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When the Chalk Settles...

Words of Wisdom w/ Gerald

Article 8: When the Chalk Settles…

So, I just finished reading “Under the Bar” by Dave Tate (worth the few hours), and it sparked some quick (rather long winded) thoughts that I’d like to share. The book outlines 12 lessons learned in the gym that can be applied to anything in life. One of the first lessons is to have an “Aim,” and one comment in particular got me thinking about my goals, as well as some of the goals & personalities of people in my circle. "Who do you want to be? ... What do you want to be remembered for? ... What did you do with your life?"

I know in my gym, and most likely in every other real gym across the world, we have certain characters that stand out and provide a large impact on the culture of the gym. I hope you can relate! The following characters are people that I have aligned myself on purpose, and this is my take on the legacy that they are leaving. Maybe you can find common ground with one of them, or even better, maybe you can start to formulate what your aim is and how you want to be and out of the gym!

Are you…?

(Names have not been changed to protect the privacy of these individuals, because fuck that, they wouldn’t want me to)

Conan…also known as Gym Dad. This is the guy who everyone respects, the guy that people look up to, and the guy welcomes people to our gym family with open arms. He is the definition of consistency, and even though he is one of the strongest guys in the gym, the word humble is synonymous with his name. When Conan gets hype, the gym gets hype…members look forward to those rare moments.

Mike. Mike is the veteran lifter who quite literally passed on powerlifting to the upcoming members in the gym. He is the guy who donated all of his gear & equipment to the facility. Because of him we have been fortunate to see ladies squat 500+ lbs, multiple guys hit 900lb squats, etc. My first-time training with Mike he casually squatted 650lbs x 10…he still holds the largest competition squat in our gym. Mike is the guy you go to tell you to stop being a pussy, to do the meet you signed up for, to retake that squat, and to AIM big. He recently walked away from powerlifting on his own terms, and now walks into the next phase of life - hockey & family. He still trains religiously, but only with a different aim.

Ben. Coach Ben is the wild man, the Chuck V. of the gym. He will be remembered as someone who was absolutely disgusted with the word “quit.” I have never met someone that has sacrificed his body for greatness more than him. Whether it’s pushing the envelope in his own training; he once saw a local guy pull 700x5 online, fuck that Ben pulled it for 10 later that week (his pr was 700x3 at the time), or whether it’s to test new training theories, or just to set the example for everyone else in the gym, the man will never be outworked.

Brendan. Coach B-Rose has an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. There is no question that this guy is the definition of a team player. No one wants to help other people more, and if he doesn’t know the answer or how to help, he takes it as a personal vendetta against him and his whole family. This guy will come back the next day with 10 different solutions to try to help you or his client improve. Don’t let his busy schedule fool you, he walks the talk, and his own training and lifting speaks for itself. Rob could partly fall into this category with his quest to learn and apply, but I didn't want to glorify a serial killer...

Greg. Old man Rip…second member of the AARP-G association with Conan. This is the guy that will never give up the barbell, and why the hell should he?! The man is setting all time PRS in his late 50s. He defies the laws of time & logic every time he gets under the bar, and people take notice. New members know who Greg is even if they have never met him or only have seen him once. Greg travels from Florida to come squat here at RPG in Michigan once a month. Fuck your excuses, this guy travels 1500 miles just to train! Fuck your aches & pains, the guy still gets under 600+ lbs and pushes the limits of the human body regularly. On top of all that, these are the guys in the gym that take the time to tell stories, that take the time to encourage new lifters, and these are the guys that build a gym culture.

Julius. The Marine veteran…one of thee most badass dudes on the planet. While he does train his ass off for hours on end, injured, fresh, after working 24 hours, doesn’t matter, Julius is the one who is kind to everyone. Didn’t bring food? He’ll buy you a protein drink. Need help moving? He’s there. Every gym needs a guy that contributes like he does. Every success he achieves in and out of the gym is earned. Nothing comes easy for the nice guys, but he keeps coming back, and keeps working towards his vision.

Justin. Justin is the asshole that every serious training crew needs. He is the one that demands greatness. If you didn’t come in ready to train, get on board & get ready, or walk the fuck away. This character is the one who will piss you off, pull unimaginable lifts/numbers out of you, or in the perfect storm scenario…both.

Amanda. RPG’s mama bear. Amanda is the glue behind the scenes that makes it all possible. She is the character that doesn’t like or need the spotlight, but works just as hard as if she was front and center. Amanda brings 15+ years of training experience to our clients/members, and still gets after it in the gym herself. Whether it’s figure competitions in the past, powerlifting, strongman, or just kicking ass every day, she trains hard to set an example for others. Every gym has a matriarch; we’re lucky that she’s ours.

This is how I view the legacies (so far) of these very real people. You’d have to ask them if that’s their aim, but I think it’s safe to say as far as training goes, they would at least partially agree! As for me, YES, I want to be remembered for my accomplishments on the platform. I want to retire on my own terms with top ten (all time) totals both raw and equipped, with an all time squat record(s) to go with. I want to be remembered as the guy who had no fear, the guy who could do what others thought impossible, and the guy who was never scared to get under the bar. The body does what the mind belives... But most of all, when the chalk and dust settle I want to be remembered as the guy who brought all of these people together under one roof, as the guy who provided an outlet & escape from the real world, and as the guy who created a place where everyone was always welcome. How do you want to be remembered? Are you a Conan, a Ben, Mike, Brendan, Julius, Greg, Amanda, a Justin, a combination of these, something completely different? Just because your name wasn’t listed above doesn’t mean you aren’t in my circle or important to the gym…it's up to you to define your own legacy. Who will you be known as…in the gym, at home, at work, within your family??? How will you be remembered? The poster has been up in the gym since day 1…Be Remembered!

Steve Stuecher

Rochester Performance Gym

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