Andy 10: Andy in Germany
Just because I landed in Germany in a corporate jet, didn't mean I got to skip customs. And I think, because of my size, they must have thought I was trying to smuggle something into the country. They pulled me out of the line, and took me to a private room for an 'interview'. A security guard patted me down for a long time, up and down, and especially around my glutes. He stopped when I gave him a hard look, like 'what the fuck?'. Apparently he thought my butt was too big and hard to not be hiding something, so he went a got his supervisor. He made me strip down to my briefs. From the look on their faces, I think they realized I wasn't smuggling anything but nearly 500lbs of solid beef. They let me go, but not before the supervisor got a picture taken with me. He told me in rough English that I was bigger even than Marcus Ruhl, who they'd put through the same routine a few weeks ago. Just for that, I flexed my arm for him and it swelled up like a cantaloupe. I let him squeeze it for the picture.
My parents picked me up once I got outside. It was good to see them after such a long time, and, needless to say they were somewhat shocked by my transformation. I'd told them I was lifting and growing, but seeing it in person was something else. They both seemed happy that I had lost all my 'baby' fat, and my dad beamed with approval at my newfound physique. They were staying in a rented house next door to two of my uncles here in Hamburg. We arrived to great fanfare, everyone coming out to see their cousin Andy after all these years. Up until I was around six, my mom and I came here every summer for a couple of weeks, and I was surprised at how much of the language I still understood.
Once I got settled in at my parents' place, we went back to my Uncle Juergen's house for dinner. I remembered Juergen and my other uncle, Felix, as big men when I saw them as a kid. I wondered what they looked like now. They worked at the loading docks in Hamburg, and weren't home yet when we arrived. My cousin Horst was there though. He was only four years old the last time I'd seen him, and man, how he'd grown. He was around 5'11", and had to weigh in at a good 325. Solid German muscle. Thick blond hair and blue eyes. He pumped my hand vigorously as we shook. Told me he was training for the European Strongman contest, and hoped to workout with me. I told him I'd love to, and we squeezed each others' hands with a force that would have crushed a normal man's hand to dust. I liked it here already.
My aunts were busy making food for dinner, and there appeared to be a lot of it. Once Uncle Juergen and Felix got home, I could see why. Juergen was about 5'9, 350. Solid as an ox, with a big hard gut, which he added to by grabbing a beer the second he came into the kitchen. He finished it off in a couple of big gulps, then came over to shake my hand. He said he could hardly believe I was the same fat little Andy, as he sized me up with the same beam in his eyes that my dad had at the airport. Then he went and grabbed another beer. My Uncle Felix arrived right soon after, and he was the biggest yet, easily 6'2", 390lbs of dock loading powerlifting muscle. Whatever they were eating around here, I wanted some. Besides, I was starving.
Before dinner got started though, my uncles wanted to go out back for something. I could understand most of what they were saying, but not all. I got the gist of it though. They wanted to see what their American nephew had going on. Uncle Felix grabbed a beer, and he and Felix headed out back. Horst grabbed two beers, one for him, one for me, and we followed.
Once outside, my uncles stripped off their flannel work shirts. Underneath, Uncle Felix had on a white sweat-stained tee that was doing a poor job of containing his bulk. His big gut bulged out at the bottom, and his big arms pushed the sleeves up high. Uncle Juergen had on a white guinea tee. He had the biggest delts I'd ever seen. His chest was covered with golden blond fur mixed with gray. Both their backs were huge. Both of them had to have 24" necks.
Horst followed suit, stripping off his shirt, but he had no tee on under, so his torso was bare. His chest was solid and bloated with power. You could see he had been moving some heavy weights. Thru his milk white northern European skin, you could see the blue veins snaking across his upper chest, feeding his power torso. The three men looked at me in expectation. Not to disappoint, I stripped off my shirt. I had no tee on either, so was as bare-chested as my cousin.
