I’m freakishly strong for my size. It’s a medical curiosity. I’m often the strongest guy at the gym, at least in the exercises that I enjoy to specialize in.
A few days ago there was a freakishly huge guy at the gym, and I was in an unusually engaging mood. He was “fresh meat” at the gym, and had never seen some of the more eye catching sets that I do. So I asked him if he’d be willing to do some contests.
Yay! He was game.
His arms were almost as big as my legs, and my keen eye noticed the low body fat and the rare but important tells of strength; the vast network of bulges of veins.
He said that he enjoys contests, as long as he wins. I said that I can only enjoy a contest if there is the real possibility to lose.
I let him pick his weapons for the duel. I could not repeat the weight he used for his standard routine of pull downs. Next we went to the butterfly on the wires – a favorite of mine. He fully extends his arms, and did 10 sets of an unusually high weight for full extention. Never once bent his elbows for leverage. I did repeat at his weight, but conceded to him that my extention was not quite as good as his. He said “that’s not even the same thing!”
Then he seemed to get annoyed. He said “You are going to get hurt. Don’t do that!”
I’ve heard that so many times over the years. Big guys think they are experts at everyone elses body. Most don’t realize that human’s vary quite a great deal in both how we respond to excersise, as well as types of muscle and how much of the muscle fiber we use. For instance some people, during strength training, will grow in strength at roughly the same rate as others, for the first 6 weeks or so, but their muscle mass won’t grow at all – and can even shrink. Others will grow only under specific training regimens – more or less reps, more or less weight. There is not only not any one size fits all regimen, but there is no one size fits all strength to weight ratio.
So any way, sometimes big guys get annoyed when they see me lifting and pulling big numbers, and try to “help” me do it right.
It’s arrogant and annoying, and my theory of mind of why they try to “help” is not charitable. I think they are subconciously trying to regain the status they think they earned by being big.
He got so annoyed at my pulling big numbers in the butterfly that he moved the pin to less than half the weight and told me sternly and in no uncertain terms that THAT was the weight I should be training with.
Convivially I said “Oh, really?” Then I grabbed the wires, as he turned to show me the raised hackles on his back. I had to call out twice to get his attention, as he was being very deliberate in NOT seeing how well I fared at his “suggested” weight. I was whipping the weights around like small plastic childrens toys, breathing rate not raised at all, and could have gone on for twenty or more minutes. “Oh no, I think I’m hurting myself!”
Then I strolled over to the dumbells, and grabbed first a set of 18s. I grabbed his eyes across the room with mine, pointed at the number, then him, and mimed for him to also try. Then did an easy set of 10 reps of curl then press above your head, one barbell in each hand.
Then I did the same with a set of 20s. One guy starting video recording. I think I did 20 reps. Not even breathing hard. Heartrate was fine. Some big guys came over to ask me about how I was so strong, and I said:
“I wish I could be big like you. You know, some guys get big, and others just get strong. I never get big. It’s just a different type of muscle, somehow.”
The huge guy was silent. I walked over and challenged him to try the barbells. All he said was “No way man. You’re stronger than me.”
It’s a bit annoying that I’ll never look as strong as I am. Sun Tzu thinks it can be an advantage to be underestimated. I’m not sure. Maybe bluff is equally valuable.
Sometimes I wish I was big with muscles and a body type that works just for show. I’ve seen guys with greyhound shaped rib cages that don’t need any meat on them to get that perfect triangular torso. Guys with high fat content muscles that naturally fill out a shirt. I have to work really fucking hard just to get my torso into a decent triangle, and my flared ribs with sunken chest mean I have to heavily overconpensate. At my fittest, I always look better with my shirt off than on, as the lean-ness of the muscles with their striations rippling in movement is unexpected and not obvious.
After the guys who were video recording my set and cheering me on and counting each rep came over, I punctuated the conversation by strongly punching the rubber foam padded wall collumn. Once with each hand. Hard enough that would sprain most people’s wrists, bruise and possibly fracture bones. Bones also respond to resistance training, which is why some martial artists punch wooden boards.
Nobody would ever know or suspect that I don’t need gloves or taped wrists to work a boxing bag, and am working towards being able to throw a series of hard punches against a bony body part without hurting my hands.
I’ve considered before playing like a billiards pool shark – carefully ensnaring unsuspecting big guys into placing bets. But most guys I meet at the gym won’t do any contest with me.
That guy was fucking huge. A real genetic freak of nature lottery winner huge.
I’m a freak of nature small.
It’s double edged and maybe there is no lesson to be learned – it’s just the choiceless way it is. No matter how fit I look, looks won’t reveal the potential.
Reminds me of a comment that I made decades ago to a friend, that only earned me an incredulous raised eyebrow at my self-overestimation and arrogance. I told him that it was VERY hard for me to get a pretty girl into bed, but after we fuck, it was always easy to keep them.
Some potentials are not easily displayed, or seen in others.