When I walked into the Williams Center, I was expecting the normal amount of summer traffic. If you haven’t been, the normal amount of people in summer is around five. However, after walking in and handing my I.D. to the fitness supervisor, I quickly saw that this wasn’t the case.
About 20 guys roamed the weight room floor, but these weren’t just any guys. They were huge! These Man Mountains seemed to shake the earth as they stepped. They looked like “After” pictures from a P90X commercial. This was the Whitewater Football team’s scheduled lifting time.
At first, I was nervous to work out among them. These guys had muscles in places that I didn’t even have places! Would they look over and laugh as I loaded measly 25’s on each side of my bar? Sometimes, when you’re in the gym it feels like everyone is staring at you, but as I kept on pushing through my workout, I realized that this really isn’t the case. Not once did one of the guys stop to laugh at the weight on my squat bar or make fun of my skinny frame. In fact, quite the opposite happened.
Working out alone is nice, because you can go at your own pace. However, when it comes to exercises that require a spotter, you’re somewhat out of luck. So, there I sat, alone at the bench press. I had done my normal reps, 3 sets of 10. But I had been feeling good and wanted to push myself. But the more I thought about it, the more anxious I got. My arms were already tired, what If I couldn’t get the bar up to the rack?
Across the row from me, one of the Mountain Men was benching a casual 225 lbs. with no trouble. Surely, he could help me. After reminding myself that just because he was stronger than me doesn’t mean he was going to eat me, I asked for a quick spot. Sure enough, he agreed, just like that.
I got down to business, starting another set of 10 reps. I got to about 4 before I knew I wasn’t going to get there, but I kept on pushing. By rep 6 my arms seemed to be made of jello. I pushed out another one to show my new spotting partner that I wasn’t weak, but finally I said, “I can’t do it!” and tried to rack the weight.
“You got this man, come on. 2 more” he told me. I was absolutely not on board, but this guy basically controlled whether or not I dropped 115 pounds directly onto my own neck, so I pushed on.
As he helped me lift the bar for rep 9, I thought I couldn’t do one more, but my spotter kept encouraging me, helping me to get the most out of my workout. The last rep, I couldn’t even feel my arms. it felt like he lifted the entire bar, and my arms were just along for the ride. But finally! I was done. In fact, that performance equaled a personal record for me, 40 reps in one day.
After that, I offered him a spot, and watched as he did 225 with ease. I’m glad he didn’t need help; I don’t think I could’ve lifted much weight if he did! But proper gym etiquette calls for a return of the favor.
I never got the name of my spotter, but the lasting impression I got from him was more than enough. At the end of the day, everyone is in the gym for the same reasons. People are there to get fit, stay healthy, and work on themselves. Weather you are 100 lbs. or 300, everyone in the gym just wants gains. Don’t be intimidated by Whitewater’s athletic teams when you see them on the weight room floor. In fact, if you need a spot, they are willing to help. Just like us, they’re here to set and achieve goals.
I hope you reach your fitness goals!