The three year old itch 

“DO IT FOR ARSENAL MANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN” a sudden motivational scream gripped the floor. 


“BRO, what would BATMAN say man!!!!” , another voice contributed to the ensuing chaos. 

And before I realized it, I was caught in the middle of a frenzy.

****************

Three years ago I was a meek and an extremely conscious bloke at the gym. I did my best to mind my own business and I’d not bother stepping out of my way in making new friends. I remember the time distinctly. I’d go about my routine of running around and working out on the Ellipticals. I was a cardio junkie back in the day. 

One evening, there I was. Iron maiden was screaming in my ears and I was following my usual routine of treadmill, elliptical and climbing the stairs a few times, when a hollering scream cut right through Bruce’s voice. A motely gang of regulars had ganged up around the bars and weights. They neatly formed a circle and a frenzy was taking shape. Blokes were cheering for the guy lifting weights. One section was trolling him with jibes. One section was trying hard to motivate the bloke into lifting ludicrous weight! One section was there to have fun. 


And just like that , the atmosphere in the gym changed. There was a buzz of electricity taking us by storm. A lot oh grunting, YEAHHHHHHHHHH, ARRRRRRRRGH, frantic cheering followed and hi 5’s were generously exchanged. Each muscle bound warrior had his moment of glory power lifting. 

Curiosity got the better of me. ‘Master, what’s going on there’ , I asked my trainer. 

‘Don’t bother with that. Bunch of guys all planning to get someone killed in an accident today’, the bloke dismissed. 

That was that. 

Bifurcation at the gym is a simple affair. We have pretenders. These are essentially slim blokes who hit the gym , loiter the premises, network with folks and usually have a good time there. There are us, the unfit blokes. We are the ones who are there on a MISSION, so to speak. All heart and a body that is not interested in what the heart wants 🙂 rofl.. yeah, that’s a wonderful phase. There are the GUYS. These blokes appear to be super serious. They usually don’t socialize with strangers. They come, they work out, they leave. 


Having spent quite a while at the place, over time , I got to move a few places in the ecosystem’s social strata. I’d hit the floor, share a few laughs with the regulars. The serious guys would take a minute to indulge in a few laughs. The newer blokes would ask me pointers and tips on how I managed to do it. The pretenders would knuckle bump me and we’d have the quintessential BRO conversations that would start with ‘Wasssssup Man’. 

This morning started on a breezy note. I stepped into the floor feeling awesome and pumped to start the day. As luck panned out, I found myself getting paired with a serious lifter. We were working on Deadlifts. I joked about how I’d only end up slowing down the bloke. My trainer declared that I was his SPARTAN and Spartans never gave up. Enough said, with my track record taking on reckless challenges, I signed up for my possible injury 🙂 


A little detour wiki read on Deadlifts : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deadlift



And the game began.

The first round was a warm up. The bloke started with 35 pound plates. It was a casual lift. One through ten, I managed it without breaking a sweat. 

The bloke offered me a warm smile and asked me to increase the weights. 45 pounds. Round 2 .


I’ve been a casual lifter. I managed 45 with relative ease. One through ten. only this time, I broke a little sweat.

“Kill it bro”, My trainer reminded me that he was still very much alive and keeping a close watch on how I was holding up.

Round 3 , we upped the ante to 80 pounds. 

One… I grunted. two… it became a deliberated pull. I managed till seven and I gave up. I dropped the bar and it fell with a thud. 

The serious lifter walked up to me. “Almost there man. Three more. Lets do it . Don’t give up now”, he assured me. 

I took in heavy breaths. I mentally prepped up for the challenge. And finally when the count hit three, I walked away in style. The satisfaction of getting things done, I tells ya.


Round 4: 90 pounds!

By this time a crowd had managed to round up. Faces both known regulars and new ones were to be seen. Come on man!!!! the guys started cheering. 

90 was the heaviest I had lifted in a long while. I managed 5 counts and I knew I couldn’t push anymore. The serious lifter gave me a hi 5. Well done bro. His words stood to both cheer and motivate me. I guess I had garnered his respect at some level. It felt good. 

By now, the guys around decided to jump into the action and each of them had a shot at lifting . It became a game of speed now. 

Round 5: 135 pounds! 

I knew this was ridiculous. Three 45 pound plates each side of the bar. The bar was like 7 something Kgs. It brought the total to about 68 kgs! I had lost the round even before I started it. I didn’t have an ounce of confidence in lifting the weight. I still gave it a shot to appear COOL. Big damn mistake. I broke my cardinal rule about the gym. Never let EGO take control. I managed to lift the weights off the ground but that was that. I couldn’t manage to lift it all the way.



“DO IT FOR ARSENAL MANNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNNN” a sudden motivational scream gripped the floor. 

“BRO, what would BATMAN say man!!!!” , another voice contributed to the ensuing chaos.

“Life mama, lift.. Lift you damn ******* ,********, ********,**********” yelled someone affectionately! Wow, so much tough love. 

With renewed spirit, I decided to give it a shot. 

ONEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE, it was the longest grunt that I had ever grunted before. I felt a sharp soaring pain across my arms and back. I knew my posture was right but the load was a little too much. One done , I walked away from the bar. 


And that was that.

It took me three years to understand the frenzy that I had witnessed a while ago. I felt amused at how the time had changed. I started my term as a hopeful candidate. I was a spectator for a few things for a while. I became an explorer. I grew into a regular. And this morning, I was a part of the frenzy. 

Fitness is not a destination. It sure is a journey that one embarks upon. It’s a journey that keeps us open to so many paths that are waiting to be strolled. As I left for the day, my master called me aside and said he was damn proud of what I had managed today. One day Master, I added. I’m gonna push that 135. 

Bring it on, he said and we signed of the day with a knuckle bump. Oh what a fantastic way to start the day.

The Ipod sang “Carry on my wayward son. for there will be peace when you are done”, and an Amen to that 🙂

#KeepRunning

Karthik

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