elitefts™ Sunday Edition

Not a care in the world. What do I do today?

Looks like I have to train, then head to the beach, and then go back home to get ready for work. Weird, it doesn’t seem terribly stressful as I think about it now.

Rolling with my training partner to the gym, we now have the windows rolled down in what is known simply as the “Dirt Truck.” Why we call it that, I am really not sure. But it usually resembles a garbage can on wheels because the floor boards are covered with dirty Tupperware and empty milk jugs are strewn throughout the truck bed. It is a pretty nice truck, too, because my training partner has parents with money — unlike myself. Hence the reason I ride shotgun all the time. As we pull into the parking lot of the small pond where we train, the other big fish and I turn down “Turbo Lover” for the thousandth time and enter the gym.

The gym is dimly lit — nothing like the commercial white lights that will illuminate gyms in the future and make you squint while bench pressing. It seems even dimmer due to the fact that it is 11 a.m. on a Tuesday morning in June and there are no windows. Minus about four other people, the gym is relatively desolate. We prefer it that way. Making our way through the gym, we are sure to lift our feet high enough off of the floor so that we don’t trip on the conveyor belts from the Kellogg’s plant that masquerade as flooring. With the appearance of old and faded canvas, they aren’t pretty. But it is flooring. You only notice the floor if you trip and that is followed by getting pissed and turning to scowl at the floor as if the floor is going to respond with a, “Sorry bro, my bad.”

There is a sort of rhythmic and methodical sound of metal on metal, and it is relatively faint under the loud music from cheap and poorly placed speakers. You know, all treble and no bass. Interspersed between the rhythm of the faint metal clanging is the occasional slam of a bar going back into a rack. There isn't a lot going on, but it all seems inviting, as if it's saying, “glad you could make it, it isn’t the same when you aren’t here.” For the next two hours, in high humidity and only one fan in the entire gym, gym clothes soak through, skin gets tight, blood fills muscle, and breathing is labored. Another typical training session.

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From the gym, we head straight to the beach. The post-workout window must be religiously adhered to or growth cannot possibly occur; we dig into our staples: Kellogg’s Mini Wheats and a Carbo Force from ABB Nutrition. The Mini Wheats taste like cardboard and the Carbo Force is so thick it might as well be a wax bottle. However, this one is somewhere in the neighborhood of eight ounces and was less than tasty. Still, I drink it. If dog shit would make me grow, I would eat it with a smile on my face. There is no protein in this meal because...well, that isn't important. I am ahead of my time as far as knowledge of nutrition is concerned. Just ask me.

We spend about four hours at the beach, enjoying the large crowd of people (mainly the chicks, of course) and enjoying the attention we get in return. It is a cloudless day with a breeze that makes being out in the sun an actual breeze. It is so mild that even though I am rarely able to nap in the sun, I could today. When you are tan, lean and breaking your ass in the gym, being a big fish in a small pond can really pay off. Or feed your ego. Or both.

It is getting later in the afternoon so we pack up and head back home to shower and get ready for work. I use the term “work” loosely because getting paid a meager amount of cash to throw people out of the coolest bar in a college town and meeting drunk, hot chicks all night that don’t think you are there to get them naked isn’t exactly a rough gig. I find myself wondering if this could somehow be made into a career. At the end of the night we finally clear the bar and we all go to eat at a local pancake house where we believe that cheating on our diets is okay if we are all on the same page and make the decision together. We will be back on our diets tomorrow and, hell, our metabolisms allow it so, why not? About 5 a.m. I head back to my parent’s house where I pay no bills, eat the food my parent’s provide, and spend every dime I make on whatever I want.

I do now, of course, but I didn’t realize at that time that I didn’t have a care in the world. You are almost certainly wondering where I am going with this, but I am not going anywhere. I am just sitting here at my desk in my office at my beautiful home in the mountains of Colorado, reminiscing. This article or story isn’t for you, it is for me, though any one of you reading this can almost certainly relate if you have put in the years that I have – and a lot of you most certainly have.

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The day was in June, 1991, and I was 21 years old. I remember it like it was yesterday. I remember the weight that I used on a slight incline in the power rack at Gold’s Gym in Lansing, Michigan that day. I can sit here and see how the light was coming through the front windows as if an Instagram filter were applied to the shot. I remember how solid the reps felt when the bar touched my upper chest and I remember the shorts that I wore at the beach (yes, they were the 80s tennis shorts that had built in lining. Go ahead, take your shots).

I don’t long for my younger days. I am doing exactly what I want to do right now, with healthy kids and an awesome wife of 21 years. I am blessed to be able to travel and to ride motorcycles and do things that I simply could never experience at 21. However, life was easier and lower stress. Maybe it was just...a simpler time. Or maybe I was just a kid that didn't have a care in the world.

If I could go back and give myself advice at 21 I would simply say, "don't blink." Before you know it, you will be sitting at your desk at 44 years old wondering where the time has gone. Just Sayin'.