I Lift Alone

I am Lobo. I hunt alone. I need no one.

Gus Kubicek (Steve Guttenberg)
from the film The Boyfriend School (1990)
Original Title: “Don’t Tell Her It’s Me”

Image credit: icanhascheezburger.com

I’ve never seen this film, but someone who did when it was originally playing in movie theaters told me the above quote and I’ve found it amusing ever since.

Anyway, to give you a brief synopsis so you know why it’s supposed to be funny:

Gus is a fat cartoonist that recently won a battle against cancer, which explains his baldness. But he is also lonely. Therefore, his caring sister tries to set him up with suitable woman. But to do so, she must turn him into an irresistible man. When he falls in love with Emily, Gus takes the identity of a mysterious biker from New Zealand.

In other words, a total nebbish who is shy and not good with impressing women takes on the role of his polar opposite, a “character,” a tough biker from New Zealand, named Lobo Marunga, in order to win the girl of his dreams.

This is actually pretty typical romantic comedy “fare” and it has been for decades. Everything I can find on this film says it was a modest success without making any lasting impression on the film industry or audiences…

…except for that one line.

Obviously if Gus Kubicek was desperate enough to adopt the role of Lobo in order to find a girlfriend, he doesn’t “hunt” alone and he does need someone.

But sometimes you’re the only person you’ve got and you’re alone regardless of what you originally desired.

That’s sort of how my presence in the gym has evolved. I went back to the gym several years ago with the idea that my son David would be my workout partner, but he hasn’t joined me, for one reason or another, in many months now.

While I enjoy working out with David, I find the presence of other people around me kind of annoying. I know that makes me sound pretty selfish, but I use a small gym with limited access to equipment. There’s only one squat rack and two bench press positions, and I need both.

Monday was great because it was a national holiday, the gym opened at an atypical hour for a weekday, and there was hardly anyone in the weight room, and certainly no one who was there to do squats and bench presses.

It was wonderful.

“I am Lobo. I lift alone. I need no one,” to coin a phrase.

Don't tell her it's me
Photo credit: cineplex.com

Although I haven’t seen the Guttenberg movie, I’m sure it’s just like any other romantic comedy. Lobo’s identity as Gus (who his love interest knew and was generally avoiding…also, and she was engaged to be married) was eventually revealed, he was rejected, and somehow, at the last minute, maybe because Gus as Gus demonstrated some of Lobo’s up-to-then fake courage, endears himself to the woman in question, and they end up living happily ever after.

Of course, that’s fiction and probably rather poorly written fiction at that. Real life is rarely so tidy.

What might have happened if Gus had been a real person is that he would have adapted, just as I’ve adapted. Conditions changed, and rather than going to extremes to reverse them, he would have quietly adjusted over time until those changes became the “new normal” and, only after weeks or months, would he have realized that he was OK with how “normal” turned out.

I’m OK with working out alone. There are a few occasions when having a partner would be advantageous, but for the most part, I get along just fine. Partners take up time, energy, and equipment. When I’m alone, I’m free to proceed with my personal routine and make changes on the fly as I see fit.

It’s also easier to get done within a 60 minute time span if I’m working alone.

I sometimes think of one of my other blogs and why it was once important to me, and realize that I “hunt alone” in that area of my life as well.

That isn’t as difficult an adjustment as you might imagine, if only because I tend to be introverted and have limited social needs, even online. Social relationships require a considerable amount of effort to maintain and especially to help grow, and if the relationship is worth it, then that effort will be welcome.

But sometimes things don’t always work out. More than a few people have stopped going to church and even find themselves loving God but not church. So I left not only the “brick and mortar” congregation (more than once, actually) but its online analog, and for similar reasons.

Some people consider the gym to be their psychiatrist’s couch and others go so far as considering the gym as their church.

leave me aloneI don’t think I can go that far, but I won’t deny that the gym has its spiritual aspects. Certainly a once sick and wounded person such as Constance Tillet has that sort of experience at the South Brooklyn Crossfit Gym, but then again, she’s found that through her social relationships.

For me, the time alone lifting and doing cardio gives me time to think if not pray. Even with others around me, within myself, with the barbell in my hands or across my traps, I’m alone, self-contained, a unit of one.

It’s in the simplicity of the lift that I can not only find something of myself but of God within me, strange as that may seem. It’s free from all of the religious posturing, theological jockeying for position, and exegetical minutia that plagues congregations and the “virtual” church.

I’m probably stretching my metaphor unreasonably thin, but certainly a spiritual life, even one consisting of just one person and God, can be found and should be found in all other contexts of life including the gym. If God can be found in your home, at your job, in your car as you drive, and in all your other daily activities, He can also be found at the gym in the squat rack, too.

I am Lobo. I lift alone. I need no one.



3 thoughts on “I Lift Alone

  1. I lift alone, I like the line from the George Thorogood sound, I Drink Alone: when I drink alone,I prefer,to,be by myself: When I was about 14 or so I got a weight set and lifted in my parents garage alone. Then after many many years I began to train in my basement again alone. When my son got HS and began wrestling we trained at times together . When I moved to Long Island we joined Dr. Ken’s Iron Island Gym. We trained together and got to workout with some great lifters. It was the best training atmosphere. I do know that Dr. Ken would train at home alone even though he owned one of the best equipped gyms around. He sold the gym and my son and starts training at home again. We bought everything we needed for a home set up. My son moved to another state for work and joined a YMCA to train at. I stopped for a few years due to family health issues. Last year I began to get back into training. Set everything back up in my garage. I did visit my son and worked out with him at the Y once, but I found it not to my liking. I prefer to be alone in my garage. Recently my son set up his garage with a power rack,DL platform and bench. He works long hours and finds it more convenient to be able to get in some lifting after dinner and his fatherly duties are done .
    For a time we did WO at Pat Susco’s Living Room Gym,but that was destroyed by hurricane Sandy.
    Good luck with your training.


  2. What plagues churches is that they won’t actually read and practice applying God’s Word. Funny that many people will read all sorts of books by people ABOUT the Bible, but they don’t actually pick up the Bible and READ it.

    But working out alone . . . personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way😊

    Rock on!


  3. @Jerry: I wouldn’t necessarily mind working out with some really serious and knowledgeable weightlifters. I’m sure they could teach me a lot. But I lift at a small, suburban gym where most folks are aiming at limited goals. There are a few serious people there, but they (we) tend to stick to themselves (ourselves).

    @Onomatopoeicbliss: I tend to agree with you about how people tend not to read the Bible, and even those who do, utilize a highly skewed set of historical traditions in order to interpret the Bible, which, in my humble opinion, have led most Christians to develop erroneous opinions about certain things (I won’t get on my soap box here).

    That said, I’ve also met some kind, compassionate, and truly giving people in church, so I can’t say that Christianity isn’t doing good. I do think there will always be a population of us “lone wolves” who don’t do the social side of church very well and, like the gym, operate better by ourselves. I know that goes against the popular wisdom of most Christians, but I know enough people like me to say that there is validity in some of us being loners.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s