My uncles nodded in approval as they looked at me. "Ja, ja, das ist gut," they exclaimed. Felix stepped up to me and raised his arm next to mine. I brought mine up next to his so we could compare. Mine was inches bigger, but Uncle Felix had the most incredible peak rising up on top of his muscle. It looked like he had a tennis ball glued on top of his already thick beefy arm. A thick vein twisted its way up and over the peak, like the mighty Danube. I couldn't believe my eyes. "Ja," he said simply. Juergen chuckled. He bounced his huge blond gorilla chest, his tremendous German muscle straining the straps of his guinea tee. I bounced mine back. Horst joined in, heaving his young strongman hogs up and down. Soon, Uncle Felix joined in, the four of us rolling our over-developed pecs like peacocks showing off our plumage.
I could feel my chest surging with pump as we flexed at each other. Each of us flexing harder and harder, the muscle reddening, swellling. Juergen's delts got even bigger as he squeezed out a most-muscular. Delts as big as his head. Maybe bigger. I most-muscular'd him back. I was taller, thicker, bigger, but their muscles were denser, ropier, making them look almost bulletproof, they were so hard. Their snaking veins looked like they had to struggle hard to push their way thru all the stony muscularity. Felix went up to Juergen and flicked his finger on his sinewy delt. I swear it sounded like he was flicking against an oversized granite statue of Hercules. In return, Felix pulled up his shirt, exposing his heavy rounded gut, smooth as marble, bulging out like the shell of a giant tortoise. Juergen cocked his arm back and hit Felix square in the middle of his gut. Felix barely budged, and smiled widely. Then he turned toward me, motioning down with his head for me to go ahead and take a swing. I was hesitant at first, to be hitting my uncle, but I couldn't resist taking a shot at this superthick fireplug dockworker. I reared my fist back, and slammed it into him. He went stumbling backward from the force of it. He lost his footing and fell on his thick German glutes with a thud that we all felt. Juergen and Horst were laughing their asses off, but I was freaked out that I had hurt him. Although I couldn't imagine that I did; hitting his stomach felt like hitting cast-iron. My fist hurt like hell.
Felix stood up and said "Ach du lieber," as he brushed himself off.
Uncle Juergen patted me on the back and said "Your uncle is not used to being knocked down so easy!" Then he said something about me coming to work on the docks with them. Horst translated for me.
"They said their company loves them because they don't have to buy forklifts," he explained. "They would hire you in a second."
"Ja," I said, spreading my lats out in a huge display of width. My uncles laughed as they hit lat spreads back at me, as did Horst. The yard was filled with backspread mass. Talk about fitting in. I was in love with this place.
My aunts called us in for dinner. And what a dinner it was. So much food. So many meats. So many dumplings. The women didn't even sit down at the table, they just kept bringing platter after platter of food, feeding four huge men with seemingly bottomless pit stomachs. The more gusto they ate with, the more I joined in. We pounded down food with wild abandon, and washed it down with pitchers of beer. Literally, each of us had our own pitcher, and swilled huge gulps of lager as we tipped the pitchers back farther and farther. There was no talking. Only eating. I was in heaven.
After dinner, I was in a stupor. A deep stupor. Between jet lag, food, and beer, I was done for the night. Before going back across the street, Horst said, "We workout tomorrow? 5AM?"
I focused in on what he was saying. "Oh, ja," I answered, "sehr gut."
I went to bed, but the next thing I knew I heard knocking at the door. I looked at the clock. 5AM on the nose. Germans are so friggen prompt. I pull on sweats and go downstairs. Helmut awaits me at the front door. We cram into his Passat and head to his gym.
