The kid wondered about the gym looking for something to do. He had messed around with his sand filled plastic weight set at home for a few months and knew some of the movements but was now lost in an array of steel and iron never seen before.
Dirt and chalk scattered the floor, the lighting was cast from overhead from half lit florissant bulbs and the walls were full of holes covered with tacked up pictures of lifters, bodybuilders and football legends. The equipment was old and beat up, the weights rusted and the clock on the wall had not worked in years. The sounds of pain and exhaustion were scattered throughout heavy metal music blasting through bass blown speakers. As soon as the kid walked into the 800 square foot gym he was hit with the smell of sweat, icy hot, and propane . He knew he had walked into a world like no other.
As he walked about the scatted plates trying to find something to do he began to feel like he was in the wrong place. His father set this up with a friend of his so his son could learn the way of the iron. But this friend was not there and the kid was left to his own in a place full of beings bigger than he had ever seen.
There was no tuning back.
The kid was dropped off and would be picked up in 2 hours. With nowhere else to go he decided to get on the bench and try a few sets. He knew this movement but had only done it before off milk crates while laying on his bedroom floor. Now he had the luxury of a bench and a real barbell and was ready to get started. He stared with the bar and knocked out a couple sets of 10 and moved up to 135. This was not heavy for the kid but felt much different then what he had been doing at home.
As he sat on the end of the bench a deep voice interrupted him.
"Hey BUCK, can I give you some advice?"
The kid looked up to see a mass of muscle and veins standing before him. He wanted to tell the man his name was not buck but was more interested in hearing what he had to say.
"You need to get your body tight when you bench press and focus on pushing your body away from the bar, not the bar away from your body"
For the next 10 minutes they worked on how to bench press. Everything was addressed, training was discussed, and the process of getting stronger was on the way. The Kid was blown away but what had just happened. He wanted to ask so much more but did not want to press his luck. He got back to his sets and kept pounding away. Set after set, he worked on his bench. He would have benched all day if he did not hear another voice from the gym.
"Hey BUCK, that's enough move onto Incline Dumbbell Presses"
It was not hard to see these guys were not going to let the kid wonder around the gym without knowing what to do. Meanwhile the kid did what he was told and started pressing the bells for multiple reps. Once again after two sets the monster was back.
"Listen Buck, You want to press with more control. Don't let the weight control you. You have to take charge of the weight and do them with authority."
This went on with each movement for the rest of the session. They would tell the Kid what to do and help him along the way. Before the end of the day a few of the men came over and said that they trained on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 4:30pm and would be willing to help him out if he had any questions.
The kid spent the next 1/2 speaking with these guys about the sport they were involved in, powerlifting. The Kid had never heard of this sport before but was intrigued with the huge weights these guys were lifting and wanted to know how to get involved. The kid hesitant to ask but pulled together the courage and asked, "How can I get involved in this?"
These guys could have blew this young 13 year off but invited him into their group. Over the next few years the kid grew bigger and stronger and surpassed all the best lifts of the club. He was given support, coaching and guidance from men two and three times his age and to this day is grateful for the time they took to make him better. Actually, the kid went on to lift much bigger numbers and became a coach in his own right without ever forgetting those who helped get him where he is today.
Today this Kid is the same guy who is now writing this post. There were many lessons I learned in those first years but the one that means the most is the act of giving.
Contribution is the only way I can pay back all those who have helped me along the way and I will always do my part to honor the time they gave me.
So my question of the day is...
Are you giving back for all the gifts you have been given?
TweetOoops, forgot to add the author: Dave Tate.