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|Jake was surprised by his friends' reactions when he saw them at the
start of his sophomore year of college. There was the smiling
recognition when they first saw him, then surprise when they got a
good look at him, followed by one of three basic responses.
"Whoa! Jake, you really hit the gym this summer."
"Cripes, guy, your chest looks great."
"Dude, what have you done? Gotta spend less time on your chest."
Of his friends who commented specifically on his chest, only about half went on to comment on the progress he'd made on his arms.
Jake had always been a pretty athletic, lean and lanky guy. At 5'-8" tall he was shorter than most but taller than many. Jake enjoyed basketball and soccer, and spent much of his high school years playing JV soccer and pick up basket ball. He had a nice, naturally athletic build, but nothing that would put him in the "jock" or "model" categories.
During his freshman year at State, he had signed up for Weight Training 101 to fulfill his physical education requirements. Jake had never paid much attention to weight training, but it was the only class open by the time he got in to register. He'd wanted to get into the sailing class, but that filled up quickly. So when he walked into the weight room on the first day of class, he didn't really have any goals or expectations.
Jake got paired up with another student, Steve. They had been matched up because after doing single rep maximums, it was determined they were about the same strength. At 5'-6", Steve was shorter than Jake, but he had a year or two of lifting behind him.
It turned out that Steve had played baseball in high school and the coach believed in strength training in addition to skills training. Consequently, he had not only a more obviously muscular build, but was able to help Jake by correcting his form and pushing him to lift just one more rep.
Jake had never been so sore as he was at the end of that first week. He was sore in places he didn't even know there were muscles. But, although it really hurt, he liked the way it felt. He liked the way he was aware of his body in a way that he never had been before. And he really loved the hard, tight, swollen feeling that Steve called "the pump". It made Jake feel bigger and stronger. He loved it.
Like most beginners, Jake saw quick improvements in his strength. They weren't huge jumps in strength, but being able to add 5 pounds to his bench press in the first two weeks boosted his enthusiasm for the class. Hell, it gave him a life changing rush. By the end of the second week of class, Jake had been bitten by the iron bug.
The two young men found they liked each other and became fast friends almost over night. Steve enjoyed lifting and was pretty intense when lifting. Jake was enthusiastic about the way it made him feel and the increases in his strength. Their enthusiasm reinforced itself and they were the most enthusiastic pair in the class and made the most progress.
During the first semester Jake gained 8 pounds, getting up to 156 pounds. He noticed that his clothes fit differently, better maybe. And he could see that he looked a bit bigger and more "buff". That really gave him a rush. He enjoyed the increase in strength and the changes to his physique. To his surprise, he found that he liked it when people noticed his progress. It made him feel happy.
Jake and Steve agreed to take Weight Training 102 during the next semester. Steve suggested that they should keep track of their stats during the second semester. So, before the Christmas break, they met in Steve's dorm room and measured each other. Jake's stats were: 5'- 9" tall, 156 lbs., 39-inch chest, 30.5-inch waist, 22-inch thighs, 13.5-inch biceps and 14-inch calves. Steve's stats were: 5'-6" tall 145 lbs., 40-inch chest, 30-inch waist, 22-inch thighs, 13.5-inch biceps and 12-inch calves.
No wonder Steve looked so solid. Jake knew that Steve had been lifting for a couple of years now, but still seeing that the shorter man's chest was bigger than his chest caused a pang of some emotion Jake couldn't describe. It was a combination of jealousy, inferiority, and anger. It just ticked him off.
Over the break, Jake went home. Everybody was very happy to see him. Everybody noticed that he was bigger. Jake enjoyed the holiday. But, he looked at other guys bodies, his friends and strangers at the mall, really for the first time. He noted that all of his friends seemed to have bigger chests. Even his 17 year old little brother, Jason, was wearing the same shirt size. It looked to Jake that Jason's shirts were tighter than his own.
Jake made a decision to really work on his chest in the next semester. He was going to correct this shortcoming.
He had gone into his first semester with no goals or expectations and found that he enjoyed the training itself and loved the results. Now he was going into the second semester with the specific goal of building up his chest. Jake felt an internal drive to work out and work out hard. It was a drive that he had never had, not even when he was training for soccer.
