Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Excerpt

This is a short excerpt from a book that I have been working on about a young graduate assistant college football coach in the late eighties.

“That damn sound, good lord, what is that sound?”

 “Get up, honey, it's the alarm clock."

"Let me sleep."

"Time to get up, you are going to be late.” 

I open my eyes and see my girlfriend, Sadie, kneeling on the bed, looking at me. 

“Goddam," I say, "what time is it?”

 “Its 8:45, your staff meeting starts in 15 minutes.”

“ Motherfucker! How come you didn't you wake me up?”

“ I tried," she shoots back, in her wonderful southern drawl, "but your lazy ass wouldn't get up.”

“ OK, OK,” I say, and get to my feet. 

My head feels like it got run over by a tank, and my mouth tastes like a goat took a shit in it.

 “I have goat shit mouth.” 

“What was that?” 

“Nothing.”

I brush my teeth and spend extra time on my tongue, brushing away the white film that has accumulated on it. I put on copious amounts of deodorant since I can never tell if I stink or not. Sadie tells me when I do and I’m always surprised.  I pull on a pair of black polyester coaching shorts that seem just a little short to me, but that's the way everyone wears them these days. I do have some muscular legs, so the girls can see my thighs with these shorts on. I can be a little narcissistic at times.

I pull on a collared shirt that is way too small , but my asshole boss didn’t order any 2xl, so I'm stuck with this XL for the time being. 

“Have you seen my keys?” I ask, while gobbling down three ibuprofen and a glass of water. 

“Probably in your pants pocket.”

“Have you seen my pants?”

“They are on the floor in the living room.”

And there were my Wrangler blue jeans right in the middle of the floor of the living room, right where I must have taken them off last night. In fact, I believe that I slept right next to those jeans for most of the night and then got up at some point during the night and got in bed with Sadie. I grab my keys and wallet out of the pants, toss them back on the floor and I'm out the door. Sadie yells to me that she loves me.

“See you later, love you too.” I say, knowing that I don't really love her and I'm just saying that so later she won't ask me why I didn't tell her that I loved her too and she will make a big deal about having sex with me when I really want it because I didn't say that I love her, so it will all be a big pain in the ass, and since all I really want out of this relationship is the sex, I make sure that I tell her that I love her, too. I'm no dummy. 

I make it to the football field house right at 8:57 am. I'm rushing into the meeting and on the way, I  run by a mirror in the hallway and I see myself and stop. Man, I look rough. My face is all bloated and my eyes are bloodshot and damn if I don't look like I went on a bender last night. Which I did.

I walk into the conference room and find my seat at the table. All the other coaches are already there. I'm right on time, but in the college football world, on time is late. “Nice of you to join us,” says the head coach, Rankin Brooks. “Right on time, Coach,'' I say with a smile. He doesn't smile back. Fuck that motherfucker, I say to myself. 

My fellow graduate assistant coach, Johnny, kicks me under the desk, just to mess with me.I mouth the words, “fuck you” to him and then look real quick at the head coach to see if he noticed. He hadn't. He was looking down at his notebook, pretending to know something about anything.  “Let's go over the practice plan,” he says, and we go over the practice plan, even though we went over the practice plan in the meeting that we had after practice last night. 

“ Just want to see if we need to change anything,” he says.

Everybody is silent, because they all know that this is a huge waste of time and that the head coach is trying to justify his job by having these long meetings so that he can tell the athletic director and the press that he had a two hour staff meeting today and it was so fruitful but whew it was long and that they got a lot of work done in preparation for the tough team that they have to play this week. The team that we are playing isn't very tough at all, but all head coaches have to say that about the upcoming opponent. We are pretty good, and we will kill this team if we play well, which isn't always the case. Sometimes we show up ready to play, sometimes we don't.

Also, the head coach is concerned with a couple of defensive linemen who aren't “earning their money,” which means that the players in question aren't doing enough to help us on the field to keep their scholarships. So once in a while, he will tell one of the coaches “ I want his money.” The players in question are two defensive linemen who are red shirt freshman, both with a lot of talent but just haven't been getting it done enough to break into the starting or even second team lineup. Brooks decided that he wants them both to be tested to see if one of them steps up. “ I want their money, Coach.” 

