Tricep dips with a heavy dumbell between my ankles; BB curls; DB skullcrushers: CC was slamming my arms. We laughed about my completely despondant and desperate text message from yesterday. CC loved my new clothes and shoes. "Dude, you look like a jock now. You're a meathead." I was flattered, and told him so. Although I was picking more breathable high-tech workout clothing, I had also picked out a meathead wardrobe.
But I didn't get the shirt I wanted, a sleeveless Under Armour loose-fit jersey. Instead, I wore a Nike Dri-Fit short sleeve tee, in black. Black Nike Dri-Fit shorts, that come to my knees. And new shiny-silver, black, red, and white Nike trail running shoes. I felt like a commercial for Nike. CC thought I looked cool.
I was about ready to do this exercise whose name I can never remember (DB curls where you flip the dumbbells around after you've curled at the top) when CC said "Stop, hold on". I stopped, DBs hanging at my sides. CC rolls up my sleeves, and squeezes my arms. "You gotta show those bad boys off!" I was pumped, and it hurt (again), but I didn't recognize myself at all when I looked at myself. "Okay, go." I did the set. Then I looked more. My fancy gay ghetto gym in exile has lighting problems, but the dimmness and direct-down theatrical lights definitely put my vascularity in high shadow. I looked at the mirror on a far wall, to see myself from a distance of 40 feet, and couldn't find myself. Where I was, there was a short, solid guy with huge arms. CC just sat there, smiling. He was proud. "The best spot is over here", pointing to a pool of light a few feet away. I stood there, and was spotlit. This was fun. Except it was late sunday, and the gym was well-trafficked, so a lot of queens started to take their turn looking. I felt a little bashful, like I wasn't ready for my runway show yet, and stepped out of the light.
As I walked past CC back to the bench, I said low, to him: "God, that was fun."
My arms were kicked a little early, and we finished up the legs workout I cut short yesterday.
I did a dumb thing: I ate too close to a workout. A legs workout. CC always has me doing heavy deadlifts. This time it was not as heavy, but very high reps. When he asked for a fourth set of 12 at a weight I'd been doing 3 sets of 10 with, I noticed the thought this is more than I can do, which comes up a lot in our workouts in response to the buildup of lactic acid, and I proceeded to do the set anyway. I slammed it out.
Then, my lower back was in pain. Not muscle spasm pain, but pain from a really incredible pump. It felt good, but I couldn't move much. We did leg presses. Ouch. Serious pain. And, my tummy wasn't feeling so hot. Then, squats on a machine. Ouch more. This was beyond where I'd been in other workouts. I kept asking him for more rest time. But it didn't go away. My Posterior Stabilizers were pumped, and the blood coursing through them hurt.
Then, my stomach kicked in. He saw that I was really not able to do more for the PS so we moved to quad machine. I sat down and felt the urge to hurl. "I'm done". And that was it. I felt like such a loser for cutting the workout short. I told this to CC as I crawled up the stairs to the locker room. He said "Dude, you did some monster dead lifts today, you did great!".
I spent the rest of the afternoon with an upset stomach (bad sauce on my chicken) and guilt. CC and I had both been sick all week, so this was the first workout in almost a week, and I had to stop early, and couldn't eat anything. The pump pain went away about 30 minutes after I got home: if I hadn't had an upset tummy, I felt like I could go back and finish the workout. But CC was booked, and I felt like a loser. I texted him telling him so. Wow, out of nowhere came this powerful child in me, the one that got really angry, all inside, everytime I got taken out of a soccer game, or a rugby match, for whatever reason, even if I was concussed and ready to pee blood. My Idea Of How Things Should Look always trumps Whatever Is So.
A few hours later, at a friend's party, I didn't feel that way any more. I looked good, and felt like having a little fun.
Got pics from your Mom and they are really good. The dog is bigger. And Chad you look great. Good shoulders now and not a "punie" anymore. Strong and powerful. Stay that way. We are anxious to see all of you at Santa time. But I cannot shop anymore so will have to cut down on gifts. Besides don't know what anyone needs or wants. When you and Blake were little it was more fun. That's really Xmas then. Paul said your work is going fine. That's good and good for you. Take care now. Don't know where Bob is as I have not heard from him in awhile. Love you, Grandma and Grandpa.
My Grandparents are getting frail, and have been very mum about it. I only see them once a year, and we don't go on a whirlwind tour or anything, we just hang at their house for a few days. So it was a surprise when my parents told me a few months ago that they were really not able to move about or drive much.