The second semester got started and he and Steve were able to get into the same section of WT 102 and maneuvered to be paired up again. Jake wasn't sure if he should tell Steve about his goal. But in the end he decided to tell his friend that he wanted to focus on his chest this term because it seemed to be lagging in growth.
Steve was supportive and said he'd help Jake any way he could. Steve suggested that Jake might make better progress if he started taking supplements. He accompanied Jake to the health food store and showed him which supplements would give him the best results. Jake left with a protein powder, creatine, and L-glutamine.
Jake worked out in a more focused way and pushed himself as hard as he could. He even started doing push ups every night in addition to his regular class time workouts. He took the supplements diligently and was pleased to see that he seemed to be making real progress.
About halfway thru the semester, Steve suggested that Jake work a little harder on his biceps. All the chest work was having the unintended side effect of building up Jake's triceps. Jake took this suggestion to heart and was soon going in to the gym off hours to get in a few extra sessions each week.
Jake loved the sensation of the pump. After a good chest workout, his chest engorged with blood, Jake would flex his pecs as hard as he could, trying to get every fiber as deeply as possible. His pecs would swell up with what Jake thought of as power. They would be hard and round and tight he felt big. There were days when Jake would try to get that pumped feeling more than once: in the morning class and in the evening with push ups and flexing.
By the end of the semester, not only had he made good progress, but he had learned muscle control. He could bounce his pecs together and singly. He'd even learned to "bounce" his biceps. The first time he showed Steve that he could bounce his biceps, Steve was blown away. He'd never seen anybody do that.
Jake's shirts were all snug now. They were tight around his chest and his arms filled the sleeves nicely. Jake thought that the tightness of his shirts was sexy. It felt sexy and it looked great. The other students were noticing his body now. As the semester went on and the weather warmed, Jake started taking off his shirt between classes and on weekends.
He liked showing off his body. He liked that people noticed. Sensing their eyes on his torso made Jake feel good. It made him feel sexy and strong. It gave him satisfaction and an odd feeling of power. He could get attention, positive attention, with his body. Just by taking off his shirt, people looked. He liked that.
In the warm Spring weather Jake wasn't the only guy taking his shirt off. Jake looked at the other guys. He wanted to see how his body stacked up. He hardly saw the guys whom he had bested physically. Jake could only see the guys who had better physiques. He could only see the men who at about his height, had bigger chests and bigger arms.
Jake became obsessed with shirt sizes. He would do almost anything to find out what size shirt another guy's shirt was if that guy looked bigger than him. He was surprised at how many guys his height were wearing large sized t-shirts. Jake was still only wearing mediums.
At the end of the semester the two friends met in Jake's dorm room and measured each other again. Steve was impressed with Jake's progress. He knew his friend was making good gains, but he saw Jake every day.
At the end of their freshman year, Jake's stats were: 5'-9", 167 lbs., 41-inch chest, 29.5-inch waist, 22.5-inch thighs, 14.75-inch biceps and 14-inch calves. Steve's stats were: 5'-6", 151 lbs., 41- inch chest, 30-inch waist, 22.75-inch thighs, 14.5-inch biceps and 13- inch calves.
Jake was really pleased. He'd gained eleven pounds and put 2-inches on his chest! It bothered him somewhat that he had only managed to match Steve's chest. He was surprised that his waist was smaller. And he was pleased that his arms were actually bigger than Steve's.
But he was still bothered. When they stood side by side in their shorts, Jake could see in the full sized mirror on the back of the wardrobe door, that Steve looked bigger than he did. Even though their chests were the same size, Steve's looked bigger. Even though his arms were bigger, Steve's arms looked bigger than his. He had made excellent progress, but Steve still looked better.
Jake wasn't going home, he'd decided to stay in town and had found a landscaping job for the Summer. Jake figured he could work out too. He'd try to get ahead of Steve. He rented a room in a boarding house and began his summer. He was looking forward to hanging out.
State was in a small "college town". After all the students left for the Summer, Jake realized why it was called a "college town". There was nobody around and nothing to do. Hanging out wasn't an option. There was nobody around.
Jake was working 6 days a week landscaping. He found that he spent more and more time in State's gym working out. Pretty quickly, working and working out were the only things filling Jake's days.