He tells me this and I know what I am expected to do. He can't just take their money from them, legally. They have to give it up themselves, they have to quit. My job is to run drills designed to make one of them step up or leave. And honestly, I don't mind doing it, especially with these two. They do need to decide if they want to be part of us or to just be a regular student; content to party, study and enjoy the student experience. The drills can be brutal in the North Carolina heat. I run double team drills at both of them, full speed drills with two of my other players attempting to blow them off of the ball. And we go one play after the other with no rest. One of the players, Donny, starts to cry when he gets run over a few times in a row and he lies on the ground. “Get up, you ain't gonna make it if you don't get up,” I yell. And he does, and he's unsteady on his feet. But this time, when he gets down into his stance, he’s angry, He lets out a war whoop of some sort and fires off of the ball at the man across from him, putting both fists under his chin and knocking the player on his ass. The second player tries to block him also, but Donny picks him up and slams him on his back. Not exactly football legal, but I like the enthusiasm. "Now that's what the fuck I am talking about!”, I exclaim.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Good, Solid People

I have a little spot on the Eastern Shore of Maryland that I purchased years ago where my sons and my friends and I go to hunt ducks. I love that piece of land, but with kids and school and youth sports and working and lifting, I haven't been able to get down there much in the last two years. It takes me around 3 hours to get there, and that will take up a big chunk of time going back and forth.

I went down last year around this time and somebody had stolen my kayak and I had a little boat that was chained to a tree and they took that and put it in a pond next to my land.  I was madder than hell that happened to me, I was murderously mad for a while and then, it struck me in a weird way. It was like this sick feeling or maybe ....Here is how I was thinking in my head: "I can't believe that someone would do that to me. Someone actually came onto my land and did that to my stuff." 

You feel like you can't understand how people can be such jerks. I stood around awhile and waited like they were gonna come back or something. But its probably good that they didn't come back. I was pretty messed up about the whole thing and it wouldn't have turned out too well for whomever it was. 

I reckon that everyone has something stolen from them in their lives. And doesn't it make you feel strange? No matter how big or small it was, if it was a million dollars or a kayak, if it was yours and someone stole it, you are plenty angry and hurt about it. 

After that, I wasn't sure if I wanted that land anymore, so I stayed away from it.

But I went down yesterday to check on the land and everything looked fine. On my way out of the woods and to my truck, I saw an older man with a shovel in his hand across the road. It's not really a road. Just some asphalt with gravel and dirt. Anyway, I yelled hello and he yelled hello and then I walked over to him. I stuck out my hand and introduced myself, and he did the same.  

Ernie was his name, and he was trying to dig out a mailbox and move it he said, because nobody seems to be able to find his house where the mailbox was currently sitting. I asked him if he needed some help, and he answered that he did, he had a real bad back and some other stuff that was ailing him and I just couldn't let him dig that hole, and to be honest, I like that kind of work. So I dug the hole and we got to talking about the area. My land's water had been higher than I'd ever seen it before, even in the highest tide. He told me that it was the bad storm that was out at sea that was causing the water to rise. And then he told me he'd been living there since 1976 and his uncle or brother lived in that house there and his son lived in that house next door. He'd been in the Air force for 31 years, and then he retired. He was 71 now and he said that he was thinking about moving where he didn't have so much yard work to do. 

I asked him if he'd been in Vietnam and he said the one time that he flew in there to deliver stuff, they got mortared and had rockets shot at them. He said that he had run into a Vietnam Vet the other day at the grocery store and they stood and talked for a long time. We talked about how all the rich kids got out of Vietnam and all the poor kids had to go. I finally got to the bottom of the hole and squatted down and put the mailbox on my shoulder and lifted it up. It was no big deal, but the thought did go through my head that that was why I trained with weights, to be able to do stuff like that whenever I needed to.  I carried it to where he wanted it to go in the ground and then dug the hole there and we got it all set up. I met his son and we joked around how I had just said hello and they went and put me to work.

 I was getting ready to leave and I asked him if he didn't mind looking after my land some and he promised that he would. Then he gave me a "No Trespassing" sign to put on my property and then went in and got a sledgehammer so I could pound the sign into the ground. I did that and brought it back to his house and he invited me and my son in to meet his family, his wife and daughter in law and his son was in there, too. He had an in ground pool and he invited me and my family to come down any Saturday next summer and join his family swimming. I had known this guy for an hour and now I was invited for summer swim time. 

