my turn to be the alpha! The air around Craig was electric; his energy and excitement simply couldn’t be contained.

As he swaggered through the doors of the gym, a sudden hush came over all of the individuals training within. It lasted for just a brief moment before they went back to faking that they weren’t affected by “Joshua’s” presence, but it was enough to bring an arrogant smirk to Craig’s face. Now that’s an entrance, he thought proudly as he made his way to the reception desk where Rosie was waiting for him, a faint blush decorating her cheeks. Of course she’d be crushing on Joshua too. Still, Craig knew it was something he could use to his advantage and he planned to.

“Forgot my card back in my car,” he grunted, leaning across the desk until there were mere inches between the two of them. “That’s not going to be an issue, is it, babe?”

Just as he’d expected, Rosie melted underneath the intensity of his gaze and the deep rumbling of his voice. Craig himself was still very much not straight but he saw no harm in playing with her feelings when it benefited him. He’d come to accept that his morals had been thrown out of the window a long time ago, and a bit of manipulative flirting was hardly the worst thing he’d done in recent times.

The two hours that followed were some of the most fun Craig had ever had in the gym. Not only was he able to use Joshua’s incredible strength to curl, push, pull, squat and deadlift absolutely any weight he wanted, but he didn’t ever have to weight for one of the machines to free up. It seemed that whenever he approached an area, all of the people gathered there scattered, evidently terrified of getting on his bad side. With every passing moment it became more and more impossible to ignore that he was living the life of a king and everybody else in the gym was just one of his subjects, some more pathetic and undeserving of his majestic presence than others. Indeed, even though Craig knew full well how it felt to be on the end of Joshua’s judgment, he found himself sneering in disgust at a few heavier-set guys stumbling along on the treadmills. It was now impossible for him to ignore the fact that his transformations were having an effect on his thought process: in his own mind he was proud of them for trying to make a positive change to their body, but as Joshua he was disgusted by the sight of them!

Once he’d achieved the perfect pump and snapped approximately a thousand selfies, Craig left the gym, but he wasn’t quite done with Joshua’s body. He’d once again opened a new profile on Grindr and had a whole bunch of fun lined up for the afternoon. There was no shortage of people wanting to worship all of his incredible muscles, including familiar faces like Eric and Ian, and who was Craig to deny them that privilege?

By the time he made it home that evening, he’d blown his load no less than eight times. He’d recorded some of the encounters for his own pleasure too and planned to rewatch some of those clips before heading to bed. I definitely need to have more Joshua days, he decided as he pulled off the tank and watched the gorgeous muscles dwindle away. It was always a disappointing experience, but he knew that he simply wouldn’t sleep if he didn’t take the tank off and return to his natural form. Joshua’s body was too damn addictive.

The intensity of the previous day’s events caused Craig to sleep in later than he had at any point during his three weeks of wearing the tank top. The nightmares he’d been having about Joshua had long since stopped - these days his dreams recounted the events of his adventures with the rainbow tank top and all the joy and pleasures it had brought him. Of course it had also cost him his job, as his boss had fired him when he stopped even trying to give an excuse for why he wasn’t showing up, but that seemed like such a minor inconvenience in the grand scheme of things. All the more time to spend in the gym!

By the time Craig made it to the exterior of the gym, it was already midday and he was shaking with eagerness to get up those flights of stairs and into a new identity. Indeed, he’d been so eager that he’d forgotten to wear his jacket on the short walk from his vehicle to the doors. It was a habit he’d gotten into just to make sure nobody from the gym saw him in his skinnier physique as opposed to the more muscular man they’d seen in the gym on odd days over the past few weeks. He’d always been lucky to show up to the gym without anybody else around but his luck finally ran out, and of course it would be in the presence of the person he least wanted to see at that moment!

Craig’s fingers had been inches away from the door handle when the door had swung inwards and the space was filled by a wall of muscle. The lanky man admired the massive set of pecs in front of his face before dragging his eyes up to put a face to the giant obstacle. Oh no. It was Joshua! All of the breath fled from Craig’s lungs at once. You’re supposed to be away all weekend! Why the hell was he back earlier than planned? His mind was a minefield of terrified thoughts as he stared dumbly up at the man whose life he had taken for a joyride just some twelve hours earlier!

“You gonna get outta my way, shrimp?” Joshua grunted, looking him up and down in utter disgust. For the first time in a while, Craig felt dreadfully exposed, the tendrils of anxiety worming their way back through him to grip at his thundering heart.

He stumbled back several paces to clear the way for Joshua and kept his gaze down at his feet, completely reverting back to the introverted submissive he had been before discovering the rainbow tank top. He hated how easily Joshua had ripped all of the confidence away from him - what gave him such a right to hold that much power, even if Craig himself had enjoyed that same power the day before?