It was quiet there, but with nobody around, he felt no obligation to exercise the way he'd been taught. He just blasted away at his chest and arms, for hours a day, every single day. He continued taking the supplements that Steve had introduced him to.
He kicked around the idea of steroids, but decided to see how far he could get naturally. He liked the idea of making himself bigger and stronger from his own hard work. Somehow, size gained through shear hard work was for Jake sexier and made him feel stronger and more impressed with his own progress.
He was eating like a horse and constantly exercising. The landscaping work was more involved than just mowing lawns and Jake found himself chopping wood and digging ditches and hauling bricks and pavers and 50 lb. bags of concrete.
Early every morning he'd go for a run, which would end at the Landscape yard. Then after 8 or 10 hours of hard physical labor and a light dinner, he'd hit the gym for a couple of hours then eat his main meal. He would pack himself a book bag full of food to eat in small meals throughout the day.
Jake was sleeping the deep almost instant sleep that comes from so much physical activity. He didn't stay up late and still managed to get 9 or 10 hours of sleep each night, waking feeling refreshed and ready to go again. The more he worked out, the easier his landscaping work seemed and the harder he was able to work on the job.
At work, he rarely wore a shirt. It was hot demanding work and going shirtless was the most comfortable option. At the gym, Jake started working out shirtless so that he could see his muscles in the mirrors as he worked out. In his room, or when out running errands or when he went for a run, Jake went shirtless. Between the heat and the attention he generated, he just didn't see a reason to wear a shirt.
He knew he was making progress. He could see it in the mirror at the gym. He could see it in the attention he was getting. He was starting to be kidded by the other guys he worked with. They started calling him "Superman" and often commented on his strength.
As the summer progressed his coworkers started making comments about how muscular his chest was and how big his arms were. If there were a particularly heavy stone or something that needed moving or hoisting, Jake was the one they called.
About half way through the summer, Jake realized that when he ran in the morning he could feel his pecs bouncing up in rhythm with his stride. That sensation of his thick pecs bouncing in rhythm, feeling heavy then weightless, then heavy again was another milestone in Jake's life. It was that day that he knew he was making the gains he desired. Instead of resting on his laurels, Jake was inspired to work harder and lift even more.
What Jake couldn't see because of his singular obsession was that his chest, shoulders and arms were now noticeably out of proportion to the rest of his physique.
He was a lean, muscular young man in prime condition. His abdominals when relaxed were a firm, cut washboard. The individual bundles of muscle were visible even when he was seated. Jake's legs were sturdy and lean like the soccer player he was. But his chest, shoulders and arms were thick with muscle mass, bulging and rippling like a gymnast's, only bigger.
His coworkers started to tease him about his muscular arms and his massive pecs. Jake didn't mind. It made him happy. It made him think that he was on his way to achieving his goal. What that goal actually was was vague in his mind. He only knew that he had to build up his chest and arms.
On a day toward the end of the summer, Jake and his crew were working on a project building a stone wall. It was a terrace wall, intended to be just over 3-feet tall on the terrace side and 7-feet tall on the down hill side. They had been working on the project for a little more than a week. Because of the configuration of the hill and driveway, it was shorter to bring in the stones on the down hill side.
The stones for the wall were very large. Each stone weighed between 40 and 100 lbs. each. The crew formed a "bucket brigade" to get the stones from the truck to where they were needed. The crew elected Jake to anchor the line at the wall, his job being to lift the stones up for the mason's crew to mortar into place.
The men worked all morning, hauling the rocks, handing them one man to the next. When Jake got the rocks, he would take them from underneath in his opened palms, and curl them up to his chest. He would balance the rock there, leaning back for balance and after repositioning his arms press them up to the mason's assistant.
They got into an easy rhythm and moved a truck load of stones. Jake's coworkers began to complain about the work, the rocks were heavy and their arms were getting very tired. To protect their hands, the whole crew was wearing work gloves.
Because he was, as usual, shirtless, Jake's chest was scraped up from resting the stones there on their way from crotch height to over his head. While the others were starting to complain, Jake was starting to feel a pump in his arms and chest. He liked it. As each rock came his way, Jake would muscle it up to his chest, then press it overhead, arching his back with effort.
