Small Guys and Their Thought Bubbles

TAGS: gym advice, small guys, Just Sayin', Skip Hill

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Train for any significant amount of time, get bigger than most of the people in your gym, and in time, you will inevitably get the question “How do I get big like you?” Before you go into a long diatribe about how you have your earbuds in and how dare someone talk to you while you are training, make some attempt to take it as a compliment. It means your years of dedication (or months, if you are a bikini or physique competitor – I KID, I KID! — or do I?) are obvious to someone other than your mirror and ego.

No one really wants to be “big” anymore. This question used to be asked a lot more back in the 80s and 90s when guys wanted to be big and muscular. These days, everyone wants to be ripped with a 27-inch waist, weigh 180 pounds, and pull ass on IG. So, if someone approaches you in the gym and asks for your advice, throw ‘em a bone; give them a minute of your time.


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I almost always give my attention to these questions because I am flattered that someone would approach me, but the truth is, not many people are good with the answers when they walk away. Although I will give them my time (briefly), I limit my response and don’t get too detailed because by about the third sentence, they have tuned out and are merely nodding and keeping eye contact out of respect. They are probably just waiting for me to shut up. Why? People want answers that can produce results for them RIGHT NOW.

No one wants to hear anything about “I’ve been doing this for 35 years, and as bad as I am at it, my mom told me when I was young that if I did something long enough, I would eventually get good at it.” If they each had a thought bubble, it would read, “DAFUQ?? I want to get huge by summer, old bro.” They would have considered “old man,” but when an old guy has something that a young guy wants or envies, old guys jump immediately to bro status. If you don’t believe me, drive a badass car, truck, or motorcycle, and see how many young kids call you sir or bro. I guarantee that it will be the latter, but I digress.

melpomen © 123rf.com

melpomen © 123rf.com

When you tell them that you eat six or seven meals of chicken, rice, and vegetables every day and that you never drink or eat fast food or pizza, you have also lost them. The next question is so very predictable: “NEVER?? Come on; you NEVER go out to drink or eat pizza??” Although their interest in speaking to you is waning, they are that much more convinced that you are keeping secrets from them. Big guys all over the world have apparently gotten together at a meathead convention and decided that the number-one rule of HYUGE Club is to lie to everyone who isn’t huge. In this way, not everyone will be huge like us. You might laugh, but there will be people reading this who still think this might be a conspiracy and aren’t laughing.

I have spent many years being nice to people in the gym (I’m a nice guy in the gym; ask my wife. She is the one who hates people). I have resolved to handle these situations differently these days – not in a sh*tty way but in a way that is both entertaining to me and gets the point across very clearly.

I pay a lot of attention to other people in the gym when I’m in between sets. I think it’s just from spending years in the gym and being genuinely curious as to how people can be so fucking stupid and waste time, day after day, going to the gym to get absolutely nothing done. No, it does not affect me directly. But I can’t help but to wonder why people would waste all of their time when they could stay home or do something more fun and look pretty much as they do while going to the gym every day.

I will also notice if someone is paying attention to what I am doing and watching me train. This is almost always a precursor to someone eventually coming over and saying something to me. When the person does approach me, I am respectful but blunt. And please understand that the term “big” is relative. If you are bigger than I am, your ego might take offense to me saying that I’m big. I did not say I was big, for the record. Small guys say I’m big because, as I stated about 10 seconds ago, the term is relative. I am big to small guys.


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To all of the small guys who wonder why they can’t seem to get huge, this is why:

You aren’t sweating. I’m sweating through everything I am wearing. If I am wearing a tank and shorts, sweat will roll off of me, making a puddle on the floor if I sit here for 60 seconds.

I can barely carry on a conversation because I am breathing so hard. Yet, you could go on and on with your heart rate barely elevated.

The only time I pick up my phone is when I need to change my music. You are checking in on IG and looking at videos on TikTok.

All of your exercises have been cable isolation movements or possibly a hammer strength press or two. You haven’t picked up a dumbbell or barbell in the past three months you have trained here.

The only use you have for a squat rack is to do curls — big guys squat in there.

Big guys know that consistency and time are the keys to getting huge. Training on the few days you don’t have anything else to do is not going to get you huge.

Back day on Friday night, or go to the club and hope you pull some ass? Big guys want ass, too, but back-day cums first (you see what I did there? I think you do).

Although I have used all of the above responses, my typical go-to response is this:

If you want to get big, train like you want to get big. Even if you aren't the biggest guy in the gym, train like you are. This is a game of effort. If you out-train everyone in your gym, eventually you will get big, too.

At this point, I go back to my training, knowing that I gave my admirer a gem to build upon, and I'm feeling pretty good about myself for helping out.

He walks away, and his thought bubble says, "That prick just fed me a line of bullsh*t." Just sayin'.

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