Friday, August 24, 2007

Gulliver's travels - journal entry

Since we switched gyms from a more competitive bodybuilder/fitness/strongman/powerlifting type place to 3T, there's been a marked change in the demographics, or milieu, if you will. I use the latter term knowing full and well that saying it out loud or admitting that you know what it means can get your ass kicked many a place (except in france or parts of Canada).

Grammatical digression: Did y'all know that capitalization applies to almost every country, with the notable exception of france? Apparently this even applies when the word is at the beginning of a sentence, and it also applies to inhabitants of said country.

Anyway. I've read somewhere that 75% of people who lift weights suffer from body dysmorphic disorder (BDD). You'll just have to take my word for it, since I'm too lazy to look up the original reference, but I'm sure I've read that somewhere. Hopefully it was in a reputable source like Sports Medicine and not the same place I read that 79.3% of all statistics are made up on the spot. Interestingly, the word analysis is derived from the root anal and the word ysis, which roughly translates into "to pull from". But I digress, as people say when they're injecting non-related inane trivia into a conversation in order to appear smart. A better alternative would be to wear glasses.

Back to the poor, downtrodden BDD victims, i.e. 75% of people who work out with weights. The BDD comes to light in two varieties - 1: the illusion of being way smaller than what is the case, or 2: the illusion of being a brutal, legendary monster of epic proportions despite the fact that a lightpost has broader shoulders. From these two BDD varieties, a number of common archetypes can be distinguished:

Multiple sweatshirt-guy
Typically someone with a decent build who wears layers and layers of clothes to appear bigger.

Lunchbox with juice
Ample gentleman who mistakes fat for muscle, and is on more cycles than a Tour De France contestant. Extremely occupied by how much he can lift, and tries to raise as much attention as possible when he lifts.

Chest, delts and biceps posse
Typically teenagers who roll at least deuce deep and does bench press three times a week and always on Mondays, dammit. High guido-factor, with spiky hair, tank tops and chains. Often sporting the male equivalent of a tramp stamp/shoulder dolphin - the tribal band tattoo across one of their "arms". Always try to call as much attention to themselves as possible when they lift - ya know; to impress da ladies. Their lifts are team efforts - when one guy benches, another stands behind and does a bent-over row/shrug (they refer to this as a "spot"), while any remaining training partner shouts slogans like "Yeah buddy", "Light weight", "Ain't nuthin' but a peanut", "All you", "Bring da pain", "Push it to da max", etc. If da posse only rolls deuce deep, the glorious burden of the slogan-chanting role falls on the "spotter". Despite none of them ever weighing more than 75 kilos soaking wet, it's not uncommon that they're on gear. After hoisting the assisted 80-kilo bench press, they celebrate by patting each other's shoulders and high-fiving, while exclaiming how easy that lift went - "could'a easily done ten kilos more". Yeah; with two more spotters.

No full-length mirror guy
Dude who works only upper body, as signified by the skinny poles posing as his legs. Overall appearance is a little bit like an apple on two toothpicks.

Stickman in tank top-guy
The most obvious type 2 BDD example. Walks around in small tank top with hyooge invisible lats/invisible suitcases, strikes hardcore poses in mirror so as to show off his "massive" arms or pulls up shirt/tank top to reveal a legendary 4-pack. All of 85 kilos when wearing a 15 kilo backpack, yet the image greeting him in the mirror makes Dorian Yates ca. 1993 look like your garden variety Bangkok ladyboy. Often juices, but progress is severely hampered by epic lack of training and nutrition know-how.

The "I used to be bigger than you"-guy
Typically - but not always - an older guy who'll walk up to you and start some long-winded story about how he used to be bigger than you and lift more weights, but now he's either too old or has conveniently lost interest in "looking like that" or "lifting heavy", as they have invariably moved on to nobler leisure activities. But back in the day, he was a monster to behold. Mariusz Pudzianowski ain't got nothing on this character. And the fact that people like that approach you with the singular purpose of describing how they used to be bigger and/or stronger at an earlier point in time somehow fails spectacularly in convincing me that they "just don't care anymore".

Skinny, paranoid guy
Skinny, often short twerp with a chip on his shoulder who walks around in the belief that he is the epitome of fitness and the grecian ideal - a genetic marvel, so consequently anyone carrying more muscles must be on stereoids. This, combined with SDS (short dude syndrome) - probably brought on by the anger of being held down by gravity all these years - makes for a really unhappy character.

There are other stereotypes as well, like "Shadow boxing guy" and "Creepy midlife crisis guy", but these are tales for another time. I'm not even gonna talk about the female versions of BDD you'll find in any gym, or about the baby mama drama characters from way back in NC. I'll let someone else incur the wrath of whatever from high atop the thing.


Anders said...

I'm way bigger then people think, sort of like the Multiple sweatshirt-guy. Except that I only wear one t-shirt, but make up by wearing black leather jacket.

Wilhelm said...

Good for you.

So welcome to the world of BDD

Anders said...

Btw, I'm stealing that analysis trivia for my presentations. Is Ysis of Latin or Greek orign?

Wilhelm said...

Greek. And be my guest.

Problem is; there's a nagging feeling in the back of my mind wondering whether I've stolen that one from Scott Adams, but I guess it doesn't matter.

Anders said...

Doesn't matter, I never credit the author when stealing. Hence, the use of the word "steal" and not e.g. "borrow".

Wilhelm said...

"Borrowing without intent to return"...

You should have been in academia