In my previous blog post I wrote about the new gym, “The Pit” gym, that recently opened in Dickinson, North Dakota. This gym is a “Weight Room”, which is very rare now. During the past 25 years, most gyms have been transformed into “Fitness Centers”. “Fitness Centers” are part of the weakening and feminization of the U.S., and have made me and many males weaker and emasculated.
Let me go back 40 years ago, to start at the beginning. I was a small, skinny, and uncoordinated kid. My lack of coordination had a lot to do with my bad eyesight. But I was strong. I rode very, very far on my bicycle most days, much further than other kids. I also paddled and rowed boats for hours and hours, longer than adults would have. I was very strong in my legs and in my shoulders, from routinely peddling, paddling, or rowing way past the point of what was physically easy, and into what was physically difficult and even painful. I had to if I wanted to get home.
In junior high school, this was back before they had middle schools, all of the six elementary schools from the region had their students go on to merge into one single junior high school. All the kids had to start over again, not knowing anything about the other kids that they were now in classes with. I was a small, skinny, uncoordinated kid who whore glasses, everyone expected me to be weak.
But I wasn’t weak. In P.E. class, I was one of the best runners, long jumpers, and wrestlers. In wrestling, the P.E. coach generally tried to not have small kids wrestle the big kids, so that the small kids didn’t get hurt. I would challenge the biggest kids, which they hated, because even if they did win, they had to fight as hard as they could and they would just barely beat me, and the whole thing would be humiliating because they were so much bigger than me.
The strength that I had, was from riding bicycles all day, or rowing all day, starting from when I was six or seven years old, and going well past the point of what was physically easy, to the point of it being very difficult and even painful. My father had wanted me to exercise more doing push ups and lifting weights, but I didn’t want to at that time. I would mess around with my father’s rusty old weights some, but not very often. It wasn’t until I was approximately 14 or 15 years old that I began to use my father’s weight set more often.
When I was approximately 15 or 16 years old and in high school, my father bought a weight bench for doing bench presses at a garage sale, and brought it home for me to use. I was still small for my age, and I think that I was having a little difficulty with kids that were older or bigger than me in high school. I would not put up with bullying, and I would not back down, but I was having difficulty. In 9th grade, I might have been 5′-4″ or 5′-5″, and weighed maybe 130 lbs. I recognized, and my father recognized that I needed to get bigger, heavier, and stronger if I was going to survive very well. I was just too small.
Sixteen or seventeen was when I started to lift weights almost every day, using my father’s weight set in our garage. I did many repetitions and many sets of flat bench press and bicep curls. I did some overhead press. My muscle size and my muscle strength increased, and my weight increased. My coordination increased and my confidence increased. Thank God.
I shudder to think what kind of person I would be now, if I had not begun lifting weights in high school, made gains in my size and strength, and understood how to make gains in my size and strength. It was regrettable that I had not begun a simple routine of weight lifting in elementary school, and been that much further along in high school. When I graduated from high school, I was approximately 5′-8″ and weighed 155 lb. Still pretty small.
In my first semester of college, away from home, I quit lifting weights altogether, in order to focus completely on my classes, and I became pretty scrawny. In second semester, I went to the college gym with some guys from my dormitory hall one day, and I continued to go almost every day from that point on. Again, Thank God, because I almost completely gave up doing any weight lifting, and I was becoming very scrawny and weak. I hate to think about what kind of scrawny and weak person I would have become, if I would not have continued to use weights.
That small college gym was my first experience in a “real gym”, where they had real weight benches and real bars, not shoulder width bar rests and 3/4″ diameter bars. At this point, I will quit calling what I knew as “weight lifting”, and call it “weight training”, because I began to learn that there was more to it than doing bench press and bicep curls every day.
I became acquainted with people who were more knowledgeable than me about “weight training”. I began to learn more exercises, how they developed different muscles, and variation of exercises throughout the week. When I returned home to Florida for the summer break, I began going to a very large and competitive gym.
In the coastal town of Florida where my home was, people were very concerned, conscious, and competitive about how they looked. One reason was, that everyone went to the beach and they didn’t want to look bad. Another reason was, everyone went out at night in Daytona trying to pick up women, whether they were local girls or out of town girls, and you did much better with women if you were tan and muscular.
At the first gym that I went to in Florida, some of the young guys were on football or wrestling scholarships at various schools around the country, some people were seriously competing in body building or power lifting, one guy was a male stripper. Everyone was very competitive about how much weight they could do, in every exercise, and in every lift.
