Years back, I trained at a well known gym in Chicago that was a magnet for freak-shows of all sorts. I was a member, so that alone should speak volumes. Every story I could tell you about the ‘old days’ would seem even more ridiculous and unbelievable than the last (including the time I had a gun pulled on me while standing next to the Nebula leg press).
This morning, one of my friends/colleagues from Delaware posted a pic on his gym’s FB page. Whenever a discussion of, “what the heck is (s)he DOING?” comes up, memories of my days training at Quads come flooding back like it was just yesterday…
It was the mid-90s. None of us thought anything was wrong with our fanny-packs or Zubaz pants. I had a whole collection of ’em – skulls, stars & stripes, you name it. Among my favorites were the ones I called my “MC Hammers” – they had a Velcro flap-wing thing on each side of the waist for that truly personalized fit.
So it wasn’t really surprising to see a couple new guys walk into the gym wearing string tank tops and the striped, spandex shorts you’d see bodybuilders wear in the magazines. It’s what these guys would do once they got to the gym that takes us to where this story really gets interesting.
First, they’d head down to the locker room where they’d apply a heavy coat of posing oil on each other. Then they’d march upstairs to the gym, yelling ‘motivational slogans’ that would make Hans & Frans shake in their well-muscled baaaah-deeees. Even though these guys SHOULD’VE probably been using the 85s or so, they’d perform several sets of bench presses with the 150lb dumbbells (the spotter would do most of the lifting while they both continued yelling at each other), slam ’em on the floor as hard as they possibly could at the end of each set, and leave a slug-like trail of oil on everything they’d touch.
Next, they’d head over to the Nautilus multi-station machine – a contraption intended for pullups, standing calf-raises and dips – where they would CLIMB TO THE TOP OF THE MACHINE to do dips 7′ in the air (still yelling at the top of their lungs, of course.) We could never figure out if they were doing this because the air was thinner at that ‘altitude’ or because gravity was somehow more powerful up there.
Clearly, these guys were seeking attention from anyone who would care to notice (or not). Between sets, they’d even run out to the parking lot to hit curbside poses for the enjoyment/amusement of those ‘fortunate’ enough to be driving by at that time.
Sadly, this was in the days before we all carried cameras in our pockets, though that lack of technological convenience does have its benefits (ref. my aforementioned fanny pack/Zubaz pants), so I can only paint this picture with words. I don’t know what happened to ’em; they were only there for a few months and would only come in once a week. Looking back now, I suppose the greatest irony is that we’d only see these ‘cartoon characters’ on Saturday mornings.