Dear Macho Male Gym Rat,
Please forgive the sexist assumption that you are male. I don’t know you. I haven’t seen you. For all I know, you could be an extremely strong and exceedingly tall female. But I haven’t seen any of those bodybuilding females at my gym, this post applies equally to XX and XY chromosome folks, and I have never met a woman—not that they don’t exist—who can lift over 360 pounds. Which is the total weight of the eight 45-pound plates you loaded onto the Smith machine bar . . . and left there for someone else to unload. Like me.
I unloaded it, all right. Never mind that you’d left the bar suspended at my eye level, approximately five feet from the ground. I can handle the weight, one plate at a time, as long as I was careful not to yank the plates off or drop them on my toes or hurl them like a Frisbee across the gym and hit the retiree doing bicep curls. That’s not my gripe.
Here’s the thing: you loaded it, but you didn’t unload it.
- If you have the strength to do something with 360 pounds, don’t you also have the strength to undo it?
- What’s the good of having strength and power if you aren’t going to use it wisely?
- What’s the point of building muscles if you won’t consider how to help others through your strength?
Forgive my assumption that you don’t. Maybe you do. Maybe you’re admirable. You help little old ladies across the street. You rescue cats from trees. You move your friends’ furniture up three flights of stairs to their new apartment without complaining or expecting cold beer and pizza in payment. Or help cats cross the street, rescue little old ladies from trees, whatever. If that’s the case, wonderful. I hope you’re around when I’m the little old lady stuck up in the tree with my cat.
But when you leave the next gym-goer to unload heavy weights, without considering whether that person can safely do it, I assume that you’re inconsiderate, lazy, and more concerned about impressing people with your physique than with impressing people with your character. I’m not impressed.
Someone once said,
“There are two ways of exerting one’s strength. One is to push down. The other is to pull up.”
It’s not just an observation about physical strength and push-pull forces. It’s true in other realms, too. If you have some strength, it’s there for a reason.
We all have some strong point. And we all have a choice of how to use it.
Will I use it to help others and pull them up? Will I use it to push them down, hoping that this makes me look better?
Sometimes it’s a challenge to know how I can best use my strength for others’ good. Other times, it’s a challenge to deny myself the fleeting satisfaction of using my strengths to push others down. But these are challenges that can and must be faced.
Just something to ponder.
Another gym rat