I had forgotten just how cool country people are once they trust you. I coulda been like,  Ernie, I'll take that shirt off your back and no question, he would have given it to me. He offered us cold drinks and my son and I petted his dogs and I swear, if we stayed around any longer, he would have invited us to stay the night. 

When I left there, damn I had a good feeling. I was glad that my land hadn't been messed with in a while, and I was glad that I met Ernie. A few bad apples were ruining my time at my land, but meeting Ernie made me realize how good folks can really be. The type of folks that really make up what I think of when I picture good, solid people. I think I was starting to believe that they didn't exist anymore. But they are out there, out there in places like in a tiny town on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, out there just making it day to day, loving their families and working, always working. Meeting Ernie restored my faith in people. It was a trip well spent.




Sunday, September 29, 2019

Country Time

The damn city. I just drove through the city. I drove through Philadelphia, but it could be any city. Actually, Philly has a lot of character, I like that about her. But damn, if it isn't crowded. Every city is crowded. And every suburb is crowded.  People all close to you whenever you turn around. There have been times in my life when I didn't live freaking six feet from somebody and I enjoyed it. And my neighbors are fine. I just don't want neighbors unless they are acres away from me. Be a damn settler with all that acreage. Talk to folks at the bar and feed store : "Oh, I only have 500 acres, just a little ranch." 

And everybody knew that you were a hearty fellow , living way out there, hunting and fishing and killing a hog and cutting a chicken's head off so we can fry that shit up and sitting outside with the Old Lady and getting ready to arm wrestle her for the last piece of chicken and the kids are off wrestling but they hear a big old coyote or maybe a wolf so they came running back to you but one of them gets caught and you have to fight off the wolf to maybe save your kid and then you save him and come back and beat the Old Lady in the best two out of three matches. 


Back to the city. I know, culture, and all that, and I like plays . Stage plays.  No, I really don't. I saw Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Raincoat or something years ago, and the audience was going nuts and I was like, what's with the raincoat? I didn't get it.  There are lots of pigeons in cities and they make great retrieving tools for retrievers.That’s a plus. But they look pretty nasty to me.


 I used to go to downtown DC all of the time on field trips when I was a kid. I mean, people travel all over to see the Smithsonian Institute, but I went there on every field trip for years.  And damn, it got boring. Load up the bus! Smithsonian here we come. And everybody would groan. Yeah, yeah, some dinosaurs. I saw them last week.  


 I used to go down to DC to go to bodybuilding shows when I was in high school. My  parents would drop me off and leave me sometimes. But it was cool. I felt safe. It was crowded though. People everywhere. 


Food! That’s it! Good food in cities. Sushi, pizza, all types of food. But if somebody said that I’d have to give up city food forever and had to exclusively eat and live in the country, I would let myself be banished from the city forever.  


And you have these huge parks out there in the city and you cannot even bow hunt these things . Bunch of trails  for biking and dogs that aren't hunting dogs and all these neon colors people are wearing. And there are tons of deer everywhere spreading lyme disease and nobody can shoot them so they waste away. Roller blades and high fives. Ugh. “Hey Bro! Cooooors light after our jog?” God give me strength. I mean, stop the jogging, eat protein and go the gym, Why why? I used to jog. More like sorta run for like a mile once in a while. I jogged five miles one time and I was hungover and a little too heavy and I made it, just barely. But I was like, why ? It clears your mind. I used it for that sometimes. BUT DAMN. Lift some weights, too. Why does it have to be one or the other? Jogging makes you happy. Weight training changes your life. 


I did have a girlfriend one time who had NEVER been to a city, never been on a plane, never did anything. She was just living in the woods of North Carolina with a roach clip with feathers on it hanging off her rear view mirror of her old Ford Escort and just loving life, singing Steve Miller songs over and over. But one time I had her visit me in Maryland and she flew on a plane and got a real haircut (style?) and it was like she had landed in an alien land. It was fascinating. And a little disturbing in a lot of ways.

Oh, I get away whenever I can, and more and more as I get older. You sorta cut down on the folks that you wanna be around, and getting off by yourself feels better and better.

