Then and Now…

I was given my 1st weight set when I was about 12 or so. I would mow my neighbor’s lawn for $20. One day he didn’t have any cash, but said he would take care of me later.

Elliot’s like, “Hey kid, give me a few hours and I will stop by and drop something off for you for taking care of me.” I was like ok.

Hommie pulls up in his truck and starts breaking out the weights. I was so excited. I was immediately, hooked on it. Over the next 18 months my father purchased an old Olympic set. That is when it started getting serious.

I was a sponge; trying to learn everything I could out of a really old bodybuilding book, New High-Intensity Bodybuilding: For Massive Muscles Fast : Nautilus Training Principles Applied to Free Weights and Conventional Equipment” Paperback – March 1, 1990, by Darden Ellington.

Mind you I was still a year away from High School. We, my brothers and I, I am the oldest of 4 boys, we are all roughly 18 months apart, would train in the hot ass’d garage in South West, FL in the early 1990s.

Needless to say, even then at that young age, work was hard… Training in a small garage in the heat was very Rocky workout montage eschew. By the time I got to High School and had access to a real weight room we learned discipline.

• Train hard. • Flawless technique on every rep/set. • Put your weights away. • Spot your fellow lifters. • Push your fellow lifters. • Push The Limits… • Respect the Gym and all its lifters. • Even, and especially if there are women trying to train. RESPECT…

We shared it with all the ladies training for other sports. To me, it was no big deal, but to other guy’s it was like a macho thing. I never understood that. Being the smallest lifter, but most accomplished lifter.

Back then I was 5’2 – 125lbs. I could bench double my bodyweight and almost squat three times my weight. I never lost a weightlifting meet (competition). I was the 1st Freshman to Qualify for State in my School’s history, my brother was the 2nd and the school’s 1st State Champion. My only non-1st place finishes were at the State level where I placed in the top ten 3 times and top 5 twice. I had the state record for bench press for about 10 minutes… I know… You work all that time for that, but I had it, it was mine. I was not in school my Junior Year.

After High School, I continued to lift but wasn’t very serious about it. I was in FilmSchool at the time, chasing girls and drinking more. It wasn’t till 2008 I started getting serious again. Again, started at the garage level and then in 2010 I started going back to a gym to train. It wasn’t till 2012 I started training legs again.

I was still all about the power and then I just got too thick. I needed to cut back. One of the hardest things I had to do was unlearn lifting for power and learn to lift for fitness. I lost 50+lbs in about 18 months. At great losses to my person’s. My health, my mind, my spirit, my strength all had its ups and downs.

That is why when I say I have a real spiritual connection to my mind/body/spirit in the gym, it is because I do. I train like I am the only one in the room. I don’t care what people think when they watch me only bench the bar for 100 reps or lip-syncing my favorite metal songs, looking like I have the look of pure evil on my face. I do not care when I make eye contact and do not deviate from what I am doing. When I train, it is all about what I am doing…

LOOK, I am there to train, not be Mr. Politically Correct or think/worry about intimidating the newbies. It’s not my problem or concern. I am very respectful. You wanna train… Then Train, Show me you can train… Show me you earned the right to be there.

NO… Paying gym dues doesn’t mean you earned it. Don’t just sit there with the puzzled look on your face. Don’t sit on that machine playing on your phone when you should be focused on the task at hand. Responding to messages during a training session is poor discipline. That is why I am going where I am going and that person has yet to begin motion.

These Days there too many people in the gym that just wanna look the part and don’t wanna do the work. Sure, they will work a little, but they don’t push themselves. Not very hard anyways. I push myself like I am fighting with a clone of myself, why? Because I am, fighting with myself. It’s a clash between who I used to be, who I am and who I want to be. I will never stop that great fight…

It’s not a hobby, it’s a lifestyle. It’s the same as one’s dedication to their faith. In the brain, there is no difference. The human brain literally doesn’t know the difference between what you love, it just knows love. You can apply that to anything. It doesn’t have to be about fitness. Your lover. The pride you have for your kid, your country.

Sports/Athletic shorts, a shirt and wrist wraps or tape that was it. Oh, maybe a belt. Even that got in the way of form and technique. So we’d get rid of that too. Some of the crap I see in the gym one would be laughed right out of the weight room back in the day. Yeah, back then they were not gym’s they were called weight rooms. All weights and maybe one or two bikes. That was it.

It’s crazy to me that even #gymlife tries to find an easy way out or make hard work, working hard, easier because it’s hard or difficult. Um, duh… Its supposed to be… If it were easy everyone would be doing it and not everyone is doing it. This isn’t just gym stuff these are lessons of life with logic in them and most epically fail at understanding the message.

Drives me nuts at my gym seeing so many weak disciplined people. It’s a mental block, people. People are so wrapped up in what their self-image looks like to everyone else they are forgetting that it only matters to themselves.

To me, the gym is my fortress of solitude. It is where I go to unwind. It is where I go to do battle with steel, rubber, pain. I challenge myself, I push myself. To me this is the equivalent of prayer, church, faith, meditation. I am absolutely in a meditative state. I can feel people’s eyes on me. Some of curiosity, some of fear, some of love, some of disdain. Some are just plain ole jealous…

I am very focused. I am superfocused, it’s hyperfocus. I don’t just want to take my lifting to another level, but my writing, my spirituality, my life all equal my love. I have to work hard to get there. I am doing just that.

Everything in my way is a distraction, even things I have put there myself. I cannot blame anyone, but me and that is exactly what I am doing. Own it. For those that read this, thank you. You are the ones I want to affect. I know what I say here, or there, or then, or haven’t said as of yet, is not for everyone. I get that, I respect that. I respect you… Thank You… Know It, Own It, Kill It with Kindness or Just Kill It…

Fear has 2 meanings. 1) Forget Everything & Run… 2) Face Everything & Rise… The choice is yours. This is not the Matrix… There is no Red Pill or Blue Pill. Only the Purple Pill, Red/Blue combined. Each choice is not a choice; it takes you to the same place, just a different experience. If we form our own reality with spirit then thought, then we control our experiences through life. I plan to control mine. What-Say-You? I want to inspire people. I want someone to look and say, “Because of you I didn’t quit.” You’re a small piece of the Universe that is conscious of its existence. So exist…

When you go to the gym. Be serious about it. Ask the big questions, demand answers and solutions. Too much hate in the world…

“I’ll tell you something… I think you’ll understand… When I’ll say that something, I wanna hold your hand.” The Beatles…. “Whatever you do, good or bad, people will always have something negative to say.” ~ W.H. Auden

Then and Now…
By David A. Mineo
1,488 Words