The pump came on slowly and built in intensity with each successive stone he lifted up. His biceps slowly pumped up in size, getting harder and more vascular with each rock lifted to chest height. His pecs swelled as they were engorged with blood. They became hard and flushed. His coworkers were getting tired and having problems handling the stones, but Jake was feeling the pump and felt strong.
The mason's assistant couldn't believe this muscular guy. It seemed like the college kid was unstoppable. The guy had a great physique. But that didn't count for much in the assistant's mind. These college kids often had good looking bodies, but their looks were rarely equaled in strength or stamina. This guy, the one his coworkers were calling "superman" was something else.
The mason's assistant watched with growing amazement as superman hoisted stone after stone up over his head. The guy's big arms got even bigger. Veins were popping out all over. And the guy's chest was awesome. It just seemed to get bigger and bigger as the morning wore on. He could see the definition between each growing bundle of muscle fibers. The impressive cleft between the guy's pectorals got deeper and more narrow as the massive pecs swelled up in size. The vascularity of the chest was scarey.
Covered in dust from the rocks, with perspiration streaming over his pumped and swollen muscles, Jake looked amazing. He really did look like a character from a comic book. His massive chest and arms looked filled to bursting. They were flushed with blood and bulging with power. His pectorals were full and hard, projecting wildly over his rippling stomach. Pumped up like this, Jake's over developed chest and arms looked like they belonged on a much bigger man, a much bigger bodybuilder.
During a break, a break Jake didn't want, but the others needed, Jake's relaxed, but pumped up body had the look of an exaggerated comic book hero. His pectorals were swollen tight, a nice shelf of muscle at just under the top of the breast bone. The cleavage between his pecs was deep as each mass of muscle pressed against the other. Jake's pecs cantilevered out from his stomach, even as they sagged under their own weight.
His coworkers and the mason's crew couldn't help but stare at the young man's remarkable physique. The mason's assistant could see that now and again a bundle of muscles would twitch, either from Jake's involuntary flexing, or of their own volition.
One of Jake's coworkers made a comment about Jake's great rack. The other guys laughed and Jake joined them. His chest had never felt so pumped. He felt stronger than ever before. It was so cool that looking down on it, he could actually see that his chest was pumped up. Without conscious thought, Jake lifted his right hand cupping and lifting his right pec. It was hot, firm and heavy.
His coworkers laughed and one of them asked if he could get a handful of those babies. Jake agreed and the guy came over and grabbed Jake's swollen pecs. The guy grabbed them like they were handles, with his fingers in Jake's pits and thumbs on the front. Jake could feel the guy squeezing his pecs and he resisted the squeeze by flexing them. The guy noticed and looked Jake in the eyes and squeezed harder. Jake flexed harder. His pecs jumped up harder and more vascular. The guy hardly making a dent in the granite muscle smiled and laughed. He released his grip on Jake's pecs and slapped the side of Jake's left pec with a loud smack.
Another coworker asked to feel Jake's chest. Jake loved the attention. He agreed and let this coworker and all the other coworkers in succession touch his pecs. Some of the men just touch his chest and commented on how hard his chest was. Then Jake would flex his chest and their eyes would go wide. Others of the men would grab his pecs and squeeze them. The inadvertent massage felt wonderful after Jake's exertions.
When all the other men had touched, squeezed and groped Jake's pumped up pecs, one asked him to "make a muscle" and without thinking, Jake lifted up both arms in a triumphant double bi pose. He couldn't see it, but he unconsciously knew that even with his arms spread and flexing, his pecs stretched across his chest still formed a pair of not so low mounds of muscle protruding out over his stomach.
His chest was tight and sore for days after that day. So were his arms. But his legs hurt the most. Jake knew he had been neglecting his legs, but he didn't really care. He hadn't been sore like that in months. He had forgotten how good it felt to be that sore. Every motion was accompanied by pain. Jake would wince at the pain and swear softly. He wished the feeling would never go away.
At the end of the summer, Jake knew he had made real measurable progress. He loved the way he looked. His chest was really big. His pecs mounded up and folded over themselves when relaxed. His arms were almost proportionately as big as his chest. His summer of hard, physical labor and hard, serious lifting had paid off. Jake was proud. Jake couldn't wait to see what Steve had to say.
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