But I like the country best because of the mornings. Nobody around, sun coming up, urinating wherever I want, shooting at any hour of the day and no neighbors to complain, and fire, you must have lots of fire and whiskey and spitting into the fire and Labrador dogs all wet from the hunt, staying warm by the flame and stream rising off of their coats. Yeah, better than that play with the raincoat that I saw. That man didn't hunt or fish. I could just tell. City boy all the way.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

No, You Are Strange

You do realize that folks who don't train with weights think that your obsession with weight training is a little strange, right?


They think that it's strange when you sit down at night and plan your workout routine for the next day.


Or that you have to get your training in, no matter if its four in the morning or midnight. 


They don't understand why you have to have protein at every meal.


They think that it's weird that you know all about Tom Platz's best squat sessions, including the weights and reps used. And maybe even the years that he did them.


Or why you will never set foot in a gym that won't allow chalk or death metal music or that doesn't have a squat rack in it.


They think its weird that you decided to get diced for the summer so you eat the same three foods for three months. Or why you decided to put on thirty pounds in your pursuit of a better total or to reach your lifetime goal in the squat.


They don't get it that you have boxes and boxes of old muscle magazines and Powerlifting USA magazines and you treasure that collection.

Or why in the hell you would ever admire people like Starr, Pearl, Kaz and Dimas.


They find it odd that you know exactly how many grams of protein are in eight ounces of steak.


They find it off putting that you have certain clothes and music for certain days. For example, Squat day calls for those old Converse and your ripped sweat shorts, and Far Beyond Driven must be played on that day.


They definitely don't understand how anyone in their right mind will watch YouTube videos of lifters training. For hours. Or drive hours just to watch a great lifter/bodybuilder train. Just to watch them? Yup, just to watch them.


They question why anyone would want to be that big and/or strong, or why anyone would pay to enter a power lifting meet when you could just max in the gym for free.


They don't understand why you eschew self help books or meditation or any of the feel good trends that regular citizens swear make them a better person. You always knew that the best remedy for what ails you mentally lies in the barbells and dumbbells that you lift. 


And they don't get why you are so happy walking out of the gym after sweating and straining and why you like that your knees buckle while walking to the car after a leg workout. 


It's odd to them that you will go to the gym even when you feel sick and probably should stay in bed.


It is strange to them that you train when traveling, that the first thing you do when deciding on a place to stay on the road is finding out about the quality of the hotel gym or what gyms are local that are worth a damn. 


And it’s strange to you that folks say that they are too busy to lift weights or 


that they accept their weak selves


Or that they just eat whatever the hell they want and have no idea how much protein or carbs or fats are in what they just ate. 


Or that watching Pumping Iron doesn't fire them up so much that they want to run to the gym and start squatting like Arnold and Ed Corney.

It's like there are these two separate races of people, those that train hard and are obsessed with the whole process and those that think that Alan Alda from the MASH days looks like a real man should look.

But that's ok. I like it that they don't understand. If they all did, it wouldn't be as enjoyable listening to them talk about the latest viral video or the latest song by some spindly armed pretty boy while you nod your head and pretend you are listening and wondering if you should do front or back squats the next day and if you cooked enough beef for the next two meals. 

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Year Round

I was thinking about folks that I have trained over the years, and included in  all those folks are some older athletes, some who have very busy lives with kids/grandkids, stressful jobs, spouses, recreational sports, etc.

What I have noticed is that the people who are most consistent with their weight training no matter what is going on in their lives are the ones who stay the healthiest regarding injuries, and just overall health. 

 I have espoused the benefits of weight training and making the time for weight training forever and in plenty of columns, but it is always worth revisiting. 

What confuses me is how when some people get "too busy" in life, they drop the weight training first. Why anybody would ever, ever do that is beyond my comprehension.

So you train for 8 months out of the year and then life starts kicking your butt so you make a conscious decision to lose the strength and muscle that you have worked so hard the previous months to gain. You literally decide to get WEAKER AND TO LOSE MUSCLE. Doesn't make sense. 

Drop other stuff out of your life if you are so damn busy. Drop all social media unless business related, drop Netflix binging, drop every damn thing that you are doing that is wasted time.

