Big guy at the gym is taking four 45-pound plates off the bar at the incline chest press.

"For all I know you didn't lift that," I say, teasingly. "You put them on there to look like you did, just to impress us."

"Yeah, and I sprayed myself with water to look like I'm sweating."

I put the key in the 190-pound slot for close-grip pull-downs. "Running out of weight here," I yell.

"Sometimes we're trying to impress ourselves, right?" Big Guy says. "If you're in here, you're not satisfied. You keep topping your last weight. You keep going, because it's never enough."

"And you hope that discipline translates over to real life," I say.

"I just turned 40," he says, "It all starts quitting on you when you turn 40. You gotta push yourself, but you gotta accept what you're given, too."

"40's in a few weeks for me," I say. "I've realized that this is it--this is all I've got, and it's about half over."

"Accept it," he says, "and keep pushing."

I nod and head back over to my pulldowns. I try 200 for eight reps, which is easy. I could move up 10, 20 pounds, but there's nowhere to go after 200, so I've done all I can do.


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