Category Archives: Training Life

Animal Flow


Animal-Flow3.jpg

I have too much muscle for me not to put it to use.

I guess, just because I’ve been challenging myself without dumbbells and barbells doesn’t mean I can’t challenge myself in other ways.  My body craves movement.  It craves to feel blood swirling and pumping, to feel its skin get tight when performing.  My muscles crave dynamism and action.  I knew I had to think of something fast that would allow my body and I to be challenged and fulfilled.  Eventually, I came across Animal Flow or Primal Movement.

In the past I’ve done some animal-type movements but added them to workout programs when I wanted something a little different.  A few weeks ago, I decided I want Animal Flow or Ground-based movements to be the center of my attention, along with Yoga and mobility work for my continual internal and external healing.  Which reminds me, I remember getting used to ground-based movements when I was doing a lot of Ballet Beautiful and Barre work.  Half of the exercises were on the mat making it more challenging than the weightlifting I’ve already became accustomed to for over a decade.

I think subconsciously my body deeply craved ground-based workouts again, even though I was very scared (and still am) of letting go the religion of weightlifting.  Maybe not forever, but for the moment.  And so far, I’m right!  My body craves this kind of expression.  Over the past few years, I’ve come to enjoy moving my body in different ways.  I seek out more flow-type workouts that are super challenging and therefore allow me to concentrate in ways I usually don’t.

I want mindfulness, new movement patterns and new folds in my brain.  In a way, only now can I see how one-dimensional many of my movements were when I was weightlifting.  In the process, I’ve gotten better at writing a more balanced workout program.  I feel like I didn’t have a choice, but I’m not complaining.  I get better with time.  In distancing myself from what I normally do, I’m giving myself permission to see things differently, which in turn allows me to continue being open, so I can crave different things.  I love going on and learning from new journeys.  What I find interesting about practicing Animal Flow is I must work my way up, which makes it harder for me to overtrain even if (when) I want to.

I’ve had too many up’s and down’s with motivation due to chronic pain, stress and health issues that I can’t always say it’s been easy for me to be discipline 4-5 times a week every week regarding fitness over the past few years.  But what has helped me is going back to how much I love to move, how good I feel when my body is pumped, how blessed I am to have all my limbs, how nice it is to set goals and to stubbornly meet the goals and drive further for extra goals.

I’ve had conversations of giving up my love for fitness as well as conversations about why we (my different shades of personalities) should continue it.  I’ll never forget a coworker of mine when I asked her one day, “Do you want to train with me on my break?”  She said, “Why not?  You’re the trainer.”  That day we trained together and during, she said to me, “You love training!  I never see you so happy, so big with your smile until you train.”  And the thing is I never realized how happy I was when I move, exercise and put my body through intense work.  I was solely training to train.

Last night, I was elated!  I was walking on clouds, super high on endorphins.  I couldn’t get enough.  I did a move called The Underswitch.  I’ll link the move at the bottom of this entry with an article about AF.  It’s basically being in a crab walk position and rotating your entire body until you’re in a bear crawl/beast position.  Granted, it was my first time doing this move.  However, sometimes I have a bad habit underestimating myself and my physical strength.  I thought the underswitch would be harder to do because I weigh 223lbs.  Mentally, I felt like I shouldn’t have been able to do it, but physically I can do it.  I made sure to perform it a few times on the left and right, so I know it’s not a fluke.  And I had so much fun!  I couldn’t stop smiling!  There are few things in life that make me happy in this barbaric world.

I’m happy I’ve been practicing for weeks with Bear Crawl or Beast Holds.  I’ve been picking up one limb at a time and shifting my weight while being hovered a few inches off the floor just like in the video above.  I’m also practicing traveling or walking forwards and backwards also with the Bear Crawl and Crab positions, which are harder for me because I’m not the best when it comes to coordination.  Still, I think I found something I can put my body, mind, spirit and soul to use.

Have you guys done any Animal Flow?

– Pennington

Everything


Now that I have my dumbbells and E-Z Bar put off to the corner of the apartment, I’ve been focusing on other things like cardio (biking), twerking, walking with nature, flexibility and mobility work.  My physical therapist has even whispered restorative yoga and has recommended some DVD’s specifically for pelvic floor dysfunction that involves yoga.  So, you know where that’s taking me.

Now I’m not the biggest fan of cardio, but I’m a fan of being healthy enough.  To make biking for miles fun at the apartment, I blast tunes on my S1-Pro Bose!  The music gives me goosebumps and sometimes I can feel the bass deep in my heart as I drown out everyone else’s music in the building.  Sometimes I like multiple sessions spreading them from morning, afternoon or night.  And when I’m in a carefree mood, I’ll ride the bike without undies because that’s something I could never do at the gym!

Some people underestimate the work it takes to twerk.  It’s a hell of a workout!  Plus, it’s something that gets my heart racing quicker than I can shake my ass, probably.  I’m not supposed to squat, lunge or do crunches, according to my physical therapist, but what she doesn’t know won’t hurt her, even though it may hurt me.  The main move of the twerk is a squat!  Still though, there are so many damn drills from standing, to bending over, to squatting on your toes, to performing movements on the wall or floor.  It’s great!