Get up an hour earlier
Buy home gym stuff( could be just dumbbells, doesn't matter)
Put your workouts on the weekends only
Put the training into your calendar and treat it like an appointment. Never break the appointment.
If you have a busy week coming up, either plan to train late in the evening or early in the morning.

Man, the best feeling is being finished with a great training session early in the morning and walk out of the gym and the sun is just coming up. You feel spent but accomplished and ready to crush the day. Much better than staggering over to the coffee maker, grabbing a donut and plopping on your couch to check Instagram likes on the picture of the barbecue ribs on your grill that you posted yesterday.

Get up, get that coffee and whatever other pre workout you need to get you going, and walk out the door and drive to the gym. Don't feel like it? SO WHAT?  If you must, look at it like something that you just have to do, just like taking care of the damn kids or grocery shopping or working. If that's what does it for you, then that's what you need to do. Hell, perform one exercise and leave. Pick your favorite exercise for each body part and do a light , medium and heavy set and then leave. The next week if you have a day with some more time to train, add some stuff in, but know that if you want to, you can do one exercise and leave. You have given yourself permission to do that and it'll be a relief for you. 

But don't let yourself get all weak and soft and let all of your hard work go to waste because your priorities got mixed up. Never forget that strength comes first, it's the foundation of the training and life pyramid.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Surf the Big Waves

Has anyone done anything great without working hard and being dedicated?

Whether it is for powerlifting, weightlifting, losing weight, gaining muscle, or greatness in any endeavor, dedication and sacrifice have to rein supreme if you want to be great.

Even if you are a genetic freak and naturally talented in your chosen endeavor, when you are competing against someone just as genetically blessed and talented as you, if that person has better work ethic and is more dedicated than you are, you will lose.

 For instance, if you are not making the strength gains that you desire, break down everything that you are doing, and more importantly, everything that you are not doing that may be hindering your gains.

When one begins training, usually everything that they do in the gym works. And then, you start to have a bad day in the gym once in a while. The big deadlift day felt awful , every rep was a struggle, and you just don't feel sharp, you just don't feel recovered. That's when the folks who want to get big and strong break it all down and get right; nutrition and rest and massage, and alleviating many stressors, no random training, and a positive outlook. 

Because if you are working hard, the work ethic is strong, but you are not focusing on what you do the other 23 hours a day, your progress will never be optimal. And more important to me, you are wasting the workout that you put so much time into. I have done it many times, eating Mcdonald’s or having some beers or staying up too late. Your body is like, Here we go again!  Let me deal with all this other stuff that he is doing to me before I even start to repair muscle. At least that's the way I think about it. I hate that feeling when you wake up the next morning and nothing feels complete. Like your training was fine, but all the other pieces of the puzzle that help the  recovery /growth process were not fine, and you know it, hell, you can feel it. 

It is simple, really. Work your butt off on a well planned program. Eat your protein and healthy fats and good carbs. Rest and relax and get good sleep (a consistent bedtime and wake up is the best). Visualize the way that you want to look and visualize the great workout out that you are going to do. And use all the modalities at your disposal to hasten the recovery process, whether it's massage, or meditation or ice baths, or a  sauna. All of that stuff, done regularly, is really what separates the sorta big and strong from the WOW that dude is big and strong. 

It's like my friend Marty Gallagher always asks, “Do you want to surf New Jersey waves or Hawaii waves?” You can probably get by with plenty of mistakes when surfing the small waves, but in order to surf the giant waves of Hawaii , everything must be perfect and right on. 

So what kind of waves do you want to surf?

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Gym Types

I love to visit other gyms when I am traveling. I am not one to miss workouts, in fact, I can't remember the last time that I did, although I remember all the players that missed a workout when I coached all those years. Hell, I remember when they missed reps. But that's another story. 


So I always look for gyms that I can go to before I am going on a trip. And it depends how long I am staying at a particular place or what body part I am working while I am away. If it's just arms or shoulders, sometimes a hotel gym will suffice. They sometimes have dumbells that go up to 50-70 pounds, and I can get a great workout supersetting and moving fast. I'll be there dripping sweat everywhere and some guy will come in to do burpees or some shit and I'll be going around wiping the sweat off the floor, and the problem is when I lean down to wipe the sweat off of the floor, I drip sweat off of the tip of my baseball cap onto the floor. After awhile, I say screw it, and move on. 


