John, like most guys, was complacent about his strength. He wasn’t weak, he worked out sometimes, and he looked ok. Sure, he wasn’t ever going to be a super buff gym rat, but he didn’t really want to be.
At least that was the case at the beginning.
When John’s sister started to work out in her late teens, John encouraged her at first. Throughout highschool she had been complacent with her fitness and when he left for college, he sat her down and gave her a lecture about her health that she, as a then-15 year old completely ignored.
Now he was back, working from home in a sales job to earn some money, and he found that after four years, his lesson had finally sunk in. He thought it was great that she was taking an interest in her health and fitness, and the caliber of guy she seemed to interact with at her gym was better than the ones she hooked up with from the bar….
So, ever the good and loving brother, helped spur Liz to greater heights. He pushed her to go the gym on days she felt lazy, trained with her sometimes at home, and bought her protein shakes when she was low on cash.
All was well, at least for a while.
Before long, though, he started to notice that her muscles were growing — and not just “girly” muscles like legs and butt, not even “unisex” muscles like abs, but her shoulders, pecks, biceps, triceps, everything — she was looking bulked! It was impressive, but he didn’t like the fact that she was starting to look bigger then he was.
He thought about working out more himself, but it was a lot of effort; he hadn’t worked out regularly in a long time, and besides, he told himself, as a guy he should be naturally stronger without having to work for it, especially in the upper body.
For the time being he took some comfort in his remaining slight advantage in size.
He couldn’t help broaching the subject with her, though, one night after she came home from the gym and was showing off her gains:
“Geez, Liz, it’s like you’re gaining muscle every single time you go to the gym.”
“I know! I love it.”
“Yeah…but it’s crazy, that shouldn’t be possible, it takes much longer than that to see visible improvement, usually.”
“No, it takes *you* longer than that to see visible improvement, cuz you don’t work out much and your body’s not used to it. Also I’m a girl, girls gain muscle faster.”
“Ok, now *that’s* just not true….”
“Oh really, wanna bet?”
“Seriously, come on.”
“Seriously! Wanna know why guys always feel like they’re stronger? It’s cuz they *start off* with more muscle naturally — like nature’s way of giving them a boost to be guys. But when girls start working out, their bodies figure out what’s happening and they can usually build muscle noticeably faster than guys. It’s proven by research — but most people don’t notice it because not a lot of girls concentrate on their upper body, and guys don’t care as much about lower body, so there’s not the same competition.”
John wasn’t sure what to say to that, but he was sure what he was going to be googling for verification later….
“And guess what else?”
— I don’t want to know — John thought.
“A girl’s muscle is usually more compact than a guy’s. So we still can look sleek and fit and sexy and be really strong. Like me!”
He couldn’t help it. He was starting to get annoyed.
“You’re not sexy.”
“Ouch. Am too.”
“No. You’re not sexy, and you’re not as strong as you think.”
“Excuuuse me John, you know very well I am sexy even if you can’t admit it because I’m your sister. But you damn well know I’m strong, you say so every time I come back from the gym!”
“Yeah, well, I’m just trying to make you feel good.”
“Well if I’m not strong, you should be able to out-armwrestle me.”
“Fine, you’re on!” She might be getting stronger, but I’ve still got *some* bulk on her.
They set up at the kitchen table, clasped hands, got ready.
“One, two, three…go!”
Almost instantly John’s hand hit the table, the wrong way.
“Hah”! — Liz
“Damnit…” — John, that one.
“I don’t know what happened there — ”
” — I do!”
” — but I want to do it again.”
“Haha, fine, John, fine.”
But three more trials didn’t change a thing, except that one time he held out for a full three seconds.
Liz couldn’t stop cackling, and John was red in the face and couldn’t look her in the eye.
“I told you I’m strong! I told you girl muscle looks stronger than it is! Admit it!”
“I’m not admitting anything. You’re not as strong as you think.”
“Come on, John, I just beat you and you know it, don’t be a sore loser.”
“I’m not. It doesn’t prove anything.”
Liz sighed. “John, you’re being ridiculous. You want me to prove I’m stronger? Fine.
“Wrestle? Neither of us has ever really wrestled, what would be the point?”
“That is the point! We’re both inexperienced, so we stand an even chance.”
John didn’t like where this was headed, but he didn’t see a smooth way out, so he resigned himself to giving it his all.
They cleared a space and got on their knees to start.
“Ready?” Liz asked.
“Go!” — at Liz’s word, John dove for her midriff, knocking her backwards and nearly driving her to the floor.
A good start! John thought. But it was also a strategical error, because Liz now easily wrapped her arm around his neck. They both lost balance and he went down on top of her, her arm still around his neck. Her grip weakened slightly when her back collided with the floor, and John used the opportunity to grab her arm with both hands and yank — but she really was strong! And he couldn’t move her arm away. Liz got her breath back in a second and stared tightening. He squirmed, but she wrapped her legs around his body and trapped him against her, ending his resistance. He could feel her body, tight and hard, muscular and unyielding, easily resisting every move he made. It was impressive, but frustrating.
But he quickly lost focus of that and everything else besides Liz’s tightening grip and his inability to breath. Except for his arms, he was completely trapped, and those arms weren’t doing much of anything against Liz’s mass of muscle.
I don’t want to lose.
But I’m fading fast….
But I’m waiting to the last moment. It’s a matter of pride.
The seconds ticked by. Liz cranked up the pressure as John’s already futile resistance grew weaker and weaker, and finally —
“– I give” John squeaked as he tapped her side to let her know he’d had enough.
Liz loosened her grip around his neck, but didn’t let go.
“Admit I’m stronger. You owe me that.”
“Ok, ok, you’re stronger. I get it.”
“Yeah, now you do. And admit that I’m right about how girls grow muscle.”
“Oh come on. That could just be you…” — Liz started to tighten her grip again — ” — ok, ok, ok, stop, please, you were right.”
Liz smiled. “That’s better.”
John didn’t know if he believed her or not, and frankly didn’t want to, but he couldn’t avoid recognizing that she was stronger, much stronger!
A thought occurred to him as he lay on the floor, fuming, long after Liz had gone — maybe he could get her to stop working out so much. And if he started working out more as well, he could get things back to their proper balance…it was something to think about….
He didn’t know, but you do, that he didn’t stand a chance…but that’s a story for another time.