Monthly Archives: September 2015

Mindset


pop 10

It doesn’t matter how many bodies fill up the spaces around me
My brain doesn’t brim with poppies, it doesn’t brim with poppies
It never mattered if I had love or bask in it
I don’t recall asking for this:  Planet earth and masking business
It never mattered how many accomplishments I’ve chased
How many lovers I taste or how many thoughts were displaced
All those hugs I received, all those pets peeved
All the hands I’ve ever held, all those black magic spells
All the apartments I’ve entered, all those heartless tempers
I grew up without a mother’s love created by the slough stuff
I grew up without a childhood – long lived misunderstood!
I grew up without a future, without dreams of stupor
And other people talk about advantages
And life is what you make it with or without bandages
And others go on to say you were born in America
As if you couldn’t somehow be at a disadvantage?
But maybe I’m destined to feel nothing
Or destined to keep reaching and running for the invisible
Maybe I’m destined to self-destruct based on principle 
Or maybe I’m destined to be alone listening
To sad-core, humming, ever so lovely, to the ugly
Mindset

-Pennington

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Accommodating Self (Part 2)


BB fitness
The best decision I made was breaking up with the gym.

I did a ton of reflecting.  In general I have no problem working out at home, but I just never knew I’d feel more comfortable working out at home around the clock as much as I do.  Training at home has allowed me to take the pressure off mentally as I can’t compare myself against who I used to be.. way back when.  Aside from less self-demands I can’t ego lift at home like I can ego-lift at the gym.  It does suck I can’t feed off people’s energy in the gym, but the focus is deep having to feed off my own energy.  It’s been about 4 months since I’ve been strength-training at home and I must say it’s been beneficial for me mentally, emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually.

Here are a few reasons why I enjoy training at home nowadays aside from the little I just mentioned:  I can be myself.   I don’t have to smile, be polite, and pretend I’m in a good mood or have small conversation when I don’t want to.  I can workout whenever I want without time restraints or gym holidays getting in the way.  I can focus 110% on my form, on my breathing and zero in on the way I feel mentally or emotionally.   I have to push myself differently and get extra creative making home workout programs so they are super effective and exhausting because that’s what I enjoy.

Also I don’t have to feel uncomfortable or awkward trying to hide my extra fat in huge hoodies and sweat pants.  I can rock a spaghetti-strap tank top and spandex and I wouldn’t secretly judge myself in front of others and make the awkwardness awkward and obvious to those who may or may not judge me at the gym.  (Judgement-free zone only happens at home and not at Planet Fitness.)  I don’t have an aversion at home, but I do have one outside – where I secretly believe people can tell if I previously hurt my ankle or not.  (Yes, it’s mental.)  Also I don’t have to spend over $112.00 on Metro Card money to travel to the gym and back home.

Then there’s the other obvious like I don’t have to wait for machines during peak time.   I compete with myself, build my confidence and track record rather than pressure myself to compete with the person I used to be in the gym while being at the gym.   On a really good note, with at-home workouts, I can do laundry at the same time I train.  And as an introvert – I do enjoy my time alone.

New inspiration?  Now over the past month and a half I’ve been newly inspired by Ballet Beautiful.  I owe it to BB for re-motivating me again.  I can do any of their workouts at home and spread it out among the day (on top of my weight training) for minutes at a time multiple times a day and night.  The exercises, technique and workouts themselves are extremely challenging and work very well!  Ballet Beautiful approach comes off more about quality than quantity and the workouts itself are about strength, power, flexibility, balance, technique and grace in a totally different way.

BBStrengthI absolutely swear by Ballet Beautiful and I haven’t been doing it very long at all.  In the past I’ve written about how I enjoy the extremes of both bodybuilding and ballet as I find them both to be very similar in terms of disciplinary action, strength, beauty, aestheticism, athleticism and art.  I love them both.  And I feel like I want to embrace them both and see where they lead me to.  For the good month of August I fell in love with Ballet Beautiful for countless reasons aside from what I perceive ballet to be – graceful.  One reason why I love Ballet Beautiful is because of the minimalist style.  Two is because the exercises and stretches involved are complex, detailed and difficult.  Third reason is BB has increased my motivation by 100%!