I've seen some stuff in hotel gyms, people doing exercises that I have never even seen before. But I don't say anything, I let them do their thing. Sometimes, parents will bring in their little kids and they will start fooling around and I give them the most evil look that I can give them until they stop fooling around. And I'm not above telling the kids to stop fooling around. Hell, if the parents can't control them, I will. The cardio equipment is usually a bike, a treadmill and an elliptical or two. I like the recumbent bike, because it doesn't make my testicles go numb like the sit up regular bikes. If they don't have a recumbent, I will walk on the treadmill or go outside to walk. I can't use the elliptical because I would lose my man card immediately if I did.


Sometimes, like when I visit the same place more often, I get to know the gyms and sometimes the members remember me. There is a gym in Shelby, NC that I go to when I am visiting there, and it is a very good gym and the people are super cool. I think that I paid like 10 bucks for three or four days of training. The prices of all the gyms vary for training for a day or week. Most of the time its 15-20 dollars to work out for the day. I will only pay that if I am totally desperate. And some of those places don't give you a weekly rate, it's just fifteen bucks a day, period. Hell, I pay 24 dollars a month at my home gym!  The best gym that I go to on vacation is Rise Fitness in Rehoboth, Delaware. All the weights that you need and an area for chalk and powerlifters too. And its 35 dollars for the week. It's a great price for a great gym. And nobody bothers me, which I like. 


There are some amusing things that happen in the gyms where I train when travelling. I have seen it all!  One guy was using a crunch machine and he was literally crunching like 2 inches as fast as he could. My 13 year old son looked at me and asked, Dad what the hell is that? Which made me laugh out loud.Oh, you see people do all kinds of stuff in gyms. But I just figure, hell,at least they are working to improve themselves.


In most every gym that I have been to, there are the same “types” of people. Let me explain what I mean.


You have the hungry kid- this is the teenager who is really into lifting, the type of kid who reads a pro bodybuilder’s workout on the Internet and prints it out and follows it to the letter and has on the latest bodybuilding tank top with a saying on the front, like SAVAGE, NO PAIN, stuff like that. He’s got his preworkout kicking in, his intra workout is good to go, and his post workout shake is in his gym bag.  He's into it and I respect that, but he goes too heavy for his own good and his form is a little off and he will just have to learn that all that work takes a bunch of calories and somebody might want to tell him that all the hormones that the pro is taking helps him recover a little better and he may need to reduce the sets a little. But that's fine, I like the enthusiasm.


Then you have the Mayor.  He is usually over 50 or acts like he is. The “old school” guy. Shuffles around from “old high school knee injury”. This is the guy who is a little loud, has a comment for everyone. Not mean spirited, in fact , usually super friendly. He's the welcome guy, calls me “big boy” and tells me what he used to lift when he was younger.  He likes talking to my kids and asking them if they are as strong as dad, and tells them to listen to their dad. 


You have the shy overweight lady or man. Gets on the cardio right away and then does a little machine circuit, maybe some dumbbells. I respect the hell out of people like them.  It must be so intimidating to come into a gym when you are so out of shape, to just take that step to join and to actually go and be consistent.  


There's the construction dude. Wears jeans and construction boots. Wears a shirt with either paint on it or a shirt with the name of the company he works for on it. Benches and curls and some push ups. Maybe half squats. Good guy, usually has a friend from work who he is mentoring and telling him how to do things. He's usually wrong with his teachings, but he's so adamant that he is right that there would be no telling him that he isn’t.


Also the senior citizen. Usually male, wears pants and sometimes a collared button up shirt. Does some machines, a little cardio. Usually alone. Quiet and gets his work done. I always figured that their doctor has told them how good weight training is for their health and bone density and they have joined the gym on doctors orders.


Oh man, how about The TALKER. Lawd, they kill me. I was wanting to use a machine the other day and there was a water bottle on it. I asked the two ladies who were in deep, deep conversation if the water bottle was one of theirs. Oh yes, the one said, we are going from one exercise to another. They weren't, they were talking. We only have one more set, said the one. I just looked at them. My mind is like, OK, tell them that they are just bullshitting around, and the other part of my brain says, let it go, let it go. I let it go. Then there is the guy who spends ten minutes at the front desk talking to the workers, then his phone rings and so he talks on the phone for awhile and then he sits at the lat machine and texts for awhile, and then he sees a lady he knows and talks to her, then talks to his friend at the bench press. He looks at me and I pull my hat real low and look away. You see, I don't want to be a dick, so I avoid the situation. Because if he tries to talk to me , I will just nod and smile. But if keeps going, I may ask him why he is even in the gym if all he is gonna do is talk, and that's why he looks the same all of the time, and how can he concentrate when he is running his mouth so much? 