Although his intentions had been to adopt Brandon’s titanesque form for that day’s workout, the encounter with Joshua continued to linger in Craig’s mind as he passed through the open door and stopped at the bottom of the staircase. Could he really risk being caught out as the gym boss? What if Brandon had come back from his vacation early as well? There would be absolutely no way of him explaining himself! No, he had to look outside of his usual options, but he also desperately wanted a body that would bring his confidence back…

Unlocking his cell phone, Craig initially motioned to log into one of his Grindr accounts but instead changed course and opened up Instagram. As his life had grown more and more focused on the gym, he had found himself following the profiles of numerous fitness influencers. After all, if he was going to convince people that he knew what he was doing, he should probably start learning about the most effective exercises to complete.

While there were no shortages of attractive guys who had captured his attention, there was one who stood out among the rest: Kieron Kelley, an LA-native who had sponsorship deals with seemingly every mainstream fitness brand as well as a successful YouTube channel. Craig was surprised that the idea to try out Kieron’s identity had never occurred to him before, but he knew that it was absolutely what he needed given the trauma he had just experienced. Kieron was definitely what he needed to bounce back!

Keeping the fitness influencer’s handsome face and delectable body in mind as he began climbing the staircase, Craig did everything he could to push his encounter with Joshua to the very back of his mind.

Instead, he thought about the perfect cobblestone abs that he had seen so many times in Kieron’s various thirst trap posts. Kieron definitely knew his audience - even though he was straight, he posted a lot of content that would appeal specifically to his gay followers and was politically ambiguous enough to keep his varied fanbase happy. Considering the stress he had worked up in such a short space of time, Craig was already thinking that he would need more than just a workout to calm him down. Maybe he could make a fourth Grindr account and see if anybody felt like hooking up with a famous influencer…

Dex was working the desk that morning and his wide-eyed reaction to seeing “Kieron Kelley” enter the gym was priceless. He wasn’t the only one to stop and take note either - there was hardly a person in the gym who wasn’t looking in amazement towards him. Half of the guys there had probably wished to have Kieron’s body and life at some point but none of them could. Only Craig got that privilege and he was never planning to share it!

Approaching the reception desk with a bit of swagger in his step, Craig enjoyed the nerves his appearance had evoked within Dex. “Hey man, you think I can get a guest pass?” he requested, flashing the other man a smile that he knew would make Dex weak at the knees. It was the same smile that had provoked such a reaction from Craig himself whenever he watched Kieron’s YouTube videos. “The name’s Kieron Kelley, by the way.”

“I- uh- I know who you are,” Dex stammered out in response, continuing to gape in amazement while his hands fished around for the keyboard and mouse to get the new arrival signed up for a guest pass. “I follow you. I mean, I’m a fan,” he attempted to explain, “On your social media. Sorry, that sounded weird.” Craig just laughed. Even when he’d used Richard’s hunky older form, Dex hadn’t gotten so worked up. This was brand new and a lot of fun. “Hey, I like your shirt! I’ve been seeing it on guys here a lot lately. Been meaning to get myself one actually, but I haven’t seen it in any stores yet…”

“Must be a limited supply. I don’t even remember where I got mine,” Craig lied. He’d known it was inevitable that people started noticing the rainbow tank top but the last thing he wanted was for people to start asking questions about it. “Now, about that guest pass?”

The various forms he had taken over the past few weeks had made Craig an expert at sweet-talking people, Dex most of all thanks to all the attention he had been paying him. All it took was for him to pop his pectoral muscles in a display of playfulness and the other man was like putty in his hands. It even helped Craig forget about his frustrations over his encounter with Joshua, which he was thankful for. Maybe he’d even try asking Dex out on a real date at some point, although he’d have to be under the guise of his muscular self rather than the natural form that Craig could no longer see as anything other than entirely underwhelming and not at all representative of who he was as a man.

Once the guest pass had been secured, the pretend-influencer enjoyed his walk towards the locker room. He didn’t even need to glance around to know that almost every pair of eyes were on him. To many of the younger guys gathered in the gym he looked like their absolute ideal; he might as well be a god to them! The girls had plenty to enjoy too, but as always, Craig’s rule for them was that they could look but not touch. He was rather certain about what he liked, even if Kieron himself was supposed to be straight. Being straight in Pride Month, can you imagine? It might as well be a crime.

Striding confidently into the locker room, the fake Kieron nodded in greeting at the small group of guys gathered there, all of whom appeared stunned to see him. That’s a reaction I could get used to seeing, Craig thought to himself. Perhaps he’d have to put Kieron’s form into his regular rotation and enjoy the celebrity treatment a little more often.

