Sit on down Young Guido lets have a talk.
So I see you have been coming to this gym for a few months now. I dont typical take the time to notice any specific person when I come here (I am to busy) but you used to come with a gang of guys and now it is just you..
you on the cell phone tying up equipment that could be put to better use by other members or posing in front of a mirror when you have more than one bar left on the rack that you did not unload but hey you pay your dues and dont normally come in during the same time I do (before 6 am) so why should I care?
But.. something has changed you have start coming in during off hours you know those hours that are not conducive to social gatherings and you seem to be more frustrated with your time here not only in your lifts but with your mannerism on the phone.. You also seem to be spending less time in front of the mirror steering at yourself. I see all of this but it is none of my business and I don't say anything, plus I got my own metal out look to deal with so I double my efforts and concentrate back on my training.
I tell myself that if I was training hard enough that I should not even notice you in the first place.
It goes on like this for a few weeks.. Your pissed you are frustrated and nothing seems to come of it other than your tying up equipment in the gym as you pace back and forth in the gym for what seems like hours after you miss a lift or two. You do more posing and less lifting.
Well one day I see you standing in the foyer waiting on a ride from a homey or a parent in your GQ threads wearing your fake tan. I barely notice you as I pull my sorry soar limping ass through the doors heading out to my car limping. You say hey man is you going to be all right. I look at you and say are YOU going to be alright.
The question catches you off guard and you look at me like I am getting ready to offend your or say something about your mom ma. You reply what do you mean.. I sigh.. Then say do you want a shake I will buy you one over at the juice bar and we can talk about what I mean. Hell I got time to kill and I probably could use the rest before I drive my manual transmission car home with a pulled ham.
So he sits down across from me. I take a swig of my overpriced protein drink and ask the all important question. Why do you come here you don't seem to be making any progress nor do you seem happy? Is it that apparent he says.. Yes I say.. I probably only notice it because you tie up the squat rack for so long. I let him know I am not here to bitch at him but I am just curious as why he comes here.
Well he goes in to his spiel about how he first got a member ship with a group of his buds he met them at the tanning bar so they could hang out together.
He tells me that he started lifting to look better to impress the ladies and that his few months of lifting did make him look better to the opposite sex but now he has a job and cannot hang out with them as much and has to lift alone, plus he has been having some girl friend issue and does not know what to do any more.
So I ask him why are you still coming to the gym? He tells me a few good familiar stories about how he made gains and how accomplishing those gains made him feel real.. alive like nothing he ever felt like before. I ask him has he had any of those days lately. He says no.
I ask him would he like to have those days again. He looks at me and ask do you want to be my partner.. I chuckle a bit and say no.. That that is not it.
I tell him that I might be able to give him a little perspective on this whole addiction that others like to call weight lifting. I ask him if he is interested.
He sit back in his chair and runs his hand through his bleached hair and says ok.. what do you got?
I first warn him that what I have to say is the truth in my opinion and all thou I thought it was going to help him be set free that it was not going to happen with out it pissing him off first. I assured him that the latter was not my end goal.
I asked him if he remember that experience he told me about the experience of feeling like being alive.. like he accomplished something he thought was impossible a few months back. He says that he does and that he probably won't ever forget it. I ask him more about that experience I ask him did it have to do with any one around him or did it have any thing to do with the opposite sex.
No he says.. it was just me and the weight. Aww.. I say you hit it on the head. That is what it is about my friend. Just you and the weight and the rest, your fake tan your fair weather lifting buddies the girls they are just distractions they are just brass on the titanic that you take time to polish* when you should be investing your fucking time in the weight room.
Do you see any of those friends, girls, your youth being around in 10 years.. how about 5 I mean for the love of god some of them are already fleeting you but.. but the iron is still here and it can be your lens when your life is out of focus it can be that great shining real light in a world full of lies and crap.
It never changes it never freaks out on you and if you let it be your greatest friend and some days it will be your greatest enemy but unlike the habits and behaviors your are putting your time in to right now. It will give you exactly whatever you put in to it.. but you got to change your perception.
