Tina sat in her seat and waited. The end of the school year was less than fifteen minutes away, she could hang on that long. She breezed through the finals and was sitting there just counting the minutes. No more greetings of fat ass, chunky monkey or anyone of the dozens of names bestowed upon her by them. Them? The hateful hotties as she dubbed them. Any student who wasn't tall and slender was fair game in their eyes and the names were nonstop.
The bullying laws the school enacted helped with the physical assaults, but now it was all mental and sometimes they hurt the most. In her mind made sure she had taken care of the necessities. Her locker had been cleaned out and the locks removed and all her books had been returned.
Finally the bell pealed and she heard the shouts of joyous relief echoing through the halls along with the human stampede. She was out of her seat in a shot and in the blink of an eye aboard the bus for the last time. Now all she cared about was the summer job she had recently obtained. It was through her brother that she had learned of it and applied the next day.
The Iron Horse was a weightlifter gym, a real gym. Not like the chain of spas that had recently cropped up where people went to meet and hang out, this was a place for those serious about physical fitness. She met the owner the day she applied and even dropped her brother's name which is something she rarely did. They needed someone to clean the place up twice a day, once early in the morning and in the evening and to assist with other tasks as needed.
The money was well above minimum wage and included a free membership, though that wasn't of interest to her. They opened at 6:00 AM and the first members usually showed up around 6:45 AM, and if she agreed she could start that day after school ended for the summer. She always arrived just after the owner did and while he stocked the coolers she started the coffee.
She first made sure all the dumbbells were in their proper place and was shown how to tighten then up when they became lose from their handles. Then it was on to the men's locker room which was always a disgrace. The ladies locker rooms was always in much better shape.
Once they were cleaned and restocked she then moved to the entrance area to vacuum and empty the trash. Hunger overtook her and she decided to ask the boss to let her punch out long enough to head to Mickey D's for an Egg McMuffin.
He scowled at her.
"Don't eat that shit, it's garbage," he said. He went to the cooler and got her a protein shake in a can and handed it to her. "Try this instead."
She drank it down and no longer felt hungry and went on with her work. It was about a week later that she was approached by two of the female members.
"You the girl in charge of the cleaning?" the blond asked.
Tina mentally braced herself for whatever insults they were gonna heap on her before she answered.
"You are doing a great job," the brunette told her, and the blond agreed.
"It's about time he hired someone competent."
Tina thanked them both. They were stunning and in magnificent shape, the kind of shape she wished she had.
"You're Luke's sister?"
"Yeah, I'm Tina."
"I'm Val and this is Kat," the blonde said pointing to herself and then her partner.
She saw them almost every afternoon and they talked at length.As a result of these conversations Tina picked up a lot of the lifters' lingo from them. The incident that would change her life occurred one afternoon about two weeks after meeting them when the gym was almost deserted. She was refilling the coffee when she heard the call. It was loud with a touch of panic.
She knew what it meant. Someone needed help lifting a weight off their chest. She scanned the gym floor and spotted Val on a bench with a barbell across her chest and knew she was in trouble.In the blink of an eye she ran to her side.
"Hey Tina, help me get this off."
There was a small platform behind the bench where the spotters normally stood when heavy weights were being hoisted by the person on the bench to add assistance if needed.. She stood on it and then leaned over and grabbed the bar and pulled upward and placed it in the upright holders.
"You OK?" Tina asked.
"Yeah, my arm cramped."
"Good thing you helped or you'd still be stuck there."
"Tina, I didn't help, it was all you."
"No shit, you're stronger than you look."
Tina had no response.
"So how come you don't work out with us?"
Tina eyed the Val's skintight outfit and could only imagine what she would look like stuffed into it.
Val caught Tina's stare.
"Oh please, I dress this way because I can, it's not mandatory," Val stated.
"Do you have sweat pants, a sports bra and an extra large t-shirt ?"
"Then bring them tomorrow and no excuses."
Tomorrow arrived and just as Tina finished her cleaning she saw Val and Kat waiting for her. She put away the cleaning supplies and headed to the locker room with the girls on her heels. They waited while she changed and then together they walked to the floor.
"Now," Val began, "You do everything we do." She was given instructions on warming up, proper lifting technique, repetition, breathing and resting between sets. A lifters belt and gloves that had been in the lost and found box for longer than a month were borrowed and they suggested she fill out a workout card to keep track of her progress.
Afterwards they sipped on protein shakes and filled in the workout card. "Now we do the three on and two off lifting schedule and the off days we come in and do cardio and abs," Val stated.
Soon Tina's life fell into a new routine. She would laugh to herself as the sweat rolled down her cheeks and she recalled how much she hated gym in school and often cut classes. Now she looked forward to her daily workouts and arrived at 6:00 AM to commence cleaning just so she would be finished around 7:00 AM. Around 7:00 AM the girls showed up and Tina joined them. Her chart reflected she was making some great strides but it wasn't until a few weeks later that she became aware of them.
As she was dressing for work one Morning about a toward the end of June she noticed that her favorite jeans were baggy in the waist and she actually required a belt for something more than looks. As she brushed her hair in the mirror she was shocked by the size of her biceps and triceps and that her shoulder muscles that had been hidden under a layer of fat had vanished were now visible.
She told Val and Kit and they smiled.
"Now it's time to up the game if you're ready," Val stated.
Tina purchased the same lifting supplements that the girls used and began to take them. She cut out all junk food and no longer ate fast food. She would look longingly at the pizza her family had ordered as she had turkey breast and a salad. The training became intense and her muscles were on fire by the end of each session. The food sacrifices were worth it and the weight seemed to fall off her.
She was now goal-oriented and pushed her body to the limit and one day she threw up because she went past the point of exhaustion She had heard some of the seasoned lifters talk about it but never imagined that it could happen to her, but it did. She had pushed so hard that she wound up retching into a trash can. As the first spasm subsided she realized that someone was holding her hair back. When she pulled her head out she saw it was Kat who had assisted in keeping her hair free of vomit.
"Congratulations kid, today you are a serious lifter," Kat stated.