T Nation

Tonight at the Gym


(novel alert)

I just switched to a new gym. I wanted to get out of the mainstream gym atmosphere, so I joined a somewhat hardcore gym that a bunch of powerlifters frequent. I am 6'0" 220 lbs at about 15% body fat (not huge by any means, but bigger than most guys). I was the smallest guy there easily. I was intimidated as hell, but this is why I joined...I wanted to be around When I walked in met a powerlifter and struck up conversation with him. I told him that I was looking to start powerlifting and wanted to know if i could watch them and get a few pointers. Of course he said yes. I went over to a spot out of the way to go stretch and foam roll (still feeling very very very tiny).

A great big tatted up dude poited at me and waved me over to the squat rack where everyone was huddled around. He wanted me to watch the guy who was about to squat. It was a guy who I later learned was Henry Thompson. He first squatted 950 for a double, then squatted 1000 for a double. I was obviously in awe.

After this, the first guy I met introduced me to the rest of the group. I was scheduled to deadlift today...I was figuring out my max to begin 5/3/1. I got some pointers, but overall they were very pleased with my form (thanks to T-Nation). I managed set a big PR for me (425). I went and some assistance work instead of going home mainly because I was so excited by all the pieces of equipment. What ultiately made my day was they invited me to come workout with them sunday morning (you bet your ass I'll be there!)

The whole time I kept thinking of Tates article, "The education of a Powerlifter and his quote "You can never be what you're in awe of".

I was surprised at just how friendly and helpful these guys were. From prior experence, the big guys in the gyms I'd been to were bodybuilders nd they always kept to themselves and weren't very personable....kinda condescending even.

That being said, (without sounding too gay) I know I need to get my mindset in order and know that if I work very hard for a long time I can one day be like the guys I met tonight.


Perseverance pays off. Rome wasnt built in a day. Powerlifting is a great sport.


Good post!

I disagree about bodybuilders though. When I get to a new gym, they've all been really nice to me, very often coming over to talk between exercises. Don't act like a tough guy, smile once in a while (in a non-homo way), and at least pretend to know what you're doing.


Oh, and that pretty much applies to all walks of life.


This is why powerlifting is so great. The commraderie is tremendous and lifters are very willing to give back if you show genuine interest and deadication. Now if only I could find a gym like that. I train in a gym where i can barely find anybody qualified enough to give a decent handoff on the bench.


Yeah I may be wrong in judging the bodybuilders. It might not be that they are condescending because they are bodybuilders, but have more to do with the area that the gym is located in...it was in a rather "uppity" part of town. I guess for that matter, their attitude was probably less bad than many of the house wives that lifted there. My other theory is that because it was one of those mega gyms and there were lots of twirps that just came to fuck around and 2/3 of the adults seemed to have zero gym etiquette, maybe coming to the gym just made them grumpy and the pop music there always made me irratable.


This. I can probably seem like a douche when training even though I have nothing to do with bodybuilding. I keep headphone blaring due to pathetic music on the speakers and watching idiots perform exercises ridiculously just turns me off. Maybe this has something to do with the way they are acting. I am way different when there is a certain crowd in the gym


Henry Thomason? His recent videos on powerlifting watch are pretty ridiculous. They are obviously doing something right. Stick with it, pay attention, and learn and you might end up getting pretty strong.


looks like you found a good crew to learn from...... that's awesome


This is why powerlifting is God's gift to mankind. Dave Tate's "Education of a Powerlifter" is the best short story I've ever read, and this, right here, proves it to be true. Good luck.



Go in there sunday ready to listen, and be ready for tiny little changes that make a big difference-after 3 weeks with big benchers, I hit 465 off 2 brds, which is a 60 pound pr.


Yeah sorry. When the guy said his name I heard "Thompson"...sounds very similar but I'm sure you're right.


I fully intend to. I can't wait to see what I can learn.


Damn, I just read that again and it is indeed a great story


Good story. Train hard, and keep it real.


Lucky SOAB, make the most of it!


I made my best gains when I was lifting in a Power Lifting gym in a rotation with two flights of guys. Being the big guy in a small gym does nothing for your training but if you get in with a bunch of truly strong dudes you will make incredable gains.

I think your perception about BB and Powerlifters is the way it is becuase BodyBuilders do not have to interact with anyone to get thier work done. Powerlifting is more about sharing training methods, spotting heavy ass weights, and needing your partners to help you see your blind spots in your training and to call you on your pussyness (When you need called on it)

Are you in SC?


No, I'm in Texas.


what part?


I live in Denton and workout in Carrollton.