Emmitt Smith was the ball carrier at the time for the Dallas Cowboys, and my eighth grade self was damn well certain I was going to step in to the future Hall of Famer’s cleats one day. I was naive, but I knew enough to realize I needed to add some muscle to my marshmallow frame. I signed up for Ogden High School’s “Middle School Strength and Conditioning Program.”
A kid named Eddie and I set out on foot for the high school after the final bell rang. My Barbell Journey began. Honestly, I was intimidated. There I was, a pudgy eighth grader and absolute weight room novice, off to go work out at high school!
Once Eddie and I got there, a Muscle & Fitness-looking guy approached us and introduced himself as, “Coach Trimble.” Coach Trimble was a friendly dude that absolutely overestimated my capacity for exercise. He started me out on the bench press. After struggling through three sets of an embarrassing four repetitions with the forty-five pound bar, I quickly realized I was in over my head. Forty-five pound bench press??? I didn’t know what a “man card” was, but I certainly would have turned it in if I had one in my possession.
After the bench press debacle, Coach Trimble proceeded to take me through three sets of leg press, leg extension, leg curl, lunges, lat pull down, shoulder press, dumbbell press, incline press, dumbbell fly, curls, overhead extensions, and squats. Three sets of every one of those exercises, on Day 1.
The only thing more exhausted than my feeble body was my thirteen year old mind. I was bombarded with lifting tips: “Head up, feet shoulder width, one more rep, chest up, squeeze this muscle, one more rep, squeeze that muscle, butt out, drive with hips, one more rep, arch your back, feet planted, one more rep, head down, hands here, hands there, one more rep, pull, push, one more rep, do this, one more rep, don’t do that…”
Thank God my dad was there to pick me up afterwards. Pops scooped me off the sidewalk just outside the weight room, and wedged me in the passenger seat of his Cherokee. I greedily inhaled the Subway sandwich he’d brought me, and relayed my experience to him.
Was I hooked? Did the lifting bug bite me right then and there? Did I immediately fall in love with the iron?
The next day, after the DOMS kicked in, I was even more adamant. To hell with weight lifting, I couldn’t even feed myself! In order to wash my back in the shower, I had to put the sponge against the wall and back in to it like a grizzly bear with itchy shoulders. Ridiculous.
I defiantly and boldly exclaimed to both of my parents some famous last words: