“So…I was eavesdropping at Texas Shredder last week…” I said, not exactly glancing at him. (1…2…3 reps on the press…)
“And two women were talking about this great supplement called —–. The one said it really jump-started her workouts.”
“Come on, push through your heels.” (7…8…)
“And recommended it to the other woman, and wondered why she wasn’t taking it already. (11…12 reps done. I lock out and place my feet on the ground.) So when can I take that?” I asked looking at him point blank.
He paused before speaking. “That’s a steroid, and you won’t be taking that.” Neither of us said anything for a moment as we stared at each other.
“But how am I supposed to compete against these other women who are taking steroids when I’m not?” I asked quietly.
“You’re not going for your pro card; you just want to walk on the stage. Not everybody does it…” he said shrugging it off.
“Yeah, but I don’t want to look stupid on the stage! You saw those women in the competition. Look at them…look at me…” My gaze drifts down to my stomach in scrutiny. It looks like an accordion from the stretchmarks of childbirth. Why did I ever think I could do this? Maybe I should quit. “You told me to train to win,” I challenged. “How can I ever hope to win anything if all these other people have an unfair advantage?”
He leaned in, his arm resting against the weights. “You do have to train to win. But whether you actually win is another thing entirely.”
I exhale. It figures I’m training with the one bodybuilder on the planet who doesn’t do steroids.
“Look, everything you’re doing here you can be proud of. You dropped thirty pounds, you’re building muscle, and you did everything through diet, exercise and a few supplements. Don’t do steroids.”
1…2… I start the next set, focusing on my old sneakers pressing against gravity. Thinking about my old body…going to be onstage in merely weeks against younger bodies…Why are they taking drugs? I need them more than they do.
“Hey, I’m in the same boat you’re in with my competition,” he offers.
“You’re 38 and had two c-sections?” He smirks in response. 5…6…
“No drug testing at my next show. I’m competing against guys who are stacking steroids all day long, but I’m not. (9…10…) And neither will you.”
(11…12. Done.) He’s right, after all. What kind of example would I be setting for my children if I chose to win at the cost of cheating? “Well, I guess ‘roid rage‘ would not work so well with the other mommies on the playground,” I smiled.
“Yeah. Plus, you’re already pretty aggressive with all the 2Pac you listen to.”
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