Storytime: Soooo I was at the gym last night. On normal days I’m finished by 3 or 4pm at the very latest, because that’s when the gymbros and gymsisters descend upon an otherwise peaceful utopia of regular people trying to resist the indelible marks of time under Standard Western Diet tension. By 5pm a person has to wait for equipment and watch jacked dudes holding uncomfortably long internal dialogues with the mirror.
Last night I went at 8:30. And it was chaos.
The best thing about working out midday is this: nobody cares and nobody pays attention to your bad form or silly human suit. At 8:30 they do.
Now, I’ve been a vegan since the new year — and challenged myself to go to the gym every single day. I’ve begun to lift big. Without getting into the details of my plan, I occasionally lift very heavy with lower amounts of repetitions (4 sets of 8 reps).
After waiting patiently (and attempting non-judgement) for a group of selfie takers to finish their affair with the leg press, I loaded 900 pounds for my four sets. I’m not going to lie, it is super fun to press that much weight, even though it’s potentially embarrassing. As an isolation move with a mechanical advantage, pressing isn’t that great of a lift (squatting is more difficult and far superior in terms of benefit). There’s nothing worse than some huge dude getting on the leg press burdened with 20 plates and doing an ungodly 1/4 rep. It’s silly and doesn’t do anything for your body, other than potentially sacrifice your knees and femurs at the altar of ego.
I’ve worked for many years to get to the point where I can do eight slow, controlled, full repetitions with nine hundred pounds for four sets. It isn’t easy.
Here’s where the vegan thing comes in. I farted at the bottom of my first repetition. It wasn’t super loud and didn’t smell, but hordes of small gymbros-in-the-making, let’s call them gymbryos, were already swarming every inch of the gym, some of them probably noticing the audacious fat guy at the leg press.
Anyone who knows me well knows I hate poop jokes. I don’t think potty humor is particularly funny or intelligent or becoming… that’s just my personal feeling and honestly, I’m probably not going to post this story for that one fact alone (I’m also an over-sharer, so who knows).
But something amazing happened. When pressing that much weight, the world falls away and stuff other than survival ceases to matter. I finished my set, stood up, and realized something had changed; what once would have mortified me no longer did. I anticipated the sting of self-conscious rebuke, but nothing came. I went down to the press a young man and emerged an elder, unfazed by the passing of my own gas. That’s the test, right? My whole life had led to that point.
When interviewed, dying people overwhelmingly report that their biggest regret in life was caring too much about what other people thought.
I no longer did. I was one with the universe. I finished my sets with a little smile and then nothing, because I stopped caring for real.
Poop jokes still bother me though.
[since I promised to post the results of my Well Planted Year each month, as of March 1st: another 10 pounds down, making a total of 20 for 2018 so far]
*also, side-note, I hear that if you wash your beans super well, flatulence is less of an issue. Cheers.