A year ago, I wrote about gym trolls because they’re the toe fungus of Gym World. However, good gym guys do exist; I’m friends with many who counteract the douchey meathead stereotype.


Typically, I workout alone. Training for Spartan is more intense than your average gym session; it’s easier to do solo.

A year ago, I existed in a state of emotional anguish and exhaustion. My grit and resilience took a major hit, reaching the bottom-of-the-barrel low-levels. My self-esteem went along with them. I was constantly fighting myself to rebuild, but it felt like a “gettin’ hit as soon as you get up” vicious cycle. I was tired. I felt bloodied and bruised. Most days, I wasn’t even sure where I was.

Cue Mental Blackhole.

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Felt a lot like this. On repeat. For months.

The gym serves is my therapist. I channel my emotional BS into workouts. Sometimes, that junk feels heavier than the weights I’m lifting, leaving me locked in my head. This is where having a gym buddy to kick your ass, get in your face, and call you on your shit to help refocus is crucial. And I didn’t have one.

Or I hadn’t.

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Lol wait, hold up.

He took on the task without a word. I’d been doing assisted pull-ups for weeks with slow, minor improvement. I was frustrated, resigned to continuing on, knowing I’d have to re-strategize, though not sure how.

“What you doing with it at 85? You’re stronger than that.” He said it jokingly, but I knew he was serious. This guy (Bandana) is yoked. I’ve watched his lifts; unlike Captain Douchebag, Bandana actually knows what he’s doing, and he’s genuinely nice.

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She’s a tough bitch to impress. Me too.

So when he said, “Alright. We’re restrategizing. We’re gonna do 6 at this weight, then 3 at this one, 3, 2 and then 1. By the end of the month, I’ll have you doing pull-ups, no assist,” I listened. I didn’t argue or brush him off. I accepted that he was taking over, and I did exactly what he said. (This is usually the only way to help me. If you ask, I’ll resist. He didn’t give me a choice; exactly what I needed.)

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Seriously. Ya just gotta take charge.

What started with pull-ups turned into a friendship where he could sense when I’d get too in my head. He’d cross the gym, box my shoulder, nudge me, or throw me a head nod, breaking me out of my trance with a laugh. He unknowingly created bright spots during awful days; I quickly grew to admiration and respect of his friendship, not just for the little goofs, but also for the regular ass-kicking I needed.

When you learn to like having help

And then, I regressed. I was down about it until he pulled me aside for a serious chat post-pull-up failure. “You need to start doing two arm days a week, and you’ll have to lift heavier.”

Chewing the inside of my cheek, I nodded, reconfiguring my program over the weekend so I could return ready to do work and destroy things.

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Just layin on the bench like, “Dis how I warm up.”

“On Wednesdays, we do pull-ups.” I knocked out warm-up reps. He dropped the assist bench, and my mouth fell open. “We’re getting right to it. 2 reps each grip. Gotta hit all the muscles.” I smile in disbelief, shake my head, and take a lap.

“Okay, let’s do this.”

*removes metaphorical sunglasses in attempt to appear badass*

I gut it out… and fail miserably. He steps in to assist. I struggle, but I get it done.

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A few months later, I switched gyms. Missing Bandana blows, but I’ve made new friends who’ve been good for a spot, great for an ass-kicking when deserved, and perfect for delivering smiles and laughter in abundance amidst all my mental bully bullshit.

I still workout alone. When I compete, I don’t have anyone to rely on, so getting through tough workouts by myself is crucial practice. And somehow, in all my hard work, I’ve earned gym #BroPrivilege.

What the fuck is #BroPrivilege??

Bro Privilege (n): Earning respect from regular gym-goers. Decreases judgmental skepticism and objectification; increases bro-help and respect.

Basically, I’m one of the guys now.

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It never hurts to have people in your corner who aren’t afraid to push you, even if you didn’t ask.

Best of all? I’m hitting pull-ups consistently all by myself. And bro, does it feel good.


Here’s to getting stronger faster with an ass-kicking #BroSquad on my side.


Bossey Boots


One thought on “#BroPrivilege

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