Helmut workouts at an old warehouse down by the Hamburg docks. The place is enormous. And loaded with exercise equipment of every kind, but mostly old school barbells, dumbbells, plates and olympic bars. The place is already fairly busy, with a wide variety of shapes and sizes hitting the weights. So many different ethnic groups that I wasn't used to back in Wisconsin, or expecting here in Germany. Helmut explained to me that because Hamburg was such a huge port city, people from all over had settled here. Many of the men working out here, worked on ships from all over the world. Many of them stuck to their own kind as they lifted. He pointed out the eastern Europeans, the Africans, the African-Arabs, the Spanish, the Persians, Indonesians, Indians, Middle East Arabs, Everywhere you looked, there were groups of heavily muscled men of different shades. I noticed one especially big man, training alone.
"That's Hussein. He's from Palestine," Horst told me. I'd only ever seen pictures of Palestinians, and I thought they were all small skinny guys, usually throwing stones. Hussein was definitely not small or skinny, and if he threw a stone at you, it would probably rip thru you and the wall behind you. He didn't seem as angry as I thought he would be though. When Horst nodded to him, he nodded back with a big smile, full of the whitest teeth I'd ever seen. Set off by his jet black hair and eyes. His smile faded as he turned back to the weights.
"What's that group over there?" I asked Horst. In one area of the gym was a group of 5 or 6 humungous men. They looked like something out of a prison movie, all clustered together, and heavily tattooed. Long hair and scruffy beards. All extremely heavily muscled.
"Stay away from that group," Horst warned. "Those are the Goths."
The Goths? I told Horst that the only Goths I knew of were the dweeb kids at my high school who wore dyed their hair black and wore black clothes and make-up. They never lifted. They barely looked like they ever ate. These guys had thighs that weighed more than those kids did.
"These are different Goths then," said Horst. "They think they are descendants of the original Goths, the barbarian group who sacked Rome. They hang only with their own kind, and usually never leave their remote villages in Bavaria. These men are here for the work they can get at the docks, but then will go back home when they need to breed more of their kind. Rumor is that they practice a kind of genetic selection, only letting the most brutally strong men produce children."
As I watched the smallest of their group bench 1200lbs for reps, I said to Horst,"It seems to be working."
Horst shrugged and led me away from the Goths. We went into another area of the warehouse, another vast room, but this one filled with the equipment Horst used to train for his strongman events. There were regular weights and benches, but also huge tractor tires, atlas stones, kettle bells, oversized deadlift bars on top of raised platforms. There were even a couple of old refrigerators over in one corner. Regular members of the gym weren't even allowed back here, and Horst got special permission for me to come in as his guest. There were only a handful of men in here, big bulked up bruisers, who were tossing or carrying various strongmen equipment, in order to perfect their quest for strongest man title. There was no talking, only grunts and swearing. It was colder back here too, and I could see steam rising up from these guys' clothes, they were sweating so hard. Most of these men looked German, or Scandinavian. Super thick and powerful. I saw myself in a mirror on the wall, and realized, they looked like me.
Horst ran me thru some of the different events he'd have to do to qualify. Flipping the big tires looked easier on TV. Their weight shifted with every push you made upward. It took every muscle in my body to get them to move the way I wanted them too. Horst and I went up against each other, and he beat me the first two times, but the third time I beat him, so he decided it was time to try something else.
The atlas stones were even harder to handle than the tires. They look smooth, but are super rough on the skin, and with nothing to hold onto, its mostly your skin that takes the beating from them. We started with fairly light ones, so I could get the hang of it. Horst showed me how to squat and grip them for the best leverage, and for awhile we just lifted and dropped, lifted and dropped. Amazing how jacked up it was getting us. My glutes were on fire. My forearms felt like they had double in size. I was tempted to try to bearhug one of these smaller stones, to see if I could crack it. I think I could have, but I didn't want to get Horst in trouble. We decided to time ourselves on lifting five progressively heavy stones and placing them on their platforms, like they do at the actual event.
