elitefts™ Sunday Edition
“CrossFitters are pussies and their form is terrible. Who would want to lift weak-ass weights, anyway?”
“Powerlifters are fatasses. How hard is it to do a set of five reps? And did I mention they are fat?”
“Bodybuilders are gay. How can they stand up on stage in a thong...all oiled up and shaved...and call themselves straight?”
I’m an old, stubborn, been-there-done-that kind of guy, and I've seen a lot during my time in the so-called "sport" of bodybuilding. In fact, just today Rich Gaspari and I had a quick Twitter exchange after he asked who had seen him win the Universe in 1984 and turn pro. Yup, I saw it. We both laughed about being old as shit. I also used to read Muscle and Fitness back when Muscle and Fitness offered the best bodybuilding information available. That is until Flex Magazine came along sometime in 1983. This was also during the time that protein powder came in coffee cans...and no, I am not kidding. Right now, young people are reading this with a smirk and shaking their heads while the old bastards, like myself, are smiling and nodding.
Back then, there was men’s and women’s bodybuilding, powerlifting, and Olympic lifting—that was it. If you worked out with weights, then you typically wanted to be a bodybuilder because the weight training subculture was quite small. Powerlifters and Olympic lifters only made up a very small portion of those who weight trained. Quite simply, most people lifted weights to get bigger muscles and look good.
However, in the 1990s, weight training became so popular that it spawned more opportunities for people to compete against one another. Instead of just bodybuilding, figure competition emerged on the women's circuit. Then, as female bodybuilding slowly began to die off (or kill itself off—whichever you prefer), women’s physique was born, quickly followed by the bikini division. Men’s physique followed this transformation, and eventually CrossFit was born for those who wanted a more performance-based “sport” that combined strength and cardiovascular conditioning. All of these progressions were quite predictable over time, given the rising popularity of weight training. What wasn't predictable with this progression, however, was the tremendous amount of bitching, pissing, and moaning between these various factions .
You would probably think—at least if you were looking at this logically—that people with similar interests would support each other and stand together while the mainstream picks them apart for being “obsessed” (or whatever new word the lazy have to describe the committed). Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. There is probably more fighting and criticism between weight lifting factions than there is between those who lift and those who don’t do anything at all.
When you break it all down, it's actually quite absurd. All of us work our asses off to achieve our goals, and all of us make huge commitments and sacrifices to live a lifestyle that supports these goals. Yet, because of how we compete or how we train, we end up bitching like a bunch of bratty high school girls fighting over who is more popular and who is more deserving of everyone's attention and respect. We argue over who works harder, who looks stupid, who is more disciplined, and who ultimately trains “correctly.” We then take turns patting each other on the back in our respective groups—as if we are all Republicans talking about how stupid President Obama is. It’s high school all over again.
I love bodybuilding. And while I don’t always love some of the people in it, they, in all fairness, don’t always love me either. I wouldn't want to powerlift, and I wouldn’t want to do CrossFit or men’s physique. It just isn’t something I would be interested in doing. On the other hand, I enjoy all that bodybuilding provides—from the look to the style of training. And I find it personally challenging. I have to assume that others choose to powerlift or do CrossFit for the same reasons, and I respect that.
I am no angel, and I have my opinions about most bikini girls giving out diet and training advice...but putting that exception aside, I will say that if you work out with weights, are committed and goal driven, and work your ass off day-in and day-out, then I respect what you do. That means if you are a powerlifter who moves big weight, then I respect what you do. If you are a CrossFitter who breaks his ass CrossFitting, then I respect what you do. If you are a figure girl who is committed to your goals, then I respect what you do. What I don’t respect is when people run their mouths, spewing negativity about other people who work hard. Hard work and commitment should be respected, and everyone who works hard in the gym should consider themselves brothers and sisters and support each other. The rest of the world already resents us. The last thing we need is resentment amongst ourselves and dissension in our ranks.