The Gray Gym
He wears gray sweat pants to a gray gym. There are six power racks and six Texas Power Bars. Barbell curls are a taboo here. All 16 regular members of this gym squat to depth, some to a greater degree than others. Diets are eschewed. Strength is an idol. Those who lift the most in this gym are leaders. The gym is a clan. A guild. Some may even have dual membership in this gym as well as a World of Warcraft guild. Gray Sweat Pants is one of them.
The heaviest squat in this gym is 575lbs. It is done by a 6’1″ man who weighs 256lbs. He squats low-bar. When others don’t, he refers them to Starting Strength. There is no other book that successfully makes a strong of a tautological argument for any other squat.
The heaviest bench is done by an active duty police officer with a scar on his eye. He benches 425lbs and weighs 230lbs. His arms aren’t especially short.
Gray sweat pants works hard. The 100% cotton is soaked when he is done with his volume squat workouts. He squats 355lbs 3×5 low-bar to 2″ below parallel, reliably. Consistently. He benches 275lbs 3×5, but on some days has been known to miss the last rep of the last set. He has a 525lbs deadlift with a small degree of lumbar flexion. He is praised for his ability to grind the lift to lockout. Maybe one day he will be a leader. To this end, he flames others in /r/fitness for not reading the FAQ.
In the summer, a lady asks to train in the gym. She is beautiful. She could be a fitness model, but doesn’t realize it. She squats high-bar. Gray Sweat Pants is mesmerized. She notices him staring, sometimes. She smiles at him. She wears horn-rimmed glasses when she trains.
“I saw you power cleaning,” she says to him. “Are you an olympic lifter? I have been wanting to learn.”
Gray Sweat Pants shakes his head. He only power cleans 185lbs for a triple. He weighs 205lbs.
Intrigued, Gray Sweat Pants becomes training partners with Horn-Rimmed Glasses. They explore olympic lifting together.
“I have a coach from tumblr,” she says. “We can video our lifts and he will critique them for us. Do you have a tumblr? Add me.”
Gray Sweat Pants does not have a tumblr. He discovers that Horn-Rimmed Glasses posts semi-nudes on hers. He makes one. He follows her. He pretends to be active on tumblr for reasons other than her and reblogs pictures of dogs and cats. She has relatively low bodyfat. When he masturbates, Gray Sweat Pants stares at the V of her abdomen leading to her mons pubis. Often he does this mere hours after seeing her at the gym. If he is lucky, they go to Chipotle together post-workout. She orders a bowl with no rice or beans.
As they train together, Gray Sweat Pants tries many new things in the gym. He does olympic lifting technique drills, a practice that he once thought was frivolous. He does mobility work with bands and lacrosse balls. He squats high-bar.
The top squatter scowls at this.
“You should know better,” he says when Horned-Rimmed Glasses goes to the bathroom in the middle of one of their squat workouts.
Gray Sweat Pants ignores him.
Horn-Rimmed Glasses reblogs pictures of lean, muscular lifters who obviously bodybuild. They have round delts and horse shoe triceps. Gray Sweat Pants begins to do curls on some of his upper body days. Horn-Rimmed Glasses notices after two weeks.
“Have your arms gotten bigger? It looks good.” She squeezes his bicep.
Top Squatter asks Gray Sweat Pants if he is gay.
Top Bencher tells him, in private, to supinate his forearm more on the concentric of his curls. “But you will probably get kicked out of here sooner or later for doing them.” He isn’t joking. Top Squatter owns the gym.
Gray Sweat Pants begins to read t-nation.com. He starts super-setting various delt raises. He curls and extends his elbows to failure, three days a week. When he goes to Chipotle with Horn-Rimmed Glasses, he too, avoids rice and beans post-workout. He stops drinking milk. One day, when he is about 15% bodyfat, he posts a semi-nude with extraordinarily good lighting on his tumblr. Horn-Rimmed Glasses reblogs it with the caption, “TFW no bear mode boyfriend.”
After one particularly grueling front squat day, they go to Chipotle, and Horn-Rimmed glasses says, “C’mon, it’s Friday, let’s get a drink.”
They fuck. He cums in two minutes. She snuggles him afterwards. He is hard almost immediately after, and they fuck again. He lasts a little bit longer this time. She falls asleep against him.
Gray Sweat Pants begins to do kegels. They don’t help.
Top Squatter stops Gray Sweat Pants in the middle of his triceps superset – close-grip bench, tricep pushdowns, and overhead triceps extensions.
“I don’t think this is the place for you anymore,” Top Squatter says. “I don’t think this is the kind of gym you’re needing. You need to leave.”
Behind him, at least 10 of the other regular members stand with their arms crossed, or with their arms in front of them in an internally-rotated hunch. Top Bencher is there, too, but he doesn’t look at Gray Sweat Pants. He is too busy benching 315lbs for reps.
