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Things were not going well for poor Randy today as we trained legs. He couldn't budge the 315-pound squat that he normally got for five reps. He seemed exhausted, totally drained, and I had a pretty good idea why. It was Sunday morning, and he was twenty-two years old. Need I say more? When he gave up on a set of leg extensions ten reps in rather than squeezing out his customary fifteen reps, I had to call him on this embarrassing performance.
"My grandmother trains harder than you today, and she's been dead for fifteen years. What in God's name were you up to last night, stud-puppet?"
The Root Of The Problem
"Tracy and I went clubbing last night with some friends."
That explained it. I knew from past conversations that these outings typically lasted until about three A.M, later still if they heard about a happening after-hours club. There were a lot of club drugs going around, but Randy assured me all he did was drink. Now I wasn't so sure. This seemed to go beyond a normal alcohol hangover, plus I should have been able to smell some of the residual booze leaking out of his pores as he sweated. I didn't. And with the size of my nose, I don't miss much in the way of aroma detection. Toucan Sam, the Froot Loops bird, has nothing on me.
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"What time did you get in this morning?" I asked.
"A little before three, not too late," he croaked. Who was he kidding, not too late. I glanced up at the clock. We had started training a little after nine.
"So you slept a little more than five hours, tops?" He shook his head, staring at the ground.
"Didn't get any sleep." I had met his girlfriend. She certainly was a little firecracker, but I still doubted her amorous attention was really at the core of this debacle. It didn't take Sherlock Holmes or Inspector Poirot to figure this mystery out, not even the gang from Scooby Doo.
"You did Ecstasy, didn't you?" Randy wouldn't look at me. I could almost feel the heat of the shame burning in him at that moment.
"Look, I'm not a cop, and I'm not your dad. I'll leave the lecturing to them. Besides that, you're an adult, sort of, and you are responsible for your own choices. But I'm telling you this as someone who knows what it takes to build a physique, you can not be using that stuff."
"I know," he answered weakly.
"I'm sure it felt great at the time, but how do you feel now? Like shit, right?" That needed no reply. "You missed a whole night's sleep, and I bet you haven't eaten anything since then either, right? Now he shook his head.
"I tried to at least get some 50/50 Plus powder in a shake down, but I felt like I was gonna barf after just a few sips."
"Yup, the speed in that stuff kills your appetite and keeps you awake. I can't think of a worse combination for a guy trying to gain muscle." I thought for a moment as he reflected on that.
"Traci and your other friends, they party every weekend on that stuff, don't they?"
"Not every weekend. But at least twice a month, yeah."
The Hard Truth
"I know how crazy this is going to sound, but..." I hesitated myself. This was going to come off pretty heavy. "You need to stop hanging around with these people if you really want to reach the goals you have in bodybuilding."
Sure enough, Randy was looking at me as if I had just asked him to assassinate the Pope.
"Those are my friends since middle school." Middle school. We didn't have those when I was his age, just Junior Highs. No wonder these kids today are so confused.
"I'm not saying you can never see them again, but they are obviously a bad influence. I know you don't want to look like a nerd, but I bet if you keep going to these clubs they will keep peer pressuring you into using X, Special K, I don't know what else, Captain Crunch and GBH."
"GHB," he corrected me.
"Whatever, those are all extremely bad substances to put into a body that you want to be a shining example of exceptional health and strength. Let me ask you something else that I should have brought up before... what does Tracy think of your dream to be a famous bodybuilder?" Randy smirked.
"She thinks it's stupid. She likes my muscles the way they are now, but she doesn't think I need to look like the guys in the magazines."
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"I was afraid of that." I paused. "Dump her."
"Get rid of her and find a girl who at least goes to the gym and tries to eat right. Believe me, having a woman who shares your fitness lifestyle will make everything so much easier. My wife Janet supports what I do. Other guys have wives nagging at them constantly about all the training and eating, and it makes reaching your goals ten times harder. It always leads to big problems in the relationship eventually."
"Ron, I really like her, and she's so hot." Now he was almost whining. We men get that way when we fear our access to some amazing piece of tail is about to be cut off.
"You like her, you don't love her, and there are plenty of other great girls out there. Believe me, you won't have any problems finding them, you handsome bastard." That set him to thinking, it was clear. Deep down he knew I was right.
We hadn't done a set in at least ten minutes. I was getting anxious. After all, I had slept eight hours and had a good breakfast, and leg day was always thrilling to me. All we really had left was hamstrings.
"Go home and get some sleep, Randy," I barked at him out of the blue. He looked dazed. "We're done?"
"You're done, I'm gonna finish up on my own here. You have some things to think hard about." Without another word, he headed off to the locker room. As I started to warm up on stiff-legged deadlifts, I thought back to how I had also had friends and girlfriends in my early years who were at complete cross-purposes to my bodybuilding goals.
Every time I had ditched one of them, a load had been lightened and I had seemed freer to chase my dream of a great physique without hindrances.
Luckily I had met Janet when I was just twenty years old and she had helped everything flow together faster and with more purpose. I hoped Randy would find friends and a significant other that would cheer him on instead of drag him down. He was coming out of the locker room now.
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I Hoped Randy Would Find Friends And A Significant
Other That Would Cheer Him On Not Drag Him Down.
That's My Boy
"Randy, I have noticed a few cute young girls in here giving you the eye. Why don't you try talking to some of them?" He smiled.
"Oh I have been, and now I'll be talking to them a lot more."
"Not while we're training, got it?"
"No, I think I'll just get the digits and call them on my time." I almost had a tear in my eye. That's my boy!