I bashed someone yesterday.
Yes (not-so) little V bashed someone.
I verbally bashed someone who did not lift in my chosen poisons of powerlifting and strongman. He put forward his thoughts of lifting for fitness (light weights to avoid risk of injury), lots of cardio (running of course), and a gasp of horror at the thought of women lifting (#bulky).
I will be honest – it felt good then to have gone straight into “fight” mode in my verbal retorts. But they may have been emotionally driven and well, perhaps slightly condescending. Gym fascist I think was the term he called me as we parted ways. I am now writing this in hopes of redeeming myself. Confession as the Catholics call it. Because in hindsight, I realise that I based my arguments on the presumption that most people possess at minimum, substantial basic knowledge about lifting weights/strength sports. So ok, I may have not given Mr. Cardio the benefit of doubt.
It is a little like common sense. What a misnomer. To assume that people of different upbringings, backgrounds, holding different values (cultural, moral, political, religious etc), would all possess identical fundamental perceptions of everyday life. I mean tomato – tomato? (Fruit and not a vegetable btw).
Here’s my confession: I find it all too easy to fall in the trap of assuming that everyone is familiar with strength sports. Of the ins and outs: why you need the low reps (to get stronger vs. high reps – to build muscle), why you need to train in a crew (to kick your arse when you feel like wussing out), why you never call someone little (because it is an insult to their #gainz). Being continually surrounded by peers in strength sports (powerlifting, strongman), I have become ignorant of what and how non-lifters perceive our sports. Am I frustrated by the ignorance outside our sports? Of course. But I doubt my hostile condescending responses to the non-lifter will help grow the sports to greater heights. If anything, it will probably add fuel to the fire (and stereotypes) – “There goes another meathead”. “See that rage – she’s on roids.” “Nah, not going near that sport – they’re a bunch of extreme angry idiots.”
I recall a phrase mentioned to me in university: “You don’t know what you don’t know”. I also remember what it was like for me to start out in the sport(s) – I’m pretty sure I asked a lot of stupid questions, and did things that I can now laugh in hindsight. But I had no idea then – that running shoes are horrible for deadlifts, that chalk goes on hands and talcum powder on thighs when deadlifting, that cookie cutter programs will only work to an extent (and then you really need individualised programming and or coaching). Some folks in the sports have been patient enough to show me, and teach me what the sports are all about – I’m trying to remember to give back to the sports, and be patient with those who are now in an identical position I was way back then; unaware of the intricacies of the church of iron.
So this is a reminder, to perhaps be a wee bit more forgiving to the non-lifter and even the newbie lifter: we all started somewhere, some with a little bit more in the iron knowledge bank, some with a little less. If we want to grow the sport(s), then maybe educating the other party vs. snide know-it-all remarks may serve better.
*For penance, I carried out all the deadlift reps – top set of 150kg triples. Snippets on Instagram @vblifts.