From the other side of me here!
From the other side of me here!
The other half of me: Link here! Thank you for reading. 🙂
Is it true once a meathead always a meathead?
I’m not entirely sure but I have been testing it out on a weekly basis. During the week I perform multiple Ballet Beautiful workouts, however in the weekends (and one day a week) I save my weightlifting sessions and treat them like royalty. I savor every exercise and every rep even though I changed my rep style and training techniques.
Since my goals are different my programs consist of higher rep ranges than what I’m used to, also more circuit-training style and also tri-sets/giant sets. The rest time has been super short and interesting. Ever since I started spreading out my Ballet Beautiful workouts throughout the day – I became comfortable with doing quicker workouts. I also became addicted to a different kind of fascinating localized burn.
For a long time I used to perform 2-3 hours in the gym on weightlifting and cardio sessions but now I’m on to doing everything different. To be honest, I don’t think I enjoy long workouts at the moment. At the moment it feels like getting my workouts done quickly is a new accomplishment. I do have to control my breathing as I’m dying half the time, with or without digesting caffeine. On this note: The last few years I actually enjoy taking caffeine for workout sessions because there are times when it blunts the hardcore pain and burn – it makes it easier to get through difficult super intense workouts.
I’ve broken up my weightlifting/strength-training bouts typically into these body parts: Shoulders, Traps & Back, Chest & Back or Chest, Squats & Arms or Legs, Glutes and Arms. It’s very typical of me to do any body part along with Back (and I’ve been trying to get out of this habit) because I love training back! Then there are times when I throw in many different push ups at one time and bang them out as quickly as possible while aiming for 100 reps or higher as a round 1 or round 2 of my workout in the day. I have a soft spot for push ups because being a woman it proved difficult for me to get to a place where I could do one push up, so now generally I go buck-wild doing them because I can now. It keeps the upper body and core strength high anyway.
This past weekend I performed Barbell Bent-Over Rows (underhand), Dumbbell Shoulder Press, Bent-Over Rear Delt Flyes and Dumbbell Bicep curls one after another. I’ve never been a big fan of tri-sets or giant sets back in the days – here and there they were a once in a blue thing, but for the most part straight and supersets were always my go to with rest-pause/staggered sets.
Back to the weekend, I dug my feet into the ground and got into a perfect 90 degree with my body so my hamstrings are stretched yet contracted isometric and pulling underhand for the Bent-Over Rows. I felt absolutely amazing! It’s like an invisible breeze flowed through my hair, although it felt like a sauna in the room.
And I felt wild fire spread across the forest of my muscles. I love when it feels like my entire body grows swollen in a matter of seconds and the delts start to fill like balloons. I love when the body comes off as if it’s hitting muscular failure when each set goes on and the pull of the motion seems to get jerky and doesn’t feel as smooth yet the reality is you’re not jerking your body in a discombobulated fashion. You’re just becoming one with the mind-muscle-body connection.
Then I moved right into the Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press as my abdominals pulled itself in while the glutes keep taunt and super tight to aid in a strong soldier position. I pumped out reps and focused on maintaining good breathing techniques as my heart raced and raced and raced.
My lats became a passionate bonfire while in the Dumbbell Bent-Over Rear Delt Flyes. I got into the perfect 90 degree, and my hamstrings are stretched yet contracted isometric again, but this time I have to pull back almost in an arc. I fought through the raging flame. I fought through gravity. I fought through the speeding heart. I grinded my teeth. My cheeks puffed up like a hamster binging. My mascara sweated and burned in my eyes.
Then quickly I moved into Dumbbell Bicep Curls and smiled at myself in the mirror. My delts are pumped and I could see these lines embedded in the top of my traps every time I alternated curling and squeezing for two seconds before coming back down. And it’s in these times where I realized how much I’ve busted my ass training with the first loves of my life: Dumbbells and Barbells. This is true resistance. I love the iron and nothing can ever take its place.