Gray Sweat Pants doesn’t respond, but he also doesn’t go back to the Gray Gym.
Gray Sweat Pants is forced to sign up for a membership at LA Fitness. Only faggots lift there. Literally. They ask him how much his knees hurt when he squats high-bar. They question the rationality of benching so that the bar touches one’s chest. They see him curl 25lbs with a 4-1-2 tempo and ask him, “Is that it?”
Horn-Rimmed Glasses, strangely, is allowed to continue training at the Gray Gym.
“The only reason,” Top Squatter says, “is because she squats 225lbs for three.” Even if high-bar.
“I think they call that white knighting,” Horn-Rimmed Glasses tells Gray Sweat Pants after a short, frantic fuck. “But everyone keeps giving me ‘tips’ and ‘advice.’ I don’t need advice. I have a coach.”
Her coach is on tumblr. His name is foxtaillifter. He is an otherkin. He snatches 85kg. He competes at – but weighs less than – 69kg.
“You know,” Top Squatter says to her, “Your hamstrings are really quite lacking. It’s the reason you deadlift so little and your legs would look better if you had more of them. You should really consider low-bar squatting. I can coach you how.”
“I’m not interested,” Horn-Rimmed Glasses responds.
“Really,” Top Squatter says. “I’ve read the third edition of Starting Strength. Low-bar squatting is especially beneficial for weightlifters. The front squat and high-bar squat are redundant. Let me show you. I squat 575lbs. I’ve learned a thing or two.”
“I’ve seen your 575lbs squat morning,” Horn-Rimmed Glasses says, “That kind of squat would not help my olympic lifting.”
Top Squatter leaves the gym upset. When he comes back to the next day, he follows Horn-Rimmed Glasses to the ladies’ locker room and brutally rapes her. He slaps her face, hard, when she resists, and throws her against the lockers. She is the only female in the gym, and the Gray Gym blasts shitty death metal during its hours of operation, so no one hears her crying for help until it’s already over and she staggers out, sobbing hysterically, her face swollen, bruised, and cut, her horn-rimmed glasses cracked and broken.
Gray Sweat Pants storms into the Gray Gym.
“You’re not supposed to be here – ” Top Squatter starts, but is interrupted when a 25lbs plate collides into his face.
Top Squatter’s spotters tackle Gray Sweat Pants. They crash into a bench, and the Texas Power Bar crashes to the floor. Gray Sweat Pants takes the back of one spotter’s head and smashes it forward, into the pins of the bench. The pin jams into the spotter’s eye socket. He screams. Gray Sweat Pants rolls off the bench, taking the second spotter with him. The spotter’s head bounces off the collar of the barbell. Gray Sweat Pants takes the end of the barbell and pushes all his weight down against the spotter’s throat, so that the collar crushes his trachea. Air stops moving through his wind-pipe.
Top Squatter is bleeding profusely from his face, nose, and shattered palate. He is on all fours. Gray Sweat Pants kicks him over, and Top Squatter falls onto his back. Gray Sweat Pants hurls a 45lbs plate into Top Squatter’s face. He stops moving immediately and goes limp. Gray Sweat Pants continues to smash the weight into an increasingly deformed mass of bone and flesh until the plate hits the rubber flooring of the gym instead of brain.
Horn-Rimmed Glasses withdraws from everyone and everything. She stops lifting. She stops talking to Gray Sweat Pants. She collapses into depression and PTSD. Any intimacy reduces her to uncontrollable sobbing.
“I can’t see you anymore,” she says. “I’m falling apart. I need to be alone. Just leave me the fuck alone.”
The next day Gray Sweat Pants is benching at LA Fitness. He can barely hold the bar in his hands because of the grip fatigue from beating a man to death with a 45lbs plate.
He nearly fails the last rep of the last set of his bench at 275lbs when someone appears above him and takes the bar back into the pins. It is Top Bencher, the active duty police officer from the Gray Gym.
“That was a good set,” Top Bencher says.
Gray Sweat Pants says nothing.
“Do you know why I’m here?” Top Bencher asks.
Gray Sweat Pants nods.
“Then you know what I’ve got to do.”
Gray Sweat Pants nods again.
Top Bencher points an M1911 between Gray Sweat Pants’s eyes and pulls the trigger three times. “He was my love,” Top Bencher screams, “He was the man I loved, you fuck. You stupid fuck.”
Gray Sweat Pants bleeds on the floor of an LA Fitness. He spent the last few moments of his life failing a bench press.
tl;dr everything you love will be brutally taken away from you, everyone who lifts weights is a faggot, and sometimes dying under a failed bench press is the best thing that could happen to you.