I hadn't seen much of Randy since we had competed back in May, but there certainly was more of him to see every time our paths crossed. He had stayed lean for the week after the show to do a photo shoot for a clothing catalog.
Randy had taken my advice about going on a mass-gaining quest once he had rested up for a week following the contest. The first time I saw him was less than two weeks into his bulking program, and his weight was 212. That was up from a dehydrated 184 at the contest, though he weighed 188 the night before.
212 was close to his usual off-season weight, but this time he looked bigger and leaner. It was almost another three weeks before I saw him again, and by then he was up to 220. If he had been appreciably fatter I would have been sure to give him the third degree, but he wasn't at all.
The kid had taken advantage of the unique metabolic opportunity that follows a pre-contest diet by training his butt off and putting the food and supplements away like a champ. The last I heard from him he was holding steady around 221, because it was summer and he didn't want to be too smooth to strut around the beach.
Here in Boston, if you don't take advantage of summer you will regret it, since it only comes once every four years. At least, that's how it feels when we are suffering through endless days of wind chill factors bringing the temperatures below zero, and blizzards that dump up to three feet of snow.
Finding A New Workout Partner
Because Randy wasn't training with me except very occasionally, and my wife Janet's work schedule often conflicted with my morning workouts, I have been training solo quite a bit lately. One thing about having a training partner that I had forgotten was that it helps to keep the nuts away, since they see you already have someone to talk to.
One of my most dreaded pests was Roy. I had known Roy off and on since I joined my current gym over four years ago, and wouldn't you know, he looks exactly the same now as the day I met him. Roy was 42, about 5'8" and 190 pounds. But as I am quite adamant in repeating to anyone who will listen (which isn't too many people), height and weight never tell the whole story.
Roy had a belly on him, one that looked like he was due to give birth within a couple months, unless of course he had a preemie kicking and squirming in there.
His arms and legs had a little bit of size to them, just enough to let you know that he either worked out or had at one time, but they were doughy and smooth. If Roy were to be lean enough to see a six-pack, he would probably have to drop down to around 160.
Training With Roy
This guy was like so many others in gyms everywhere - a part-time trainer. I would see him for maybe a month or two on a regular basis, then he would fall off the face of the earth for another couple months. Every time he returned, Roy made a point to seek me out and let me know that he was "getting back into training," and was "going to start eating good again."
I haven't yet revealed the most ironic facet of all this yet. Roy was and is totally into bodybuilding. He subscribes to all the major magazines, actually reads them rather than just look at the pictures as I suspect many do, and is also a fan of the sport. He has even been to the Arnold Classic once, and can always tell you who has won the most recent pro shows.
Roy also buys plenty of supplements, although only sporadically. This is because he will use them for a while when he's training, and then stop using them when he slacks off again for whatever dopey excuse he has at the time for doing so.
Roy knows exactly how to train and eat to make the changes he wants with his body. He just doesn't actually follow through and do it. Because of that, I have always found Roy to be particularly annoying.
I can forgive the ignorant for not training correctly or eating the way they should, as they simply don't know any better. But for someone to have all the knowledge and squander it by not applying it just burns me up.
As the years have gone by, I have found it increasingly difficult to conceal my disgust. I had just finished a heavy set of squats in a power rack and was stretching my quads out when Roy sauntered up. It was late July, and unless I was mistaken, there had still been snow on the ground the last time I had seen this knucklehead.
Applying The Knowledge
"Hey Ron, how's it going?" he smiled. Roy was wearing a string tank top. Roy should not wear string tank tops, except maybe perhaps in the confines of his own home, with the window shades down. Maybe not even then. This string tank top was fairly dry, because Roy didn't train hard enough to break a sweat. I had seen him meandering around the machines and doing a little dumbbell work, and that was it.
"Hey Roy, long time no see. Where've ya been?" This had better involve him being kidnapped and sold into slavery in Southeast Asia to work in a sneaker factory, or else. "Ah, work's been stressing me out, and..."
"Oh? I can't think of a better stress-reliever than hard training. So what, Roy, you haven't had time to get to the gym?" He was starting to look uncomfortable. "Well, like I said, I've been busy with work."
"Right," I nodded. I knew he was single and had no kids. I pointed to a hard-bodied woman in her late thirties running on the treadmill. Sweat was literally flying off of her brow and drenched her sports bra and tight workout pants. Not that I was complaining, mind you. "Susan over there is a single mother with two teenage daughters. She works full-time and chauffeurs her kids all over creation. She's here training at least five days a week. I wonder where she finds the time?"
"Huh, that's great," Roy commented, shuffling and starting to look around. I think he was finally starting to figure out that I was no longer going to shower him with encouragement as I had done in the past. "Well, I'm all done for today. I'm gonna start getting serious again."
"Done? What about cardio?" I stared at his belly. "I seemed to recall you telling me you wanted to get that gut down. In fact, you were telling me that a couple years ago and it looks about the same to me now." "Yeah, I know, I just have to ease back into it, you know, baby steps."
Breaking Down Roy
"Baby steps are for babies," I deadpanned. "You're over forty years old. You don't have a lot of time to be easing into anything anymore. You should be doing cardio to burn that fat off. But fine. You're done for today, you say. Where's your shake?" "What shake?" he asked.
"The last time we talked, I told you to get some whey protein, Vitargo or waxy maize, creatine, and glutamine to make your post-workout shakes that were to be consumed immediately after training. You're done training, so where's the shake?" "Oh. Oh yeah, well I'm not going to start using supplements again until I get my groove back with training."
"Get your groove back? Is your name Stella?" I shook my head and decided to go for the kill. Don't ask why, but I was just in a pissy mood that day. Maybe it had something to do with waiting over two years for the sequel to Rob Zombie's schlock-horror classic House of 1,000 Corpses to come out, only to have it completely suck @ss. "How's your eating?" "I'm going to start eating good again," he assured me.
"When? Why not today? Are you waiting for a burning bush to tell you to stop eating junk and eat the way you know you are supposed to?" To say Roy looked uncomfortable would be an understatement. I knew he regretted approaching me this time. Lest I scare him away from the gym yet again with my hostility, I decided to at least attempt to be more encouraging. I knew he wasn't a bad guy, just a lazy S.O.B.
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"Roy, I have known you for a few years now, and from day one I was impressed with your knowledge of training and nutrition." That brought a little smile. "Thanks," he said.
"But you haven't put any of it to use. You should look a lot better than you do, and you know it. If you applied all that knowledge packed in your brain, you would have a lot more muscle on you and a lot less fat. You would look like a bodybuilder. I hate to say it, but to me, you don't even look like someone who works out, and that's a shame." He hung his head and nodded. "I know, I know," he said quietly.
"Exactly my point. Let me tell you something, and forgive me for being blunt. It's just how I am. I am sick of you telling me you're going to do this or that and finally get in great shape. I don't want to hear it anymore. Stop talking about it and just do it. Forget all your lame-@ss excuses that you make to yourself, because they are all bull. You know what you need to do, so get to work right now."
He didn't say a word, but he refilled his water bottle and headed for the treadmills. There were plenty of open ones, but he went right next to Susan. I could see Roy trying to make conversation with her, but she was wearing headphones and turned the volume up on her MP3 player, ignoring him.
All of a sudden I realized I wasn't doing what I needed to do, either! I had to make sure I was able to finish my workout with no more interruptions. I went back to the locker room and retrieved my own headphones, which I normally didn't wear except for cardio.
I slipped it on and cranked up the tunes. My missionary work for the day was done, and all the other nuts would have to wait until another time to piss me off.