All this time, I was searching for something.  Strangely – and out the blue – I fell in some kind of dear love for Ballet that started around 2009.  But, I didn’t know something totally different from weightlifting would give me the “wow” factor and innovative inspiration I needed.  In ballet, there’s a quiet and classical tone set, as well as an elegant breathtaking history, same as Bodybuilding for me.  There’s art, power, focus and balance in every single ballet movement which I find irresistible.

Of course, a few times a week I will continue to devote time and effort to strength-training, but it was Ballet Beautiful that took me to another place mentally, emotionally and physically.  It’s because I can start fresh and it’s because I’m not bound to the past decade and associations of weightlifting.  Recently I started to realize how my training has been changing in ways I’m not fully understanding yet.  It seems weightlifting doesn’t have the same flavor for me – maybe because I associate the past decade with weightlifting?

I’m a new person now.
And I want my training to reflect this as well.

BBQuickTip-ReEnvision-final-revHere’s what I know now:  I have a new vision for my body.  I don’t want my old body back because I don’t go backwards.  I want a more symmetrical and streamlined look.  I want to be more refined.  I want to be less soft.  I want to be less bulky.  I want less of the comfort I’ve had with my body in the past.  I want new strengths.  I want new exercises.  I want new challenges.  I want new posture.  I want new everything!

I will continue to focus on smaller muscles because all the bigger muscles on my body are well-developed.  I will continue to work on the tiny details in every single muscle.  I will continue to use my first love – dumbbells and barbells no more than twice a week and no less than one.  Weightlifting will always have a home in my heart, but what I want now and what motivates me now is vastly different.  I’m going to enjoy shifting.

And who knows what it might bring?

P.S.

One of my current goals is to go to the gym twice a week for extra cardio purposes.  I have an initial 30lbs to lose.  I’ve already dropped 7lbs in 2 weeks.  It’s game on.

-Pennington

Accommodating Self


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I have a new vision of how I want my body to look.

Ever since my life changed dramatically I no longer want to associate with the past as if it were a great friend.  I have this fresh sense of self-worth and self-love.  I have a profound sense of fresh freedom.  I have a new perspective on respect.  I have a thirst for renewal on every level in my life.  I have redefine friends, attitudes, perspectives, logic, love and even training.

I’m not sure what lays in front of me in the life of training, but I know I’ve been a weightlifter for over a decade.  I need something new or different because I’m new and I’m different now.   It’s nothing for me to lift and pyramid heavy weight upon heavier weight until I’m completely exhausted.  I know what it’s like to live for the iron therapy and the iron discipline, iron mind, iron heart and iron blood.

I know very well about this weightlifting life.  I also know that before things changed for me I had a hard time obtaining motivation and I struggled with finding love, rekindling the passion and pleasure in weightlifting back in 2013-2014.  I wonder if this was a sign of where I am to be now.

I know ever since the frightful ankle accident everything has changed, including my training and my body.  I found motivation very hard to come by and suffered for months in a state of blank.  I learned to accept that this accident was a traumatic experience for me.  I still have moments where I relive the accident or the feelings associated from the most difficult time of my life.

I didn’t know what to do or who to turn to during this difficult time because no one was going through the same thing as me.  There wasn’t anyone who could understand what I was going through – except the forum I found where people broke their ankles, spoke about their thoughts on surgery (before and after) and what could we possibly do to return to normal as we recovered.  So I did what I usually do – I turned inward – even though I felt drowned by life and all its multifaceted oceans.

It took me a long time to get used to the idea of being immobile.  The physical life as I knew it was washed away immediately.  I no longer had weightlifting therapy as a crutch.  I no longer showered like normal people.  I no longer cooked.  I gave all my independence to others because I didn’t have a choice to a lot of the times.  In the beginning I was drugged from pain medication.  I remembered taking less pain medication than what was prescribed because I didn’t want to get addicted in any way, so in order to keep the pain at bay I slept like a bear.  This accident was very hard on my mind, on my body and on my spirit.

