This entry is going to be a little on the serious side, so I’m going to lead in with a video of my cat being extra special cute because he’s the best little marshmallow there is yes he is yes he is.
There’s been a photo floating around on the internet that I’ve seen on multiple Facebook pages, so I don’t really know where it originated, but this one came from “Powerlifting Motivation” for what that’s worth:
Anyone even tangentially connected to the lifting world would expect nothing less from the man, the myth, the legend–Arnold is the kind of self-made titan whom people really should point at when they’re talking about “great men.” I put him up there with the best in history. Sure he’s not perfect, but I think the good he’s done signficantly outweighs the bad.
But I’m not here to gush about Schwarzenegger just yet–I’m here to talk about trolls, and how they seem to glom onto the lifting world in a very real and a very weird kind of way. When I’m bored, I spend a lot of time dicking around on lifting forums and Facebook pages, and inevitably there are always a slew of negative comments: “You ain’t even that big bro,” or “Are you seeing her lifting form???” Or in this case, going so far as to question the Special Olympics, which–what the hell man? Are you trying to be a Captain Planet villain? I don’t like using the word evil, but I understand why Arnold did–it’s like this guy was possessed by a demon from the pits of hell.
Then there are the gym fails, where the content itself is meant to make fun of someone for one reason or another–someone misusing equipment, or half-squatting, or benching way too much weight without a spotter, etc as though we all haven’t done something stupid in the gym at one point or another. These videos bother me more than the comments because 9 times out of 10, they’re filmed without the subject’s knowledge, and that’s just cowardly. (There’s a reason I’m not linking to any of them.)
I feel the problem is that fitness is a solitary endeavor. Sure you can have a lifting buddy or a “swolemate” or a partner-in-gainz, and it’s fun to have people to bullshit with during a gym session or a guaranteed spotter on chest day. But ultimately, you’re the one who has to run, you’re the one who has to lift, you’re the one who has to push, or pull or jump. And even if you’re a pro who’s competing with the greats, the only person you’re truly competing against is you from the past. Can you lift more than you from last week? Can you run faster than you from last month? Can you jump higher than you from last year?
That is literally all that matters.
I think this bothers a lot of people. Trolls want to crawl into your head and put you off your game because that makes them a part of your journey. They want to become a footnote in your story. “Remember that time I posted that video of the fat girl sweating her tits off on the treadmill? Wasn’t that funny? I’m the greatest!” Don’t act like it doesn’t happen. You’re not even immune to trolls at the absolute top of your game–there are always hordes of people just waiting to rip you a new one. There is an entire site dedicated to hating Lebron James which is so baffling, I feel like I’m in the grip of Lovecraftian madness. And it scares folks away from fitness–if people are tearing into Lebron, what hope does Jim from Hoboken or Nancy from Charleston have?
Which brings me back to Schwarzenegger. It’s seems he’s spent a great deal of his career doing everything he can to improve the world. Whether he’s using his tank to raise money for the After School All-Stars
or combating gerrymandering in the American political system
or rooting the Beast Eddie Hall to break a world record
he seems to only want to make the world a better place. And that is awesome. Or to put it another way, it is 100% badass.
So when you find yourself sharing your views on the world, whether it’s about healthcare, politics, culture, or the Special Olympics, stop and ask yourself “will I be helping to make the world a better place for everyone?” (The last two words are the most important.) Instead of filming someone’s god-awful bench form so you can share it on YouTube, ask if they’d like a pointer or two. Instead of jumping into the comments section to make a crack about someone’s lifting form, post a video of yourself doing it correctly. Instead of being a dickhead troll, be like Arnold.
Or do what he’d want: Be even better than Arnold. Be 100% badass.
(Featured Image from https://www.t-nation.com/)
- Bench: 350
- Squat: 450
- Deadlift: 515
- Overhead Press: 275
- Incline Bench: 315