The Broken Thumb – Birthing a Machine

It’s been quite some time since I undertook blogging. Not that I’m not any good at it; I just figured after a while that not enough people were reading it, and I was putting too much effort into something that people weren’t truly appreciating. However, therein lay my problem: it’s not what people see you doing that matters, it’s what they don’t see you doing. Without behind the scenes work and an account for the developments and progress made, there are no real accomplishments. This is what drove me into the field of attempting genuine entrepreneurship and growing a business centered on what I loved, but as many of you know, the path toward manifesting one’s passion is not always clear, or pleasant. I found this out the hard way.

On May 13th, 2017, I was spending time at the place where I normally spent my Saturday mornings: the gym, where I was executing a routine high-volume chest, back, and biceps session. This was 4 days before my 27th birthday, and I had made a serious amount of progress over the previous 6 months concerning my strength and endurance capabilities. Unfortunately, I thought it was a good idea to stretch out my shoulders and back on the dumbbell rack by gripping two 75 pounders (still racked) and leaning back to engage a nice muscle stretch. If it sounds awkward, that’s because it was. I either misjudged my grip or underestimated my strength because next thing I knew, I was falling backward while still holding onto a dumbbell in each hand, unintentionally dragging them out of the rack with my bodyweight.

Saving my hands was the top priority, and I immediately readjusted my grip so they wouldn’t get caught in between the metal bars of the rack and the weights. My right hand made it out, and so did the left hand… well, most of the left hand; my left thumb got jammed in between the dumbbell and the rack, immediately causing an eruption of blood and swear words. Quickly realizing that I would probably need a band-aid, I casually went to the front desk and asked for a couple, along with an alcoholic wipe. I clearly didn’t understand the extent of the damage because after wiping off the blood fountain and double wrapping my thumb, I did what any other hardcore lifter would have done: I went back into the weight room to finish my sets.

I’ll add something, here: up until this point, I had used gloves (GAAAH SACRILEGE!!!) in the weight room, but due to the condition of my thumb, I couldn’t get them back on. So I proceeded to complete a glove-less set of flat-bench isometric hold dumbbell presses at 85 pounds. This was probably the easiest set of the day, due to the adrenaline and the shock that had just overwhelmed my left hand. I probably might have severed some nerves in the process, but it didn’t affect my grip. It also didn’t hide the squishing sensation taking place underneath the band-aids, nor the blood that would inevitably seep through their fibers. No, I don’t use gloves anymore.

Deciding to conclude my workout after this, I showered and went about the rest of my day. 9 hours later, I was sitting in an emergency room. The pain had worsened throughout the day, and it turns out that I had not only dislodged my nail from the nail bed, but an x-ray indicated that I had broken my distal phalanx; that’s essentially the very tip of your thumb. The broken thumb, literally, crushed me, since I realized that it would be some time before I could return to the weight room. Little did I know that the subsequent week would prove to be one of the most important times of my life.

I started taking lots of notes (thankfully, I am right-handed). Brand development, training philosophy, supplement engineering, marketing, alternative exercises, ingredient research… it was a blur. The broken thumb had turned me into a machine, and that is exactly the approach I took to creating this movement. To produce a brand representing a health and wellness lifestyle that also reflected my own passions was a pursuit I had only spoken of, in passing. Previously, it was just an idea; the broken thumb turned it into a physical manifestation of the ambition I always possessed.

I am a naturally curious person with wide-ranging interests and a desire to exhaustively understand why things work. Combining this with a compulsion to share my drive with others who wish to undertake their own journeys of physique improvement and healthy decision-making is what created Machinegain Laboratories. It’s a contemporary approach to a tried and true formula of vision, perseverance, and just plain old hard work. It is I. We are Machine.

Showing 5 comments
  • Jarvis Walker

    Great article. I’m saving your site to my favorites bro. I put some weight on after my son was born (about three years ago) and was inspired by your journey (as well as Gucci Mane’s breakfast club interview) get in the gym. Sept 25th will make one year of consisting working out, setting and achieving goals and eating right. Looking forward to reading more on your blog. Hope you post some workout! Peace

    • Marc-Anthony Murray


      I truly appreciate the kind words! We all definitely have a journey that we choose to undertake, and to say that it comes with many lessons is an understatement. I’m proud of you for that, especially with balancing your family and making sure that that you do what is necessary to take care of yourself. It will definitely also rub off on those around you!

      There is certainly much more to come! Blogs, workouts, and then some. 🙂 Thanks so much for the love!

  • A.Sesay

    Marc-Anthony glad to see your song your thing! Looking forward to checking out your blog updates!

    Keep up the Good Work 👊✊👋

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