Next, there is the calisthenics man/woman. I respect the effort, but all the switching in the air lunges and burpees and squats with a kettle bell going halfway down and then doing something where you look like you are punching with a cable in your hands and doing all of that over and over again for an hour can be replaced by just a few sets of squats , deadlifts and presses. Yes, I know that they don't want to do those lifts, and their goal is to get “toned” and “functional”, but they are going about it assbackwards. I think that the deal is that those people who perform those types of workouts like the sweaty, exhausted sorta feeling when they train. But that's not an indicator of any progress at all. In fact, the people that I see doing those workouts haven't gotten any stronger and they all look the same.  I also suspect that performing squats and deadlifts and presses are uncomfortable for them and that plays a factor, also. Why not just sweat a lot and spin their wheels? That's what they are doing. 


There is also the class taker- this is the person who signs up for every class, the spinning, aerobics with a light barbell, the circuit. Loves the camaraderie and sweating. Comes with a friend. Carries a towel and yoga mat. 


How about the guy who does weird stuff- this is a guy who makes up exercises as he goes. He does presses on the standing calf, presses the leg press with his arms, does some jumping squats, and does “combo” exercises, like a curl into a lateral raises and into a press. Unique. In their own world.


And you can not forget the overdressed/ under dressed- Lady whose clothes are super  skimpy, , turns her head in mirror and purses lips between sets.  Spends a lot of time getting ready for the gym. Right on with fashion. Not gonna sweat no matter what. Wears brand name clothes .  Wears risque outfit and wonders why everyone is staring. 


 There is always the half squat guy- he loads on the plates, puts the pad on the squat bar, has a partner filming him and yelling at him to draw attention to themselves, takes the bar off, the whole gym is watching with anticipation, and he starts his set and goes halfway down and then finishes and everyone sorta looks at each other and his partner slaps him on the back and says, “good job”.


And one or two of the tatted up guy- covered in tattoos from head to toe, works hard , doesn't talk much, tough guy persona. Either a cop or outlaw biker. 


 I can’t take the grunting guy- calls attention to himself while using light weights. Yells, sings out loud with his headphones on.Makes 225 on the squat bar seem like 900 with the grunting and groaning. 


The “Hey, I’m using that” guy- never heard of the concept of “working in” on an exercise. Monopolizes machines and dumbells while supersetting and trisetting. Looks at abdominals in the mirror a lot, giving the impression that he is done training, but is secretly waiting to tell someone, “Hey, I’m using that!”


 Uh oh, I almost forgot the gallon of water guy- This one kills me. Who ever told these people that you had to carry a gallon of water around? Or that everyone should drink a gallon of water each day? You mean to tell me that they drink a whole gallon of water each day? Can I just drink out of the water fountain at the gym when I’m thirsty? And it's just so cliche also, the wide billed cap on sideways (Why is that cool? Do you need help putting your cap on straight?), and sometimes backwards and sideways, the designer shirt and pants from an online bodybuilding clothing company, the gym bag filled to the brim with who knows what, and the ever present water jug.


I was trying to figure out where I would fit in all of the above descriptions. I sorta figured it out. How about the sweaty, non friendly guy? I do sweat a lot, and it's not that I'm not a nice guy, but I have always felt that talking and bullshitting would make me lose my focus, and it would. So I sorta look down and pull my hat down real low and sometimes add headphones, too. Then I can close myself off to the world and have my little time to myself. And I really don’t talk at all except to say excuse me or to say hello to the front desk guy. So I guess that's not friendly, but it's not a bar or social hour. Its training. Its serious and important, at least to me. 


I reckon that it takes all types to make up a public gym and it does make it interesting.  Some of the types are inspiring and some others serve a very useful purpose for me; they irritate me so much that it fires me up for training.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a year...it's for life. Whether its training or your family or your job...it doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.