Who God Bless . . .?

I have to credit something my wife does in the gym for this particular story. She makes it a habit of looking around to see what others are doing, while I engrossed in working out is oblivious to my surroundings. 

She often looks at someone exercising and either queries what are they doing or is that something she should be doing. This exchange between us started me looking around the gym during rest periods.  

What I saw most of the time was disturbing. Individuals were either using bad form or lifting weights that one could clearly see was much too heavy for them. I have always been prudent to use a weight I could handle in the beginning of a set, gradually increasing the weight and reducing the reps as I went along. 

However, on this day a peculiar thing occurred. I normally superset my arm workout, electing to do triceps first, but the program I use to track my workout does not reveal your one rep max when you superset, so I did them separately.  

I noticed a gentleman while I rested doing a superset of bicep and preacher curls. I needed to use the preacher bench. I was contemplating what exercise to do instead, but luckily, he had finished, and began removing the plates when I queried if he was done. 

He had removed two tens and a five-pound plates, when I approached the preacher curl bench. 

“Do you need me to remove . . .? 

“No, I got it.” 

“I’m sorry,” he said, as he retrieved the removed weights and placed them back on the bar. 

He continued his workout on a flat bench off to the left, but still in full view of my position. This presented a moment of awkwardness as I contemplated whether to remove some of the plates. Although I had never seen this man before I felt as if he was either challenging me or doubted my ability to lift the same amount of plates has him. 

Now some would say that I was just being paranoid, but I could see the derisive smile in the mirror before me, and I refused to let him think he had gotten the better of me. So, I sat down on the preacher bench, cranked up Beenie Man’s “Who God Bless” on my AirPods.  

“And if you never give up, 

“Who God bless no man a curse, 

“Always a win because we put God first, 

“Bad mind want to see in a hearse, 

“But they nah go live to see me reverse . . . 

I performed four sets with the strictest form and slowed each rep to increase the time under tension. With each subsequent set I could see the man’s contemptuous smile slowly fading away. 

My wife’s habit of looking around the gym has taught me a very valuable lesson. If you think that people are not paying attention to your efforts in the gym, you would be sadly mistaken. Not only are they watching, but they’re also prejudging, deluding themselves into believing that by lifting heavier, then they are superior to you. 

When I run across those kinds of individuals nothing gives me greater pleasure than to eradicate their misguided assumptions. So, let them stare, let them judge, either way it has no effect on me . . .  “Who God bless no man a curse.” 

B.M.Booth (NASM-CPT)