One of the beauties of the modern internet is that it’s incredibly easy to talk to your favorite celebrities. You can hit up LeBron James on Twitter, and he might even respond! It’s simple! One star who has taken full advantage of this level of interaction is Arnold Schwarzenegger, who maintains a surprisingly active account on Reddit.
He drops in various fitness-related subreddits from time to time, answering questions and offering advice. Recently, he came across a thread from a demoralized gym-goer. User “GnashBrowns” went to the gym for the first time by himself, and had an embarrassing experience:
“First exercise was squatting. I warmed up with 55 then started 65 for the 5×5. Everything went pretty well until the last rep on the fourth set. Took a nasty spill and landed on my right knee to prevent myself from falling backwards. A couple people laughed. That hurt more than falling down. I got back on the horse and finished up the last set at 60. Next exercise was deadlift. I never really got the hang of the form for a proper deadlift so I practiced it while looking in the mirror. Started my first set at 55 but couldn’t get the form down, my right knee kept buckling and gave out on the fourth rep, causing me to fall once more. Same people laughed and got many looks in my direction because of the loud noise. Feeling completely embarrassed at this point, I put the bar and the weights in their places, and left with my head hanging low.”
Someone brought the thread to Arnold’s attention, and he responded:
Someone told me about this. I hope I’m not too late here, I’m traveling, but I wanted to chime in. I always say don’t be afraid of failure, because how far can you really fall? You found out — to the ground. It’s right there. Now you know it isn’t anything that should scare you. You should be proud that you weren’t afraid — not embarrassed that you failed. You could have made excuses not to walk into the door, but you didn’t. You knew it would be hard, and it would be uncomfortable, and it might be awkward — and you did it anyway. That’s courage. I’m proud of you. The last guy I rooted for broke a world record in the deadlift. You have more in common with him than you think. First, he started out lifting just the bar, too (when you look at him, he may have been 3 months old at that point). Second, imagine his courage. He walked up to that bar in front of a big audience and television cameras, knowing that not only had he never lifted that much before — NO ONE on earth had – and it was highly likely he would completely fail. You may not think about it this way, but you showed that courage, on a smaller level. Finally, I’m rooting for you, too. You took the first step and you fell, but at least you fell in the right direction, so get back up and take the next step. Keep moving forward.
Arnold’s referencing his presence at Eddie “The Beast” Hall’s record-breaking deadlift this week, so he knows about motivating someone to get stronger. Needless to say, “GnashBrowns” was blown away by Arnold’s support:
I’m in total shock right now, but thank you so much Mr. Schwarzenegger. I was completely blindsided by the amount of support /r/gainit showed me, but this something else. I’m going to make sure I come back to this subreddit bigger and stronger to show everyone here that supported me that I stayed on the path and didn’t give up.
We feel confident in saying that the people who laughed at this guy in the gym haven’t gotten a personal motivational speech from the greatest action hero of the 1980s, yeah?