Lift With Hatred

Powerlifting is an external view of how pissed off at the world I really am.  – Kirk Karwoski

The title of this article…if you follow me on Instagram you see this hashtag attached to all my training related videos.  But let it be known now: I didn’t come up with it just for the sake of having a hashtag or to have several thousand followers.  I have nowhere near that.  It’s a literal way of life for me.   I’m not Kirk Karwoski; but much like him, Powerlifting is definitely an extension of how pissed off I really am.

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This guy was just a psycho.  In his prime, if he came to the gym and someone was at his squat rack, he’d give them a five minute warning.  If the unlucky fuck wasn’t done yet, Kirk would take their shit and throw it to the side and force them out!

At 34 years old, at a time where most people begin to soften with age, I’ve just become colder.  Friends?  I have so few of them, especially now.  Honestly, fuck ’em, don’t need ’em.  Playing in bands?  More like sixteen years of my life I can never get back.  Family?  Oh, lets not go there.  Work?  Let’s REALLY not go there!  The ONLY thing I want to do is lift heavy shit.  That’s my only relief from the day.

Deadlift with Hatred

Fuck Your Commercial Gym

The Deadlift.  THE single most macho lift anyone can do in their gym…if their gym doesn’t give them shit for it.  In fifteen years I’ve trained in just six gyms.  One was my college weight room, three of them were commercial and the other two including my current gym are badass gyms with the type of vibe you can only get in a smaller,  more intimate setting.  Up until last year, no commercial gym ever gave me shit for the way I trained – or even for the clothes I wore to the gym!

Then came this boy scout manager, who claimed he understood me since he himself was a pretty big guy and even complimented my Bev Francis Powerhouse Gym t-shirt.  While being given the tour of the place, the much nicer manager who was showing him around asked me to be “kinder” to her floors.  Little did she understand that the plates were rubber coated so they’d never break her floors.  And before anyone asks: no, I wasn’t slamming the weights.

Regardless, that clearly left an impression on him.  He came up to me a week later, looking like he was dry humping his imaginary girlfriend while I was deadlifting before belittling me, lecturing me on proper form like I was some fucking idiot.  We almost went to blows right away.  I realize instantaneously that he planned on using me to make a name for himself and I wasn’t going to let that shit happen.  It was his first official day on the job.  A week later, I decided to train wearing jeans and boots, something I’ve done from time to time ever since I’ve been training.  This dumb son of a bitch asked me if I had any other clothes and, when I said I didn’t, told me hesitantly that I then had to leave.  Why?  Because the rivets – the ones I didn’t have on these jeans – would rip up the pleather on the already shitty Hammer Strength benches.  I asked him to just let me go with a warning and I’d never do it again, as I had just gotten into my warmup.

Two minutes later, I found myself angrily sitting in my car, knowing for sure that my days at this “gym” were numbered.  No one had EVER kicked me out for wearing jeans and boots before, or even given me a warning.  Luckily for me, I already knew exactly where I wanted to hang my hat next.  The problem was I was low on cash, meaning I’d have to wait a while.  I endured two more months of walking on eggshells and even coming close to a confrontation with a trainer there, who I really liked and still do, over my “slamming the weights”.

So what the fuck am I driving at?  If you’re like me the gym has to feel like a home, not some fucking social club.  It’s okay to make friends.  Fuck, I’ve met amazing people in EVERY gym I’ve ever trained in.  But if you’re like me, you’re dedicated to acheiving shit that most peole could never dream of.  That means you put on those earbuds if you really have to, and you tune out the rest of the world.  That means all your focus is going to be on that set, your rep goal, whatever.  You’re going to make sure you give it all you got, with all the intensity you can.  Is it so heavy you might scream a bit?  Go ahead, fucking do it!  If anyone is dumb enough to say shit, it’s most likely because they’re too chicken shit to try it.

Make sure your gym is not only welcoming of all kinds of lifters, but TOLERANT.  That usually means get the fuck out of your commercial chain gym that can have all the equipment you can ever need, but mostly relies on cardio bunnies for their revenue.  Does that one guy that can pull four plates do the robot in between his sets?  You need to get the fuck out of there now!  That means being in a gym with all lifters – male and female – who know that THE way to get in shape is to not just eat right, but to focus on the three greatest lifts you can do: the squat, the bench and the deadlift.  I’ve gotten more muscle mass doing those than I ever did doing just shrugs or leg presses (even though leg presses are part of my current routine).

