The Bodybuilding Days Part 1 – The Quest For Huge

I graduated high school weighing about 115 pounds. All of it was muscle, mind you, but I was still a skinny kid. Being skinny sucks. Especially if you’re short. And I’m short. Not freakishly, midget-ish short, but not tall. No one would ever mistake me for tall. I’m average height in a well-heeled pair of Doc Marten’s. You’re not likely to catch me in bare feet, if I can avoid it. Enough about my height, or lack thereof. Let’s change the subject, I have awesome hair.

At the time of my graduation I was already working out, determined to get big. No, not big. Huge. Freakishly huge. Disgustingly, massively, horrendously swole type huge. Because if I was huge, all would be right with the world. This is the logic of a short, skinny, 18 year kid. Body dysmorphia anyone?

So I joined the establishment best known for creating massive, chiseled physiques, for turning out the greatest bodybuilders of all time and turning young mens dreams of hugedom into a reality…


Did I want to be a bodybuilder or one of the Village People?

My first day in the Y did not go as well as I’d have hoped. I’ve mentioned that I was short and skinny but I forgot to point out that I looked like I was 12. Yeah, puberty hadn’t done a whole lot for me. I mean, I had pubes and such, but my face was very young looking.

NOTE: I was young and happy that I had pubes. Now I am old and shave my pubes. Sweet pubic irony, no?

Anyway, I strut into the Y ready to begin my journey to becoming a juggernaut of muscular destruction. I approach the front desk with my card, sign in and push my way past the old ladies on their way to aqua-aerobics. Down the hall, past the daycare room and the after school program, I enter the locker room and see one fat old man with his wrinkly balls hanging out of his boxers.

20 inch arms are right around the corner.

Wearing the JC Penney workout shorts my grandma bought me, and my bright yellow tank top, I finally approach the door to the weight room. I pause for a moment to collect myself. I consider all of the men who must have passed through this hallowed hall on their way to muscular godliness. I take a deep breath, open the door and step inside.

“YOU AIN’T 16!”

This is screamed at me by a giant man who looks very much like Sloth from The Goonies, only he was massive and wearing a singlet. For those who don’t know, a singlet is like a tank top with shorts built in and very, very tight. Like high school wrestlers wear. It does not, in any way, hide your package.


Cowering in the doorway, I squeak at him, “I’m 18.”

“You don’t look like it,” he roars at me.

Now everyone in the room is staring at me and clearly they feel bad. But no one is going to say anything to Sloth because you can tell they’ve seen this before and everyone appears to be scared of him.

I slink into the room, my spirit deflated and look for a bench press. There’s exactly one in the room and it’s being used by a guy wearing a dress shirt, jeans and loafers. I don’t care. I’m going to be the next Arnold. I am a member of the YMCA. Unlike my friends, I don’t go back to my high school weight room for workouts. I go to a real gym. A gym with members like Sloth, loafer guy,and some very goofy looking teenagers. I wonder to myself what time the bodybuilders come here. No matter, my journey has begun. I wait a half hour and finally get access to the bench press. As I load it up I notice that none of the freeweights match. It’s like they equipped this place with weights purchased from various garage sales. I’m not concerned. This is clearly where all past winners of the Mr. Universe and Mr. Olympia competitions got their start. Wait til my loser friends realize that I am “in training” at the Rockville YMCA. They’ll be so jealous. They’ll wish that they’d been the first to join. They’ll follow my example, rush over and join as well, hoping that I haven’t surpassed them in my quest for size. They will cower at the YMCA created gargantuan that I have become.

The next day all my friends joined the World Gym, where every single bodybuilder in Maryland worked out. Fuck.

If you enjoyed this then check out The Bodybuilding Days Part 2 – Big Legs!