I felt the rush of blood raged through my veins rep after rep after rep as I moved and grimace on to each exercise until I finally took a rest for a few moments before I had to hit it again for another 3 more big sets. This was another reminder that once a meathead is always a meathead. It’s a drug. It’s an addiction. It’s something my body and my mind calls for without a shadow of a doubt. This is true love.
Weightlifting gives me a different outlet by allowing me to tap into various types of emotions that dwell within me. When I want to feel like a hungry beast, when I want to take my aggression out, when I want to tighten my skin, when I want to swell my body parts like I live off a tank of helium and when I want to feel like my strong self again – I have weightlifting to count on.
Ballet Beautiful allows me to feel feminine and it provides contrast for my weightlifting. Weightlifting makes me feel masculine – and if this sounds sexist to you – then that sounds like a personal problem. I embrace both essences of gender. Both training systems work for me in different ways, like I work on bigger muscle with weights and smaller ones with Ballet Beautiful. They both have everlasting techniques and history. They both share technique, strength and grace.
I acquire distinctive endorphins from both training systems, but it seems like weightlifting is what makes my blood fire instinctively and it makes me feel powerful and invincible – capable of anything and everything.
I am absolutely elated! I’m joyful and in high spirits training speaking (and yes I’m talking about Ballet Beautiful). I never thought anything other than weightlifting could bring me to a place where I’m both happy and full of plenty endorphins. For thirteen years I’ve devoted lots of time, effort, tears, injuries, strains, tears and more into the lifestyle of weightlifting. This has been a part of me like my genetic makeup. The iron has forever been my best friend when I didn’t have any best friends.
The truth is over the last year or two – I associate a lot of negativity with weightlifting. There were endless moments where my weightlifting sessions were more about doing my best to fill in my countless voids rather than for the purpose of how I looked or other health related reasons. I was destroying my body to the ground with force and brainwashing myself with negative words and connotations.
Day in and day out I would break my body. I used to work hard for hours in the gym doing 60-90 minute cardio sessions and a separate 60-90 minute weightlifting session a day up to 5-6 times a day for many hours. I bet I could light up Times Square with all the energy I gave to the gym daily. Sometimes I would split the sessions up and other times I would do it back to back with a protein bar or a shake in the center of the sessions.
The twenty-four hour gym was my haven – it was my alcohol and bar. I gym hopped from one gym to another especially when the manic nights wouldn’t let me sleep.
This leads me into another subject where I built more brainwashing for my training life mind. I tell you now that everything is a lesson in disguise if you have the ability to recognize it and flex your self awareness often. The fitness industry can be a motivating place for some and a disheartening place for others. The one thing I know however is the fitness industry has a powerful impact on everyone in the world. I wish I could say I’m immune to it, but I’m not. Sometimes I get caught up in the strange world.
I like to pride myself on rarely looking up to anyone in the fitness and bodybuilding industry because no one is like me and I’m not like anyone else. I don’t look up to the pros in the fitness industry because I don’t agree with most of the things they say. Everything is airbrushed, enhanced and they’re in competition mode selling us lies that come in imagery, supplements and pill bottles.
The thing that gets me the most about these fitness pros is their brainwashing – it is pretty much the same talk and mentality. They’re like clones of one another with their mantras: “No pain, no gain” and “Train insane or remain the same.” Should you train with pain? It depends on the kind of pain. Should you train through your pain? No. Will these pros tell you that? No. But they’ll tell you whatever you want to hear to make you buy the products they themselves are forced to sell.
To my knowledge (and I don’t know of every person in the fitness industry), almost every single coach, IFBB/National Pro and even fitness gurus talk about extreme dieting and extreme training. One day I viewed a video someone on Twitter linked and was shocked when I saw a powerlifter expressing his extreme viewpoint on why you should work through elbow pain, and if you don’t, then you really don’t want your personal records and so forth.
This is hogwash!
Just because you refuse to bury your body into the ground and you want to live and die for your weightlifting/Powerlifting numbers – doesn’t mean YOU should. Just because you have a tear in your shoulder/knee and need to beat out your competition as a way to prove to yourself and the whole world YOU can do it – doesn’t mean YOU should DO it. You should take a step back and really analyze the world and what they’re telling you and what dream they’re selling YOU.
