Forward Movement

Forward Movement

I've been back at the gym, it feels amazing.  It's no joke that it is a great stress relief.  Moreso for me, though, is the feeling of accomplishment.  When I go to the gym, I already have a plan and goals for that workout in mind.  When I am there, that is what I do.  I spend zero time wishing I wasn't there, or thinking it's too much work; instead, I am completely focused on meeting my goals.  If I don't meet them, then at least I can say that I've put in the honest effort, and that I am that much closer to meeting them next time.  Yesterday, however, I exceeded my goals, and that is a powerful feeling. I have been away from the gym for just over a year, since opening the store.  I lost a lot of strength, and so I knew it would be a battle coming back, but that the rewards for every workout session would be worth it.

In 2003, I seriously injured my lower back while deadlifting.  I attempted a routine warmup set at 225 lbs, which was 75% of my max poundage. When I pulled the weight at the start of the exercise, the weight didn't move, but I felt my back move in ways it is not designed to move in.  The damage was pulled ligaments, muscle strain, and sadly, permanent compression of the lumbar disc spaces.  End result?  Two months before I could walk normally, a year away from the gym with no weights, and permanent off and on sciatic pain caused by the compression. I worked out lightly for some time, and then took more time off when I opened the store.  Now I'm back again.

On my first back day, I didn't even attempt the deadlift, one of the holy trinity of powerlifting events. I was apprehensive, because I did NOT want to re-injure myself.  I did other "bodybuilding" lifts, and started re-calculating my poundages.  Surprisingly, I didn't lose as much strength in my back lifts that I did in other areas.  On my second back day, I did the deadlift, albeit lightly.  First with an empty bar, then with a few quarters.  (Total max weight for that workout, 95 lbs.)  I continued pre-emptive theraputical work on my low back, in hopes of getting up to better DL weights.  On my third back day, I graduated to 135 pounds, which felt good.  No pain or weird twinging afterwards, either.  I set my sights for 155 lbs for the fourth workout.

Just prior to starting my fourth week, a friend who was dieting wanted to go to the gym with me.  Anyone who knows me knows that I am serious when I am at the gym, and I have no time for screwing around, and do NOT talk to me while I am lifting or focusing.  So, in spite of that, I agreed, and I still don't know why.  We did legs the first day, and it went well;  the second day we did chest, and that went well, too.  So, for back day, I was in the groove, and knew that I would be able to maintain focus.  On my first DL, I used just the bar and two quarters, a safe warm up weight.  It felt like pulling NOTHING.  For my second set, I upgraded to the bar and two 45's (135 total), my top pull from the previous workout.  It still felt like a warm up weight, which really surprised me.  My goal for this workout was 155, and I was only 20lbs away.  On my third set, I added the two tens (155 lbs total), and it still felt great.  Now I was at my goal, 155, and I felt stronger and better than ever.  Never happy with status quo or mimimal attempts, I decided to push the envelope.  I replaced all the tens with two 25's, and now it was starting to feel like the old days.  I looked down at the 185, and felt so self-empowered, for the first time since the car accident. I felt like, for once, I was in control, and I could shape my little world around me, and I could tap into my inner power and make something happen.  I set up at the bar, I went to that inner place of complete focus, and I pulled.  I would have been happy with one pull.  I did five.  I have never felt so strong, so victorious, so powerful.  Even on a little lift that does not merit that kind of feeling, because it wasn't about the lift, it wasn't about the poundage in terms of competitive lifting.  It was about me conquering my inner demons, and this time I won.

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