“Nine bucks,” says the older man with the military bearing. His heavily muscled body is dense and defined – nothing steroidal, bloated or excessive. He has an old school, no pain-no gain physique that is slowly molded it to its sturdy form. The man is Gene Fisher, who I call “The Lizard Eater.” During the East-Asian War he led a Special Forces team through mine-laden jungles. At one point he had survived by eating lizard meat; hence, his nickname. Make no mistake about it: This scrappy veteran of the Iron Game came up when weight-lifting was a hard-leg enterprise – a time when workout areas took place on concrete floors and were redolent with sweat. In the 1960s, Fisher broke the world’s record for curling a barbell in his weight division, curling a 221 pounds.
As I timidly hand over the nine bucks, I say hopefully, “Mr. Fisher, I need to put on some weight.”
“Okay,” the older man says sternly, “But, Mr. Turner, you must be willing to work hard. Luckily, you look like a hard-gainer, which is a good thing.”