Then I had to get used to being mobile.  During this time I didn’t recognize myself.  I was wearing sweat pants all fall and winter because it was the only thing that got pass my big cast.   Since I was depressed, and all the physical activities were taken away suddenly – I needed comfort along with something that brought me instant intense pleasure.  Consequently, I drowned myself in every food delight possible, even foods I used to turn my back on I added onto my daily menu.  It was no surprise that I gained 30lbs in a matter of 7 months.

Naturally I said, “Wow you really need to get yourself back into the gym and hit it super hard!”  I noticed since January of 2015 I had a pattern of working out at home:  Two weeks on and two weeks off.  I incorporated all kinds of low-impact workouts including boxing and Pilates – basically anything I could do at home that didn’t hurt my ankle further.  But now it was time for me to grow a bigger pair of tits and hit the gym once again.  I thought I was ready.

But when I entered the gym I felt extremely uncomfortable.  I saw tons of fit people and realized I wasn’t around their level anymore.  I wore oversized hoodies, shirts and sweat pants because I felt extremely fat (for my standards).  I wasn’t the same weightlifter or person I used to be at the gym.  I had this strange amount of pressure every single time I went back into the gym and kept comparing myself on who I used to be.  I kept asking myself, “How am I going to be back to who I was?”

The idea of starting many things from scratch just kept bringing my motivation down.  I didn’t feel inspired on any level.  I didn’t have the right kind of mindset.  I wasn’t flexible in my approach.  I’ve never gone through this before.  I was used to being the one everyone relied on to give them motivation.  I was the one who relied on nobody but me for inspiration.  So now that I was good at failing myself, my confidence shrank rapidly until it became nonexistent.  Rather than realize I should’ve started slow and build up a slow confidence within – I tried forcing myself to like the gym.

I tried to motivate myself in all the ways that used to work for me regarding the gym (fit life and weightlifting).  Did it work?  No.  Mostly because the motivation that used to work for me before wouldn’t work for me now.  I wasn’t getting it.  When I continued to lag, I just figured I needed to get into the gym as many times as possible and the rest will all just fix itself.  So I tried to force myself to do 2 workouts twice a day 5 times a week, and even included newbie training buddies to make things easier.  And I still wasn’t motivated.  If anything, it made things worse.  I gave it a month and a half.  Then I decided very carefully to break up with the gym (which I made an entry about already here).

The good news is I found something new and different to accommodate the new and different me.  To be continued.

P.S.

Part 2 of this post will also be on Training Life.

-Pennington

Muscle Chatter


Leave my deodorant stains out of discussion.
Leave my deodorant stains out of discussion.

[FYI: Don’t be surprised to see this blog on my other Training Life!  I promise in time, there will be enough of me and my inspiration to go around.  Ha!]

My shoulder pangs and howls to let me become acquainted with the power it has over my training life.  It’s fully aware that one thing is connected to another:  Performing bicep curls, bent-over rows, overhead tricep extensions, and push-ups will harm; and as far as shoulder pressing – during the action it wouldn’t hurt will, but later on it’ll be unforgiving.

My abdominals are back to their strong connection where I can lay flat on the floor and sit up in a heartbeat without an ounce of struggle.  And the other night getting into a dog position I can feel the outstanding stretch from the top of my abdominals, to the oblique and lower region in wincing tenderness.

My glutes are under a sexual tension of their own I like to believe.  I assume they adore being at the height of attention and at the personification of pain – how they love to demonstrate by hurting me brutally with every step I take, any time I sit (like on the bike earlier) and every bend I perform from the waist.

My lower back has been having a groundhog film moment where it feels as if it’s been hit on repeat with a small hammer because anything bigger may have me registering at the hospital overnight as I try and explain to the doctors how I switched from “cutting” to out-lifting myself and every other person in and out the gym because priorities and wanting to be the master at something before I die.

My ankle decides to knock, knock, and knock on my nerves with its flaming metal and screws which poke and stab me like syringes.  It has every reason to be annoyed with my telling it to suck it up and woman-and-nut-up.