The thing is you need to look at facts aside from asking: Why are you putting your body through hell? What are your reasons? Are they good reasons? Or are you doing it for your business, for your team or for your country? Is there something in your life that you’re running away from? Or is there a void you’re trying to cover? Or do you simply live for the passion and want to break your body in return for this passion you’re feeling?
To be continued..
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.
I 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.
Here’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?
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.
[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,
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.
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.
Does my training inspire my writing or does my writing inspire my training?
I stretch long and strong and wide like a rainbow. I have my colors back from my fair complexion – and the ones I deem underneath my skin – muscles. I bask once again in the glory of my religion at the gym; eight months later after being snatch up from a break and fall accident. I’m finally home. And I welcome myself back with the eyes and psyche of a new foundation and fresh perspective that glitters like gold from the inside out with positivity and nourishment that stems from redefining everything in my life.
It’s been a long while – shy of four months to make a full year. But now, I’m in my happy place where endorphins give way to my bipolar lows so I can obtain a high again. The gym is where I center myself, where I create the magic concoction to establish balance and management of my historic chemical imbalances. It’s where I get to feel the rush of heat on my chubby cheeks and where I get to unleash my every day aggression. It’s where I thrive on the blood that swirls in burn and ache in every direction from the temple of my body and mind.
I’m once again grateful for all the higher powers that be for allowing me to feel my muscles with hurt on every movement I push without limits. I enjoy each turn as I wince out of delight from a rotation where my oblique contracts and I involve myself in the flashback of yesterday: Engaging full integrity on a few hours of work. Because for a while I forgot how soreness felt. I forgot about the subtle peaks in muscles. I forgot about the way those peaks slowly raise with fever over the course of the night and the next forty-eight hours heavy with temper – delayed onset muscular soreness.
The truth is: I can live with every part of my body given to the brutal pain of a committed lift. I can dedicate my entire life to infinite repetitions. I can die happy on my last breath being exerted against the resistance of iron, and the cerebral connection vital for my mental, spiritual and emotional therapy. I mean, after all is said and done, the gym is a home dedicated to self-love, despite the general mundane (and sometimes) pieces of a day to day. This is where my importance lies and one of the many things that gives my life character, spirit, purpose and beauty.
I’m floating in and out of sadness. Every once in a while it catches up to me like a bad childhood memory. I try to face it at times. I also try and run away. But mostly I remain on auto-pilot. I envision myself just like the cat that has a balloon wrapped around the midline of its body — floating into the same sky I did mere months ago. I’m physically, mentally and spiritually exhausted. I’m spent in ways I didn’t know I could be.
I go a few steps forward and everything seems okay in the world again. I enjoy daylight and saying yes to people who ask for small favors. I try and walk unassisted for blocks even though the pain is massive and my limp is unattractive. And on the good days, I take to doing light cleaning in the house where my lower back flares and tries to fight me to the point of my giving up. I won’t give in. I love telling my body what to do with my mind.
After seeing my surgeon and the physician’s assistant, they both came to the conclusion that my ongoing pain has been due to the aggression of PT. They gave me an aircast brace for stability purposes and to hopefully decrease the pain. Then they told me if in 4 weeks there’s still pain we’ll take some x-rays. And I’m just wondering how long man? How long? I know I heard the doctors say it can take up to a year in order for your body to feel back to normal. But I was working hard day in and day out in hopes I wouldn’t be in that statistic.
I’ve been sucking it up. I’ve adjusted overnight. So, can I get a little something back that isn’t comfort food or Netflix or reading or writing or short evening walks to try and improve my gait? Where is my additional luck? Has it gone in hiding? And, yes, this is my bitching because on bad days this is how I feel: I’ve been devoted to myself since day one of this accident. I’ve done everything I was supposed to and continue to do now. My darker days I owe to my menstrual cycle and I hover over negatives as if it’s about to go out of style.
Wish me well.