Gym or Fiction

Gym or Fiction ~ Mobile (Cell) Phones

Probably the most popular part of my favourite podcast, “The Skeptics Guide to the Universe”, is their “Science or Fiction” segment. In it host Stephen Novella gives his panel of skeptics 3 news stories, 2 of which are true (science), and one of which is not (fiction). I think that this weekly game has done more to improve my critical thinking skills than anything else I do.


Anyway, this has inspired me to play my own game with you Dear Reader, we’ll call it “Gym or Fiction”, I’m going to give you 3 stories, 2 true and 1 fiction; and it’s your job to pick out the big, smelly, porky pie (lie)! This weeks theme is a favourite amongst hardcore lifters who are occasionally trapped in a commercial gym – the use of mobile (cell) phones while you’re meant to be training.


Item 1; Whilst Deadlifting at a David Lloyds gym in the UK, future British BPC Junior Powerlifting Champ Muscle Russell Willers was asked “Oi Mate! Do you mind, I’m on the phone?!”  Has Russ let off one of his patented stink bomb farts? Has Russ gone into one of his famous hissy fits when he missed a lift? No to both, all he did let out a bit of a growl when he had to dig deep. How dare he! And that’s how Muscle Russell ended up at Darkside. Gym or Fiction?


Item 2; While at work one day I had already told top Premiership football manager Alan Pardew, who was then in charge of Southampton FC to not use his phone in the gym, and he had just answered it again! I made my way over to tell him to say what I was going to do with his phone if it happened again when Kevin, a gym member, and one of the nicest guys I know shouted form the treadmill “Chris, leave him alone, he might be trying to sign a player for us”; Kevin is a Southampton fan.


This was especially unusual as members love it when I tell guests about using their phones in the gym; they’re usually egging me on. To be fair to Alan Pardew, as he saw me approach he said “Really sorry Chris, won’t happen again”. Gym or Fiction?

chrisandlouieTwo guys who don’t have the best of grips anymore?

Item 3; While training at Westside Barbell, during one of my many visits to Ohio, a normal (non powerlifter) sized chap came in wanting to see Louie. Lou was finishing his session with me and a couple of others and this guy sat on a bench to wait, and answered his phone. A minute or 2 later Louie walked up to him holding a 25lb plate; the guy put his phone on the bench and offered Lou his hand. Louie shook hands with him and with the other hand he dropped the 25lb plate smashing the guys phone. “Aw sorry man, my grip ain’t what it used to be”, said Lou. The guy left and wasn’t seen again. Gym or Fiction?


So which is the fiction? Did Russ get told off for making too much noise by the guy on the phone; or was he left abandoned as a baby on my doorstep, with a note in the basket saying “Please make little Russ strong; and by the way, he has a rotten arse”?


Or is the fiction the story about the top Premier league football manager who big, nasty old me scared into an apology?


Or is the fiction Louie smashing a guys phone?


Cue “Countdown” music for the UK, or “Jeopardy” for the USA and let it run through your mind for 30 seconds or so while you consider your response….


Item 1 is Gym; yes, this actually happened as I said. What a dammed disgrace! At that time Russ was a really nice guy and didn’t reply the way he would do now, now he is a complete dick;)


Item 2 is……. Gym; yes, I scared the Premier league manager Alan Pardew, who was apologising before I’d even said anything. I doubt any David Lloyd gym managers would get that response. OK at that time I was 115kg (253lbs) at 5 foot 6; and Mr Pardew, despite using his mobile in my gym, is a very nice guy.


So item 3 is obviously fiction. That scenario is what I’d want to see, and I’m 80% sure that this is pretty close to how Lou would react.

The only time I ever saw mobiles at Westside was when Matt Smith hadn’t shown up for a session; Louie got everyone to send rather rude variations on the theme of “Where the fuck are you?” Either by voicemail or text. You see mobile phones do have their uses in hardcore gyms. 


Now for the moral of this weeks “Gym or Fiction” – don’t be a dick, don’t use your mobile in the gym or one of us nasty lifters might drop a weight on it; especially if we’re bigger than you!


Be Mighty,