I went first, with Horst timing me. I got the first on up, no problem. Second one, bam, right in its spot. Third one was tougher, but I muscled it up pretty smooth. I swaggered over to the fourth one, feeling pretty cocky. And with good reason, apparently, because I rolled that one right up on my big chest, and banged it down on its platform. One more to go, the fifth, and the heaviest. Once I got my swollen arms wrapped around it, it went up like a babe, and I slammed it down on top. Horst stopped the clock. I knew I had done it fast. I'd seen them do this on TV. Most guys struggle with at least the last two. I hadn't struggled. I'd moved those stones around like they were hollow. I felt so enormously strong. I could have lifted the earth. Horst, on the other hand, looked a little freaked. He told me that in two years of training, he'd never come close to that time. I felt so bad. I told him that it was just beginner's luck, that he could make that time too. Plus, I said, I'm a foot taller and a good 150lbs bigger than you. That didn't seem to make him any happier. He gave me the stopwatch without a word. Then he walked over to the smallest stone and stared down at it. I saw him focus. If there's one thing a German can do, it's focus on a task, especially if it involves brute strength. He shook out his arms, then crouched into position.
"GEHEN!" I yelled to him....GO.
The first two went up fast and smoothly. You could tell Horst had worked on this event hard. The third stone slipped a little on the way up, but he still got it. He scurried to the fourth stone, grabbed it and lifted, his thick squat legs powering himself into standing position. His lack of height really was a disadvantage at this point, because he had to lift the stone so much higher on his body than I did. But he grunted it onto his shoulders and gave it a Herculean push. Unfortunately, he pushed to hard, sending the stone over the other side of the platform and rolling across the floor. It rolled until it slammed into the inside wall of the warehouse. We heard things crashing to the floor on the other side, where the regular workout room was. I heard voices raising from there. Horst blushed red as a beet, as he looked around to see if the manager had witnessed this. He was nowhere in sight. Horst walked over to the stone and rolled it away from the wall. The wall was made of brick and mortar, and there was some cracking, but nothing major. Horst stuck his head around to the opening between the two rooms to see what all the commotion was, when several of the Goths stepped into the opening. The first man looked to be their leader. He was massive. Easily 6'8 or 9, and well over 400lbs of muscle. He held an ez-curl bar in his hands. Apparently, the atlas stone had knocked some bars from their racks on the other side of the wall. This one had hit the big Goth in the head as he was doing skull crushers. His forehead already had an egg-sized welt, and he did not look happy. He said something to Horst which I didn't quite understand. I don't know that Horst did either, the hairy freak's accent was so heavy...even more thickly guttural than my cousin's German.
I could see that Horst was trying to explain that it was an accident, but the big Goth was having none of it. He held out the ez-curl bar with one hand on each end, then he lowered it behind Horst's neck. He slowly bent the bar until the ends tapped together in front of Horst's head. Then he slowly curled the bar up, lifting Horst's 325lbs off the ground in a single-armed curl. He was just beginning to shake the bar back and forth when I walked up. I grabbed the big man's wrist.
"Let go," I said. I could see his upper lip snarl, even thru his heavy beard. If he gave the bar a sudden hard jerk, he could have snapped Horst's neck, so I squeezed down on his wrist with the full force of my fingers. I saw the pain in his eyes, but he didn't make a sound. He did, however, drop my cousin to the ground. Horst managed to unbend the bar from around his neck. As he stood there holding it like a weapon, six more Goth dudes filled the other side of the opening. I was eye to eye with the biggest of them. Horst glared at the others like a raging Rottweiler. Four of his strongman buddies lined up behind us. None of them were under 300lbs. Neither were the Goths. Everything seemed frozen in time. You could have cut thru the scent of testosterone with a knife.
I moved my grip from the freak's wrist to his hand and raised it up overhead. Then I grabbed his other hand and did the same.
"You want a test of strength, freakshow?" I said in English. He knew exactly what my intentions were, and we linked fingers up. I could feel the thickness of his calloused hands matching my own. I motioned for Horst and his friends to hold back, and the giant Goth did the same to his men. We gripped hands even tighter, our faces so close I could smell his funk. We were nose to nose, and the battle was set to begin.