I don’t have to look around to realize what’s going on, men peering in wonderment at my personal space. Sometimes I feel the love of first impressionists observing a woman lifting, curves hugging onto fabrics for dear living with sweat and sheen from hard work. We fuel each other, every so often smile and nod in harmony and unspoken claims. Other times there’s a rage inside some men’s stares when I pass their field of vision. I shoot them in the face with fulsome courage because they’ll never run me into the position of fear. I’ll steal the glory from these devilish green-eyed monsters on the stage of their own gym and vacation with their missing muscle gains.
I don’t have to pick my head high as the Queen of England to know that glares put bullet-holes down my back. The headphones scream in my eardrums and I bounce up and down, huffed and puffed in a hoodie, pushing forward and back on the pad in the center of an imaginary mosh pit of a Hammer Strength machine. Weight stacked, I’m lining in my front view the enemies behind me who wish my collapse. I grab the handles with the heavy valor of Thor and row for heroism, row for the battle blood in my veins and row for the smoke exiting out my eager winning nostrils like an animated bull.
I’m not speaking about how older muscles have hardened over the years with recurring lifting or mean this by the density which occurs with steady reliability and perseverance that comes from the power of character and passion to train. But I mean this in terms of the mental and belief development and how wonderful it is to be receptive to change.
I love change, more specifically when there isn’t a conscious decision made to transform. I love when the tiny things in life flow under the disguise of remarkable intuition and unquestionable faith. The splendor within the apparent connection of mind and of body has been excellent to me when it comes to Training.
Across the decade, I’ve made several mistakes, I’ve taken on the delightful delights and terrible burdens of injury, I’ve underwent many setbacks and on the flip of the coin sprung with vigor forwardness, I’ve followed like a scared newbie on what others did inside the gym and learned to lead my own path and training philosophies and now I can reflect on some changes that are coming out on top: Training maturity.
The first thing I noticed over time is I slowly strayed away from isolation movements and went into exercise programs that only allowed room for compounds. This proved well as I have less muscle imbalances and various smaller muscles have caught up to the much bigger ones giving me fewer injuries and smaller amounts of overcompensation overall. And although switching out isolation exercises for compounds may seem logical, the combination of misinformation on top of the endless harassment of the ego is a complex mission to prevail.
Second thing I noticed more this coming year is how I’ve found myself taking pleasure in working my body in multiples planes and engaging every muscle to work in synergy. This has introduced lots of gains at a quicker pace in terms of visual definition. For years I relied on Bodybuilding style. Except I realized the gains are time-consuming if you don’t couple this approach with extreme dieting as close to one-hundred percent of the time. I’ve realized it’s better for me to push to train (almost) like an athlete with total body workouts with a wide range of labor. I can do this now because I’ve developed vastly and because of this quality I’ve been able to grasp one plain fact: There isn’t one road to being fit or appearing the part.
Nowadays, my motivation comes differently and as one fitness enthusiast or gym rat can say, motivation is hard to sustain and throughout the years motivation comes in different behaviors, different apparel, through different gym clubs, through different people and different frames of intelligence and strategy.
Lately, I don’t find it challenging or motivating to lift and stick with one or two body parts per training session. I don’t find it challenging or motivating to stick with basic tried and true exercises with a rep and set scheme. I don’t find it motivating to be in a box or keep myself trapped in there. A perfect example was how for many years I’d remain limited on a rep scheme. I would write it down on paper long before heading into the gym and because that number was the one in my head it was all I ever did for a long friggin time. I never went pass that particular number, almost as if it were a crime.
This led to a chain reaction because the questions were obvious: How many times could I have gone pass the rep and created new and improved muscle growth? How many times could I have increased the poundage if I weren’t afraid to pass beyond the rep in my head? Why did I choose to limit myself in this way? Was this a part of self-sabotage? Or what I constructed around the entire belief system of the rep scheme?
Another thing where I’ve matured is actually utilizing the training partner at hand. Tonight I trained my ass off and stood probably 2 hours in the gym just zoning out and lifting to my hearts content. However back then I wouldn’t have used my training partner the way I did this evening because pride and selfishness. During the Hammer Strength Incline Chest Press I had him assist me by pulling on the lift itself first (at extension) so I didn’t have to waste not an ounce of pointless exertion pushing entirely on the first rep.
I didn’t have all the bright energy I’m used to having on a regular basis. But this helped me enormously and I didn’t allow myself to feel crucified by my ego or having to be prideful to do every little thing myself rather than saying, “Yeah we can use a little help today to cut a slight corner or two and what’s wrong with that?” Nothing, if you don’t limit yourself (or abuse help).
The permanence of the mind and what things we hold close to our chest in the act of searching for meaning can be a tricky thing. How do you learn to let go of concrete beliefs when they become too old to even be useful anymore? Surely, every person has their own response. Yet if you ask me, I’m more than willing to say maturity is my answer back, along with being aware with what is the precise type of intuition within your significance of mind, expansion and substance.