Monday, December 31, 2018

Monday Morning

It is Monday morning, and you are standing outside of the gym , waiting for it  to open. Its five am and its 22 degrees and windy and there are some light snow flurries and all of this doesn't bother you one bit .

You really don't care about how early it is or how cold it is, because you have a training session to get to, and you have been thinking about this workout all weekend.

The manager arrives, apologizes for being a few minutes late. You smile and tell him to not worry about it. It is time to train, and all else ceases to exit at this moment.

The gym music is okay, but what you really need is a little Godsmack to get you locked in and ready to go. As the music kicks in on your headphones, you feel a surge of excitement and energy.

The body part to work today is lats, and you have made your mind up to perform fifteen total sets of around twelve repetitions. Sometimes, sets take on a life of their own and the set may continue for twenty reps or stop at six, depending on when you hit failure. And every set will be to positive failure, where you cannot perform another rep without losing form. You try not to even think about how many reps that you need to do, because it really takes the fun out of the whole thing, there is no creativity when you set so many limitations on your training. Sometimes you imagine yourself as an artist, molding a sculpture one rep at a time, one set at a time. You have been doing the long enough to know when the set is over, when you achieve that magical feeling of burning and fatigue that signals to you that in a few more reps the set will be complete.

The first exercise is one arm rows with eighty pounds. In your younger days, before you saw the light about proper form, you would grab the 130's to the 150's and heave them up and not get a whole lot out of the exercise except fatigue. When you started lightening the weight and pulling the dumbbell low towards your hip, and squeezing the lats as hard as you can for a second, you could feel the contraction immediately and you noticed after a few weeks that your lats where getting more muscular . Who knew? But no matter, now you have learned and you think to yourself that you can save a bunch of people wasted time in their training by them learning from your mistakes.

Five sets are done and each set was difficult and to positive failure. Your lats are pumped up, they feel like wings on your body. But you avoid sticking your arms out and acting like they are as big as Dorian Yates lats. Even he didn't walk around like that all day long.

Cable rows are next and you pull the bar low to your belly, again squeezing for all that you are worth. No extraneous upper body movement here,  and you think about leading with your elbows, not your hands. Your upper body is still, and the weight is relatively light compared to what you used to use, but you are smarter now, and your ego regarding heavy weights has gone. But you look better training this way, so you giggle a little when you see other guys using more weight than they can handle.

 You giggle because these are the people that look the same day after day, week after week, year after year. You want to share what you know with them, but you resist. You have tried to help guys in the gym before and it has always turned out with the guys looking at you like you don't know what you are taking about, and while you were talking with them, you notice that they are checking you out to see if you have enough muscle to even be addressing them. You also notice that they are puffing their chest up and pushing their lats out as you speak to them, so now, you don't say a word. Keep floundering, you think.

Bentover rows follow, these have always been your favorite back exercise. You decide to do these with a reverse grip and with an EZ Curl bar. You are super strict here, too.  Because the lats and biceps are fatigued some from the earlier exercises, you have to go a little lighter than usual, but that is okay. It's okay because you are getting the feeling that you are searching for as the sets progress; total annihilation of the lats.  Five sets of around six reps here do the job nicely.

A sweat broke at around the second set of one arm rows, and the by the time that you got to the cable row, the sweat was dripping off of the bill of your NRA baseball cap. You try to wipe the sweat off of the machines but as you wipe, you also drip sweat back on the machine. An older man is watching you as you begin to get frustrated with all the wiping and sweating and re wiping. You look up at the man, shrug your shoulders and move on.

You walk over to the cardio equipment and get on the recumbent bike. You do an inventory of the workout in your head as you pedal. One arms were good, you should've done a few partial reps on the cable row,  and bent overs were excellent and a good finisher.

You finish a half hour on the bike and your t-shirt is heavy on your body and soaked, like you took a shower with your clothes still on. It is only six o'clock. The training session , including the bike, has taken only an hour. You look around the gym as you sweat all over the bike as you attempt to wipe it down.

The same guy that was standing at the front desk when you began your session is still there, talking to the front desk girl. You are done with your training, he has not begun. He sips slowly on his protein shake concoction or preworkout or what ever he thinks that he needs to get going. What he doesn't understand is that what he really needs to do is train and train hard and to just begin. Begin the process, and to quit fooling himself, lying to himself about how hard he works and lying to others on how long he spent in the gym. He did spend a long time in the gym. He just didn't do shit while he was there. Lying to himself.

But that is okay. You are feeling on top of the world.  As you step out of the gym, the sun is shining and the cold is still there but it feels refreshing to you. You are glad for mornings like these, they are what makes you who you are; disciplined and focused and set apart from the masses.

All About Being a Lifer

What's a Lifer? Someone who isn't in to something for just a day, a month, a's for life. Whether its training or your family or your doesn't matter. You work at it, you build on it, you see the big picture . You don't miss workouts because it means something to you. You are like a Shakespearean actor- no matter what is going on in your life, you block it out when it's time to train. You walk into the weight room and all else disappears. Worry about it later.