To me, the gym is the one place where I can express myself.  Where I am now, I can lift the way I want, how I want, when I want, with as much intensity as I want and I’ll never be given a hard time for it.  Lifting is the one time in my day where I can get out all of that negative energy – and believe me, there’s so much of it! – without anyone else getting hurt.  I lift with hatred because that’s my one source of strength.  I lift with hatred because that’s all I know.  This is not a game.  I don’t do this for “fun”; I do it because I need to.

I’m leaving you with my one of my spotify Gym playlists:

Maybe one of these tracks will give YOUR workout a swift kick in the ass.

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My Pilgrimage To Diamond Gym, July 29th, 2016

Yeah…I wrote Pilgrimage.  Why?  Because if you are a serious lifter of any kind, powerlifter, bodybuilder, whatever, and you happen to be anywhere in New Jersey, then it is your duty as the serious lifter you claim to be to go to Diamond Gym at least once.  For forty years now Diamond Gym has been one of THE most badass, hardcore gyms in the entire east coast.  When ex-bodybuilder John Kemper opened up the place it became the original “East Coast Mecca” long before Bev Francis opened up her first Gold’s Gym franchise.

I remember the first time I even heard of the place – and Adam from Black Metal Fitness, if you’re reading this, this is for you buddy! – it was on YouTube, where I discovered an old WWF interview with Mean Gene in this really badass looking dungeon gym, speaking with the owner’s wife, Shirley Kemper, about the types of people the gym attracted.  She then mentioned the British Bulldogs and next thing you knew there was the Dynamite Kid spotting Davey Boy Smith as he was benching four plates without a struggle.  Then Dynamite did the same…again, without a struggle.  Here’s the video, took me a while to find it:

It got me curious, real curious.  At the time I considered myself a gym historian of sorts, trying to learn all I could about the gyms of the past, such as R & J Health Studio in Brooklyn, NY, the breeding ground for Lou Ferrigno, and where my dad trained for fifteen years.  I also wanted to know if these gyms were still around and if so would the environment still be the same?  Well, when I found out Diamond Gym was still around I wanted to know more.  John Kemper retired and sold the gym in 2007, he sadly passed in 2012 at just 67 years old.  But apparently the gym’s current owner, Dwayne McDaniel had no problem keeping the gym’s hardcore vibe.  In fact, when you look at the place in videos it looks like nothing was touched.

So I finally made my way over there yesterday.  First off, god damn Maplewood, NJ is ghetto as fuck!  Secondly, it doesn’t even matter because once I entered the gym – which is right next to a gated community – it was all worth it.  Oh sure, a few walls might’ve had a fresh paintjob recently, and there are a hell of a lot more autographed  pictures on the walls of the bodybuilders that came from here.  But literally nothing else has changed, the equipment is exactly what I saw in that British Bulldogs promo from nineteen eighty-fucking-six, the barbell plates are so old that they probably haven’t even been in production in over thirty years, and the floors in the squat rack and leg press area are uneven.

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See this?  It’s a Nautilus Multi Machine and there’s only one other gym I know that still has it because I used to train in that gym.  If you want to know more about this once fascinating “contraption” go on YouTube and just type in “Mike Mentzer Boyer Coe”.  Trust me here.

I’ll admit I was a little temped to leave if the idiot I heard through the speaker didn’t stop repeating “Ima keep it HOOD!” over and over again, but all in all the place was perfect!  Here’s my workout:

The shitty rap music in the place was so fucking loud that if I didn’t put a song over it I know I would’ve gotten at least five copyright claims because of the stupid algorithms on YouTube – I refuse to let DMX make money off my video.  Also, forget about conditioning.  I’m convinced that cardio isn’t in Diamond Gym’s vocabulary because I saw not one treadmill.  Now that is badass.  THAT is hardcore.

The gym just wreaks of all things tough as nails and I definitely will be back again.  If it wasn’t so far from me I’d leave my gym and sign up there yesterday.  Someone on yelp referred to it as “alpha and the omega” and he definitely hit the nail on the head there.  So to end this I’ll reiterate what said at the start of this.  If you call yourself a serious lifter and you live in Jersey, you need to go to Diamond Gym.

There are more pictures on my facebook page.  Just click here to get to them:

https://www.facebook.com/Confessions-Of-An-Angry-Metalhead-1237695776242081/