When I was little, my mother, her mother, and my dad's mother all commented on how skinny I was. They probably said something a couple of times, but my brain turned it into a constant stream of ugly feedback. After years of working on my noggin, I noticed this feedback loop and put a stop to it. This last year, for the first time, I took actions that were free of the story in my head that I was just born a scrawny kid. The reality is that I was afraid of a gym and didn't know anything about eating to gain muscle size. So, a year ago, I started working out more intensely, and started eating 5-6 meals a day, very high in protein and calories.
What's funny is that after all the money I've spent cleaning out the dark corners of my mind, the feedback loop is still there. It doesn't affect my behavior anymore, because I choose to behave the way I choose to behave, but the chatter is still there. Sometimes, however, it does creep back into effect, because of unexpected notes like the one I received today from my Grandmother. This time, the words had the opposite effect, proving that the feedback loop is still running: Good shoulders now and not a "punie" anymore. Strong and powerful. Stay that way.
Given freely and without solicitation they were able to quiet the story in my noggin that says otherwise.
Yesterday, CC put in his Blackberry 8700g an appointment for this morning: "Work out Chad's arms so hard he can't beat off". CC and I talk about sex a lot, and I told him that I've been really horny lately, and have been jacking off like I was in my early 20s.
The workout was really nasty hard. We did a lot of eight by eights, eight sets of eight reps, with only 15 seconds rest between. We did about 5 exercises like that. That's 40 sets. Murder. I could barely move my arms by the end of the workout. Mission accomplished.
As you know, CC is constantly touching me, inspecting his work. I've gotten used to it. He touches me the way my hairdresser touches me, the touch of someone doing their job. After he squeezed my triceps, he gave me a nickname: Baby Gap. I'm outgrowing my clothes, and have tossed half of my wardrobe. I wore what I thought was a loose shirt today and CC joked that it probably felt like I had a midget choking me. So he kept calling me BG throughout the workout. Kind of like Baby Daddy but not as hot. He offered to take me shopping for a more meathead wardrobe. As usual, I'm game. I do what my trainer tells me to do.
A little later, CC kept chuckling during another inspection. I finished what I was doing and laughed too. He stated what we were both thinking. "We have completely transformed your body. And we're just getting started."
Some time ago, I recall telling my coach how my gym (at the time it was Chiquinox, but it may have well been the meta Gym) was a place where I never felt like I belonged. Kind of like Fire Island. Both are populated by queens who are either at that gym, at the Pines, or in Miami. And I was complaining that they were everywhere I went. My coach helpfully observed that they were everywhere I went because I was part of that crowd. I was a gym queen, a Fire Island queen, and a Miami queen. That was a moment that was not only humbling, but freeing. I belonged! Of course, after I broke up with my last boyfriend, I ceased visiting Fire Island every weekend, haven't returned to Miami, and promptly left the gym for one where no one can afford to travel, even by LIRR. My people.
Since my coach pointed out the strangeness of my complaint, I have always felt like I belonged, even when I am arguably the odd man out of any group.
Because of that at no time during CC's mini-lecture did I think I wasn't a meathead too. All I did was ask him how to get more glycogen.
A week ago I played in the Gotham Knights' alumni siden graciously called "Silver". We called it "Centrum Silver". The old-boys side.
Now in some circles I'm considered young. But in the rugby world my weak knees and just-over-35 age puts me squarely in old-boys territory. So I took a Bextra before the game and ran around a bit. I had one good run, where I did a great juke (CC had me practice my juking the week before), straightarmed the tackler enough to give me a half second, and performed a behind the back pass. Which of course went straight to the ground instead of to my mates' arms, but they picked it up and we eventually scored. It was exhilarating just touching the ball. It was exhilarating resisting a tackle, then getting tackled.
After the game, Matty said "dude, you're bleeding". I was bleeding on my neck. Just a scrape, but I didn't feel it. As soon as I'd walked off the pitch, my brain was looking for ways to make rugby work in my life again. I came up with a way to play a bit in a few more games this season, without hitting many practices and disrupting my weight-gain project.
I am hooked again. Being on the pitch with my old mates, people I'd not played with for two years, was like revisiting and old friendship, a friendship full of adventure and running, and it was like we had never stopped playing. We had pure, unbridled fun for 40 minutes.
This has been missing from my life, this sports-friend bond. The bond from choosing to work as a team for a particular time, at a particular place, under an arbitrary set of rules, with a ball.