One of my nemesis from high school, who was a little smaller than me, he could bench press 225 lb a couple of times, without a spotter, which I thought was a lot. One of the steroid user football players from high school who was a year older than me could bench press two 120 lb dumbbells twice, which I thought was a lot. Another guy from my high school that was a year older than me, he could squat 385 lb, which I thought was a lot. In the gym, nobody acted like an asshole, but everyone was competing against each other.
That summer, I worked from 7:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at a resort in a swamp on the ocean doing grounds keeping. Every day after work, I would go home, take a shower, and then go to the gym. I was young, tan, in shape, and very muscular. Women, were nice to me, especially older women, even though I had bad acne. My sophomore and junior year at the small college that I went to up north, when I returned after summer break, being so tan, in-shape, and muscular, the women were very interested in me and I stood out.
It was the competitiveness of the gyms that I went to that helped me. I had a much, much better life, being in shape, being muscular, being more confident, and having more interest and attention from women. Seeing men that were bigger and stronger than me, being able to do more weight than me, made me try to do better. Seeing people squat 600 lbs, made me realize that I needed to do more, that I had a long way to go.
After three years of college, I transferred to the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida to enter their school of engineering. The University of Florida was the hardest school in Florida to get into, and at that time it had 35,000 students. These were the most aggressive, ambitious, competitive assholes that I had ever been around in my life. The University of Florida football team won two national championships when I was there, and the young people in that town were very energetic and hyped up.
The Gainesville Gym had UF football players, ex football players, people who wanted to be “walk ons”, competitive power lifters, competitive body builders, bouncers, thugs, male strippers, female strippers, and steroid users. The Gainesville Gym sponsored the Mr. Gainesville body building competition. In the gym, none of these people were assholes, though it was very competitive in the gym.
By the time that I finally graduated from the University of Florida, this was just about the peak of my strength. I was 25 years old, 5′-9″ and 195 lbs. Though I could only bench press about 315 lbs, I could fairly easily bench press two 140 lb dumbbells for four repetitions, which in 30 years of going to gyms, I have only ever seen one other person do. I could over head press 245 lbs while seated, which in 30 years I have seen one person do 270 lb. I could do bicep curl repetitions with 135 lb, from a stand still without cheating, which in 30 years I have never seen anyone do repetitions with 135 lb from a stand still without cheating.
From going to “Weight Room” gyms, where everyone was competitive about how much they could lift, and seeing what other people could do, I became determined to do better and to do more myself. Instead of being a small, weak person, who was susceptible to bullying, and easily victimized, I ended up being much much stronger than an average person.
As an aside, from going to “Weight Room” gyms for many years, I learned how to more correctly asses the strength of other males from their physical characteristics, and base how I would handle situations on this. Likewise, other males who had gone to “Weight Room” gyms for many years, also based their actions on their understanding of physical characteristics. In life, this often resulted in an unspoken and mutual understanding in potential conflicts, among all parties, that no one wanted there to be a fight.
Though I had meant for the above paragraph to just be a side note, it actually ties in to what I wanted to say about “Fitness Centers”. When I was going to “Weight Room” gyms, some of the people at these gyms were violent criminals, had been violent criminals, were thugs, or bullies. I can not recall at any “Weight Room”, where any adult male wanted to start a fight with me. This was not out of kindness, this was out of a desire for self preservation.
In contrast, at the West River Community Center in Dickinson, which is a “Fitness Center”, I can hardly think of a time that some woman, some kid, or some man did not nearly start a fight with me. Whether I was sitting on a toilet, and some kid kept banging on the stall door after I already told him how to get to the other toilet, or some kid was kicking a soccer ball from the basketball court toward the joggers on the upper level track, or some woman who wore short shorts and was hanging upside down showing her panties was acting mad at me because she thinks I was looking, or some guy ran into me, I couldn’t go to the WRCC without becoming so irritated that I just didn’t even want to be there.
The long walk from a distant parking space in the WRCC parking lot, the kids getting underfoot as you enter the building, the moms with a bunch of kids taking up the entire entry way and counter so that you can’t pass or scan in, juveniles running through the corridors and the weight area, women taking up the benches and weight racks to lift 10 lbs or 20 lbs, young women and young men in their groups of twos or threes that are really just there because they have no other place to socialize as a minor.
As a male, what is motivational, inspirational, or impressive to you? A) A plump high school girl sitting on a leg machine, not using it, and sending text messages on her phone; B) Three high school boys milling around pushing and shoving each other because they have no place else to go; C) A woman on an elliptical machine; D) Some guy who can bench press twice his body weight.
If you want to be emasculated, you might as well just cut your testicles off and save yourself the trip of going to West River Community Center.