The gyms you go to are crowded with guys trying to look like men, as if being a man means looking the way a sculptor or an art director says.*
The sooner you learn that this hobby this life style this addiction is all about you and only you and to hell with everyone else, the better you will be.
From the time your foot comes in here from the time you leave it is only about you and the weights. Muscle tissue for all intensive purpose is like scar tissue and if you are not willing to take out a 45lb bar and splice some open then maybe you should go find something else to do with your free time.. I hear that there is a new Halo game coming out.
For a lot of people lifting weights is all about self improvement.. but in its most simplest form it is not.
Your body heals its self your job is to be self destructive. "Self improvement is masturbation, Self Destruction is the Answer."*
Very few people lift like it and even fewer are willing to cleave them self work out after work out instead they rest on there laurels of gains made in the past. I ask him if he knew the difference between resting on laurels and resting on land mines. He said he did not. I told him there was not any difference they will both kill ya.
You got to have a phoenix mentality I tell him you have to burn down all your gains and consider them of no value or worth only from there ashes can you build yourself. Whatever your body looks like from lifts made in the past (i.e. looking at yourself in the mirror) just detracts from the focus you will need to make gains in the future.
I told him that the sake of lifting to only look good for other people was not a long term self sustaining goal since this goal requires the opinion from people he has no control over.
Instead I told him to focus on becoming stronger. I told him I knew a lot more old power lifters then I did body builders and if the feeling of accomplishing a feat which seemed impossible was his goal then he would be better off served lifting for himself and not others.
You have to fall in love with the fight the struggle of hoisting heavy weights you have to enjoy that more than the end results of getting stronger or looking better. If you could do that you would be happy lifting your whole life not just now but even when you are old.
In thee end one of the awesome side effects about doing tough things over and over again especially on days you don't want to do them or on days your friends girl or boy want you to hang out with them.. It gives you discipline and a work ethic and teaches you sacrifice.. Yeah sacrifice.
You know what the definition of sacrifice is.. It means giving up something great for something better. I am sorry to say your generation along with mine lack the understanding of these traits.
Doing hard things teaches you more about yourself then your friends will ever probably learn about them selfs and if your successful in the weight room it is because you wanted to be or if you fail it is not because daddy did not love you enough, maybe you spent to much time applying tan or dare I say it.. Talking on your cell phone. Stop caring about look pretty. If you fail it is just your own dam fault.
Just one last word of advice.. call it a warning. If anything I said has sunken in and you do decide to take the road less traveled. Let me warn you that that road is only wide enough for one person in the end you have to do it alone and chances are your friends will not understand when you cannot hang out with them at the bars as much or party as much.
Your girl friend will not understand why you HAVE to be at the gym when there is 3 feet of snow on the road. I tell him I thank god that we have crappy weather in Nebraska it keeps a lot of social rats out of the weight room during the winter. I tell him that I like the aerobics classes and the TV televised sports all for the same reason.
No my friend there is only room for you and the weights let them be your focus don't look for outside praise of your accomplishments. Now I am not saying life is only about lifting but with you being in your 20's and growing up in the video game.. me.. me .. me.. face book, men look like women era you could not be better served pretending that it is.
So go and get a little vomit on your sun tanned chin and it is ok to rip a callus on your finely manicured hands and it is ok to see stars once in a while during squats. I also know chuck airs are not your style but trust me they do help so take off they tennis shoes.
At this time I sit back and finish off my shake and grab my bag. As I leave he ask what type of work out should I be doing he tells me that there is a cool new RONNIE Colam arm work out in Muscle and Fitness. I shake my head a bit and tell him to stop buying those dam muscle magazines.
I tell him instead to spend time reading about Ivan Hepburn or buy a few books off Iron mind or check the T-Nation.com database for there strength coaches. Not only is it cheaper but it produces better results.
As I leave I turn around once more and tell him pleas.. Pleas take the time to clean off your rack before you move to another one. Then I slowly hobble on out to my car.