Given the response he’d already received upon his entrance, the very last thing Craig had expected at that moment was to find himself getting pushed face-first against the lockers and pinned there with an aggressive amount of force. The locker room cleared out immediately, leaving Craig alone with whoever his attacker was. Even before the other spoke though, he knew deep in his gut who it would be. “Nice shirt you got there, Kieron Kelley,” Joshua’s voice hissed directly into his ear. “Not at all a coincidence that I just saw some scrawny punk wearing it two minutes ago and he’s somehow disappeared now, right?”

Craig’s body was seized by a sudden dread. His heart skipped a beat, his mouth went dry and he felt completely winded. “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he growled in response, although his words were muffled given he was trapped tight between Joshua’s hard body and the unforgiving lockers. “Get the fuck off me, man! Don’t you know who I am?”

His protests were met by mocking laughter. “Yeah, I know who you are. Who you really are.” He can’t know, there’s know way he knows! “I’m not as dumb as you think I am, you know. I noticed all these new guys showing up wearing that obnoxious rainbow tank and being all cocky. I saw Dex and Nolan in it too but when I asked them about it they said they didn’t even own one. That’s pretty wild, right?” Craig’s heart thundered in his chest. This was his worst nightmare come to life. How, of all people, had Joshua been the one to put the pieces together?

“Then - and this is the real kicker - one of my bros messaged me last night to say that some fucker was using my pics on Grindr. As if I’d be caught dead on that app!” Joshua’s words were spat out with serious venom. Trapped within the other man’s vice-like grip, Craig felt like a helpless deer trapped within the mighty maw of a lion. “I had my suspicions when I stopped seeing you around lately, but catching you at the door today… Well, I got the answer I was looking for. I don’t know how the fuck you’ve been doing it, but it stops now.”

Joshua used his free hand to grab Craig by the shoulder and spin him around before pressing him back against the locker, this time with the rainbow tank scrunched up in his hands. “I’ve got a feeling this has something to do with it though,” he mused as his voice dropped dangerously low, “I wonder what happens if it gets destroyed?” Then, before Craig could even try to protest, Joshua tugged at the garment with all of his might. The tank top, worn down by constantly being stretched over the huge muscles of the various forms Craig had taken, tore with relative ease and came free in Joshua’s hands.

Craig took an unsteady breath, dreading the moment when his muscles would dwindle away and Kieron’s good looks would be replaced by his own average face. The worst part of it was knowing that, with the tank top now in shreds, such a transformation would never take place again. He’d been robbed of the only good thing he had going in his life and of course it had been Joshua to take it away from him! Was he not allowed anything good ever?

Only, the regression back to his natural form never came. Craig and Joshua both waited - twenty seconds, forty seconds, a full minute - and yet nothing ever happened. All of Kieron’s beautifully sculpted muscles remained in place. There was no sinking of those proud pecs, nor did the cobbled path of his abs smooth out into nothingness. His tree trunk legs didn’t deteriorate into mere twigs and the perfect globes of his ass saw absolutely no deflation. The handsome visage of Kieron Kelley remained right where it was, while Craig’s own face was seemingly lost to the sands of time.

While Craig was delighted by his lack of transformation, it had the adverse effect on Joshua who grew visibly frustrated. As he motioned to grab at Craig again though, the bare-chested fitness influencer shifted his weight, grabbed at Joshua’s shirt and returned the favour by pinning his tormentor up against the lockers.

For the first time ever, Craig saw something in Joshua’s eyes that might have constituted genuine fear. It shot adrenaline through him, much as the transformations had previously, and bolstered his confidence even further. Puffing up his massive chest, he stepped in close to the other man and delivered a whispered threat of his own: “Looks like you’re stuck with some real competition now, Joshy-boy. Who’s going to give a fuck about you when Kieron Kelley is hanging out at the same gym?”

Before things could get any more heated between the two, the door to the locker room opened and a number of individuals rushed in to separate them. Dex and Nolan grabbed at Craig’s arms, pulling him back, both while mumbling apologies and not-so-subtly throwing Joshua under the bus at the same time - “Just ignore him, man. Nobody here likes him anyway!”

Letting two of his former bodies guide him out of the locker room, Craig finally released some of the tension from his body. Joshua, who had once seemed like such a terrifying presence in his life, could no longer do anything to intimidate or hurt him. The reflection he had struggled to connect to was also no more, instead replaced by something much more desirable and fitting for the improved confidence Craig had as a result of his experiences.

He stood in the gym, bare-chested and beautiful, with the whole world in front of him and all the time in the world to enjoy himself as Kieron Kelley.

Despite the exciting uncertainty that the future held for him, there was at least one thing that Craig knew for certain: never again was he ever going to be shy about wearing something that might draw attention to him. In fact, the more people stared, the happier he’d be!

3,008 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page