(Page 25) It was simple at first - at least, so I thought. By making myself larger than life, I might make myself a little less frail, a little less assailable when it came down to it, a little less human.
(Page 31) It this "no pain, no gain" adage were true, then, I would learn not just to accept pain, but to embrace it.
(Page 43) There was a beautiful simplicity about it. I pushed the iron, and my body grew. The harder I worked, the better I felt. My routine brought order amid chaos.
(Page 48) There wasn't enough pomade, mouthwash, deodorant and talk in this world to eradicate my sins, but what if I created a shell to suppress them? What if my armour not only kept the world out, but kept me in?
(Page 61) Iron made sense to no one. To no one, that is, but me. All I knew was that I had found a sanctuary in the gym, and the more I trained, the better I felt. Out on the streets of New York, I'd found nothing but impediments, red lights, and stop signs everywhere. Inside the gym, I saw only green. ... From exercise to exercise I'd go, feeling as if I were driving a car on a dark, wet night in the city. Suddenly, the stoplight just ahead turns green, the next one green, and green again. YOu don't need to brake for even one light. All you see is the road before you. You're not quite sure why, but you're going at the right speed at the right place and time. You take a quick look at the speedometer. Just to memorize the reading. But there's no need. Just keep it going, another light, another block, another weight, another exercise. Green, green, green.
(Page 61) It beat the street. It beat my girlfriend. It beat my family. I didn't have to think. I didn't have to care. I didn't have to feel. I simply had to lift.
(Page 73) I had always been told that to grow up meant to stop wanting those things you can't have. But everything I'd learned from bodybuilding taught me to fight this notion. You can become the person you dream of being, bodybuilders say. You can defy both nurture and nature and transform yourself.
(Page 80) On my off days, I grew impatient, yearning to speed up time and start the next day's workout. The more I trained, the more desperately I needed to train. My body ached for the pump. I couldn't live without it, that burning sensation acquired through bombing a muscle area. At first it feels like someone rubbing heat balm on the particular muscle you're working, it feels almost numb; then the analgesic spreads. Within minutes, you feel your whole body glowing, as if you're the sole source of illumination in a dark world. You can't help but smile. And it was the pump that kept me going, endorphins running to the rescue whenever I called. If Sisyphus gets a pump from his eternal exercise, I assure you all this time he's been a happy man.
(Page 82) I longed for that conviction, the ease and peace of mind that would come from the simplistic belief that there is a top and a bottom in this world. Top and bottom, black and white, good and evil, positive and negative, big and small, I retreated into a narrow world of dichotomy. I no longer had questions, only solutions, and they all pointed to the weight room.
(page 97) In the final arena, there will be no judges, only witnesses to my greatness.
(Page 194) I didn't need to see passerbys doing double takes to be aware of my own movements, to watch myself - this huge, ungainly creature, suffocated by a world of his own making. In the end, "the Walk" I did, the being I had become, felt stifling, limiting, claustrophobic, far from liberating, as it had once been on the corner of Fifty-third and Second back in New York.