I have spent the better part of this week chasing off a chest cold, and on Tuesday all I wanted to do was lie in bed with my man servant bringing me an endless supply of chicken noodle soup. Unfortunately I live in the real world and I’d promised to teach someone how to deadlift. This particular pupil is the self-appointed “King of the Gym”, despite the fact that he has only been hitting the gym for the past year and has yet to perform a single squat or deadlift. The very fact that someone is so self-deluded that they can vocalize this thought is both hilarious and definitive proof that his ego is larger than the ocean.
I didn’t think it was even possible to contain that much self-absorption in my tiny commercial gym. Then again the more time I spend lifting, the more I wonder whether lifting causes an ego pump. Everything I’ve ever read by an internet tough guy suggests that’s the case. And it’s not as though Mr. King of Gym is uncontested. There are guys at my gym who spend the majority of their workout ‘mirin their own ability to flex: pulling up their shorts to show-off their quads, looking in the mirror for every single tricep push-down and curl, flashing the double bicep and side chest poses and then perfecting their duck face. Ladies, you can quit feeling self-conscious in the weight room. Trust me, most of these guys won’t even register your existence.
Maybe that’s a little harsh. King Ego was actually a pretty good student; he obviously knew he was out of his depth when it came to deadlifting, and he listened to the feedback that we were giving him on his form. If he was able to set his ego aside for an hour, then why am I ranting about it on the internet?
Looking back, I think there is a touch of irony in the fact that I resolved to be more confident in 2013. Is my self-confidence really lacking? Even though I can’t work up the moxie to go on a date and even though I doubt my ability to put up numbers until I’ve actually done so, there is a recurring scenario which would suggest that I am in possession of an inflated ego. You see, there are not many dudes in my gym who squat or deadlift. But when someone – a regular or a resolutioner – steps into the rack beside me, I inevitably feel the need to engage in an unspoken battle of one-upsmanship. I need to prove to all of the guys at my gym that I am simply stronger and therefore better than them.
And my dick is longer. That’s certainly not the attitude of someone who lacks confidence. It’s just plain arrogance, so you can just call me “Queen Ego”.
If all those bodybuilding bros are guilty of being self-absorbed, then so am I. And this verdict is certainly not news to me. I am a very competitive person by nature. Sometimes a competitive spirit is beneficial. When I see girls who are lighter than me putting up bigger numbers, I use their strength as motivation to work a little harder. Part of the reason I workout with a team once a week is because I never feel like I can let myself stagnate or fail when others are watching. Strong people make me want to be stronger, plain and simple.
Yet, on the list of things that will make me stronger, “ego” doesn’t even merit an honourable mention. What do I need?
- Consistent and smart training
- Balanced nutrition
That’s all. And letting my ego dictate my training is neither consistent nor smart. Strong people make me want to be stronger, but why do I feel the need to prove myself to weak resolutioners who will vanish in three weeks time? Why does it matter if 105-lb girl who’s been training twice as long as I have can lift five pounds more? It doesn’t. I need to remember that what matters is that I push myself to do what I know I can do, and then improve on that. What matters is being able to put up big numbers at meets, when it really counts. And it certainly will matter if I try to push myself beyond my limits and injure myself, all for a little ego boost.
And so, I do hereby renounce my title as Queen Ego – and not just because the King is openly gay.