A Tale of Two Gym Bags

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Like everyone else out there reading on the internets, I’m not a huge fan of change (which is kind of ironic given I’ve moved every year for the past seven years).  I’m a creature of habit and generally like my day to day operations to not include any surprises or trickery.  I like what toilet paper I like (Charmin); I like what toothpaste I like (Crest); I like which side of the bed I like (right side); I like what peanut butter I like (Teddie’s Extra Crunchy); and I like what boobies I like (pretty much all of them).

Taking it a step futher, and going back into my hay days, when I was going into my freshman of year of college (back in Syracuse, NY), one of my teammates, whom I was sharing a room with, slept with a fan on every night.  At first, I thought it was weird.  But after a while I grew accustomed to it, and eventually got to the point where I couldn’t sleep as well at night WITHOUT the fan on.

The following year, as a sophomore, I bought my own fan and brought it with me to school.  And I slept with the same fan every night for the next TEN YEARS!  Sure, there were other – more fancy – fans I could have gotten within that ten year span, but I liked my fan.  It was my fan.  It served its purpose, and I saw no reason to replace.  Until, you know, it broke. 

And, I’m not gonna lie:  I was kind of sad the day I threw it away.  I wasn’t “watching Titanic for the first time” sad,  or anything – but I was defintiely a little verklempt.

So, by now you’re probably wondering what the heck does all of this have to do with two gym bags?  Well, much in the same way, my gym bag and I have been together for quite a long time –  since 2002 to be exact. 

Note: The bag on the left – pictured above – is the old one.  The black one is the new one.

It’s a bag that was given to me by my mentor, Mr. Scutt, who was my supervisor when I was student teaching back in New York.  He thought I could use a decent gym bag, just because.  He was right.

Not to get all sentimental or anything, but that bag has been through a lot with me.  It was there when I first started deadlifting – which wasn’t until 2004, sadly.  It was there when I decided to take a huge leap of faith and leave NY to move to New England to take the next step in my career.  A leap that’s worked out pretty well thus far.

It was there when I first stepped foot in South Side Gym back in 2005, which at the time (it doesn’t exist anymore), was one of the premier powerlifting gyms in country.  The first day I walked through those doors I pretty much shat myself – but I got wicked strong and it was one of the best years of training of my life.

All in all, my gym bag has been with me through thick and thin.  It’s been there when I’ve hit PRs, and it’s been there when I’ve failed miserably.  It’s carried books, trainling logs, wrist wraps, knee sleeves, countless protein shakes, and even a bowling ball.  

So, you can imagine my demeanor when, at around 8 PM ast night, it was time to let it go. 

***On my way out the door to throw my bag in the trash

It’s been a long time coming, though.  I’d venture a guess that if you took a swab sample from deep inside, a HAZMAT Team would immediately be dispatched.  And, for a while now, it’s been attracting more fruit flies than anything else.  To say that it was kind of nasty, would be an understatement.  It was time for a new bag.  It was time to move on.

Okay, there IS a point to all of this.  It’s about change. 

It’s about letting go of the old and embracing the new.  It’s about turning the page and actually making a concerted effort to change your life.  How many times have you said you’re going to start eating healthier, only to back pedal once the weekend rolls around?  Or, how many times have you said “you know what, I’m going to try something different today at the gym,” only to beeline it straight to the bench press on Monday? 

HA – I knew it!

Like I said, we’re all creatures of habit.  We like to do what’s easy and what’s familiar to us.  But at the end of the day, it’s about change.  It’s about adaptation.  This is NEVER MORE spot on than when dicussing our gym and nutrition habits. 

  • Are you still trying to lose those extra 15-20 lbs of fat you’ve been carrying around for the past decade?  If so, why do you still insist on doing nothing but steady state cardio and lifting nothing heavier than a hair dryer?  If it hasn’t worked up until now, why continue doing the same thing?
  • Are you still trying to break the same squat PR you’ve had for the past three years?  Here’s a clue:  performing three sets of ten on everything isn’t going to get you any stronger.  Nor is doing ANYTHING on a BOSU ball (no no, really, stop it).  You need to mix it up!  You need change!  You need to stop training like a pussy (no offense ladies).

  • How are those 2-3 nights of drinking with your buddies working out for you?
  • And it doesn’t just pertain to things related to training and diet either.  The same can be said about anything from sleep patterns, to hating your job, to your social life.  Sometimes, change is EXACLY what we need.  

So, there you have it – that’s all I have to say about that.  Do you need to turn the page on anything?  What do YOU need to change?

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  • Mosley

    We only saw pictures of one bag. Where's the new one?!?

    Seriously, what did you replace it with? I'm in the market.

  • Scott

    Is that a neck packed position when taking the bag out?

  • Tony Gentilcore

    @ Mosley: the black bag on the right – in the picture above – is the new bag.

  • Tony Gentilcore

    @ Scott: HA – that was just supposed to be me making a sad face on the way out.

  • Barath

    You also need to change your habit of embedding videos like the one above. Seriously.

  • Mosley

    Oh, durrr. I somehow overlooked that pic. Might have something to do with reading the first half in Google Reader which does not display your first imbedded picture for whatever reason.

  • Bob C

    I'm sure getting rid of the bag that flashed the Red Sox colors has nothing at all to do with what happened last night. Nothing at all! How DID a boy from NY grow up rooting for them anyway?

  • Steven

    Awesome post Tony, ive just started studying to become a physiotherapist so I can definitely relate to the 'change'

  • Jason A

    New piece of gym equipment that will change Tony's ways forever: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6uNTpYtacw

    Sadly, this is real, and here's the official website: http://www.freeflexor.com/

  • Mike A

    I had the same Nike bag in black. Had it till last year. It met it's untimely demise when a shaker bottle full of protein and milk opened up and made the inside smell like the inside of a cow.

  • Laura

    Change takes change.

    Great post, as always.

  • Andy

    Now what I want to know is, what's in your gym bag?

  • You could have just washed it. Or put the relationship to the test and have the GF wash it.

  • Tony Gentilcore

    @ Dean: I don't think a industrial strength napalm could have cleaned my bag. It was kinda nasty.

    Plus, the new bag was free, so whatever…..;o)

  • This is a good subject to talk about. Sometimes I fav stuff like this on Redit. I think this would be the best to submit though. I will be sure to submit something else though.

  • I like the writing stru blog and it does a pretty decent job of presenting the material.