I had to strategize the slow and fast pace of pedaling and of heartbeats per minute during the course of forty-seven minutes on the stationary bike because let’s face it – 7 miles in my mind wasn’t enough for the 30lbs I want to lose, but it’s a start to getting more workouts done in the gym (out the apartment) and getting my old body back.

Over and out,
Pennington

Tonight: A Side Effect of Greatness


meI have undying passion.
I have creativity and flow working together.
I’m a vessel of many lives.
I receive openly – more so than ever before.
I give when it behooves me.

And through these strong hands I channel my own life’s energy.  I can see that look of determined intent written across my eyebrows, pupils dilated with an immense shade of brown fire (if there were such a thing).  I love pleasant reminders of being a weightlifter like my silver barbell faded into a zealous rust color where the hands are strategically placed from robust usage.  Or the old-school globe dumbbell on the belly of my forearm in its own imperfect symmetry yet ideal shading.  I love reminders that feel like slices of heaven.  Or when heaven in my world resembles delayed onset muscle soreness.

I rewind to the time when my boyfriend performed the Razor’s Edge from the top of the couch when I was twelve years old – my entire back slammed onto the concrete of the floor in rapid fashion.  Without a flinch, without a facial expression, my skin sizzles like the morning sun, and my muscles quickly take on a singe.  But that’s just me rowing and pulling back with my elbows directing the strength show.

It’s just me and the bar – alone with my thoughts, alone with my focus, alone with my concentrated desire.  I can feel the flames fan and spread like a forest wildfire through my traps, teres minor/major, rhomboids and lats.  I row bent-over and row until my muscles become like deep hooks fasten to my bones.  I row until these muscles remain unquestionably contracted and freeze.  I row until my muscles yell, spit and claw at me with spasms.  Until I have to beg them for mercy and limber them again.

Disregarding the tight knot that formed in my back and in my forearms it is time to pick up the dumbbells for a bicep curl marathon.  I ride the mind-muscle connection.  I stand with soldier posture.  Shoulders are down and back and my abdominals are fully engaged.  I curl and curl; my skin tightens like a face peel – twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four and twenty-five reps.  I keep the world of burn centered in the bicep peak.  I’m in pain.  I can’t tell which it is:  Does my mind or body want to give up?

I grind my teeth.  I get angry.  I’m extremely ugly when I lift.  I’m never to sure what come(s) over me.  I now proceed to hurt myself further by grinding my teeth into my mouth and grimace like I’m dropping sewage in the public restroom.  I can feel my body wanting to break down since the fourth set at the beginning of the training session roughly 40 minutes ago.  I’m now over the hump.  I do my best to maintain good breathing technique during the seconds of concentric, isometric and eccentric.

Keep the body tight.
Keep the body tight.
Can you feel it baby?
I dirty-talk myself.

I’m far out.  I’m probably having an out of body experience.  I’m a watcher sitting on an engine fueling my iron addiction observing myself.  I’m exhausted like a motherfucker, but I’m chasing the burn, the pump and the grind.  I’m chasing the fat I’ve gain last year.  I’m chasing my fickle motivation.  I’m making my own inspiration once again.

And…

Tonight I felt like myself.
Tonight I felt like a weightlifter.
Tonight I’m heavy in love with myself.
Tonight the pumps in my deltoids were fearsome.
Tonight my triceps bled over (still are),
And I didn’t even train them.
That, my friends, is a side effect of greatness.

P.S.

Does my training inspire my writing or does my writing inspire my training?

-Pennington

Assigned


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I’m too cold.
But, I’m not callous.
I believe I’m meant to be alone,
Even though
My deck of cards contain malice.
I have a heart of gold
Because I believe in
Good balance.

What do you say?
I’m cerebral.
Do you pray?
Or fight against evil?
I can be your part-time hero.
And even then
I will let you down
By being in the middle.

And what do you say?
I’m detached, dislodged.
I don’t belong here.
I’m only a fog.
I’m a burn in a throat –
A clear strict scotch.
An aftershock full of scars,
Just you watch.

And what can I say?
I want a young sharp mind.
I want it primed, full of rhymes
And perfectly timed.
I want to cuddle with an objective book.
You can join me,
But get your own.
I prefer when things are assigned.

-Pennington