I remember when I first started twerking my body didn’t have the best muscle memory.  It felt like the first time I tried to dumbbell chest press; massively awkward and almost impossible.  I remember being self-conscious trying to chest press, more so than twerking.  Now, my ass has graduated!  It has a mind of its own and moves on its own freewill.  The only thing I need is a nickname for my twerking persona.

So, it took me a long time to be more flexible, but I got somewhere.  I stretched more of my lower body than I do my upper body because one day I want to be able to do the split.  Flexibility always reminds me of mobility work, so I do them both.  I used to think warmups, flexibility and mobility stuff were a waste of time, but that’s only because 1.  I can be kind of idiotic and 2.  because I was young and could get away without doing those things, so I thought.  I’m older now and my body is not having that shit anymore.  I must warm up and get all my juices flowing before I can dive into any kind of training just like foreplay before the climax.

Well, I’m new to restorative yoga.  I hope to practice it to the point where I turn into an airplane and levitate above the masses and hope to write about the journey of my new elevation.  So far, it’s weird to me.  At least, the process of being gentle as well as the process of consciously relaxing.  It’s eye-opening.  For the longest time, I lifted aggressively at the gym.  And to my amazement, I’ve never considered myself to be aggressive, even when others pointed and RAWR at me.  But by doing restorative yoga, I can see now how hostile, and often, how destructive I was.  Shit!  I have the injuries as proof.

Learning how to relax is something I needed in my life but didn’t know I needed in my life.  Isn’t that how it often is?  You never know what you need because you’re usually fixated on wanting something else that it overshadows what you actually NEED!  Anyhow, it’s taken me a long time to come around and relax for my overall well-being.  To be honest, the idea of being gentle to myself is/was pretty darn foreign, but I’m less guarded to being tender now with newfound appreciation.  This sums up everything!

Here’s an article to the introduction of restorative yoga if you’re curious.

Try it sometime.

Pennington

The Theme Is Being Gentler


MQ3364-Wonder-Woman-Comic-Series-Girl-Justice-League-USA-Superhero-Hot-Art-Poster-Top-Silk-Canvas.

I cancelled my gym membership and felt relieved.

The first reason why I decided to cancel my gym membership is because I don’t use it anymore.  I thought joining a gym closer to home would be convenient, but it wasn’t.  I became one of those people I used to talk shit about – paying monthly and not showing up.  I decided to stop wasting money and put hundreds back in my pocket.

The second reason why I cancelled is because I don’t weightlift as heavy as I used to.  This was the purpose of my gym membership; to play with all the hammer strength machines, barbells and dumbbells until I abused and depleted myself.  Now, I can’t step into the gym without lifting heavy.  I can no longer control myself, so I don’t go.

I have developed too many muscle imbalances and there are parts of my body that are asymmetrical (according to me).  Aside from my muscles who enjoy living their life in a state of contraction, they’re holding onto emotional and physical trauma.  The tension I carry must be release from within.

Every time I lift weights, my nags escalate until it’s full-blown inflammation.  It affects me in such a way where my body keeps instructing me to listen.  Over the years, I have decreased the load, given cardio strength a try and included circuit training with lighter dumbbells/barbells only to go for heavier weights eventually.  Therefore, continuing the hurt.

And, my body goals and nature has changed.
Nevertheless, I’ve been heeding the advice of my body.

Slowly, listening.

And I’ve been listening in time to lead me to the third reason why I decided to cancel my gym membership.  For the past few months, I’ve been seeing a physical therapist for pelvic floor dysfunction.  This dysfunction coupled with my fibroid issue and stress incontinence has pretty much ruined a good part of my life that I’ll leave for another entry probably.  Because of these newly found issues, it behooves me to learn how to be gentle with myself in every regard possible.

It’s quite interesting, over the course of the last few years, the theme of my life seems to be about being gentler to myself.  My therapist has also helped me to solidify the idea of furthering my compassion for myself.  I must be gentle in how I speak to myself, in how I respond to myself, in how I regulate my emotions, in how I treat myself, in how I exercise.

It all points to being gentler and I’m actually refreshed because of it.

– Pennington

Schwinn 130


I always wanted a stationary bike in the apartment.  I’m not sure why I didn’t do it sooner.  Maybe because I was using the gym on a regular basis or maybe because my last apartment building didn’t have an elevator and if I wanted to get anything upstairs, I had to consider the ridiculous 5 flights to my place.  Now, I have an elevator, so easy peasy.  Plus, I don’t go to the gym nearly as much.   Over the past four years I got used to home workouts.

I also got used to buying different fitness equipment.  I’ve become a shameless collector because variation.  But I’ll admit there was a time when I was struggling with my identity, motivation and fitness goals.  For a little while I was looking for something outside to make my inside feel better, and in the meantime I accumulated tons of interesting fitness stuff.  Right about the time I started to change my attitudes and perspectives in life, I started my research for stationary bikes.

The latest badass equipment and so far, the most expensive is the Schwinn 130.  I got it for dirt cheap – $110 bucks! – from someone who was selling it on the LetGo App.  She admitted to buying it because her doctor told her she shouldn’t run anymore due to her plantar fasciitis.  So, she bought the bike, but with her busy job schedule and never being home, she never used it.  I think it’s crazy that she spent over $500.00 for a bike she never tried.  She was kind enough to let me try the bike at her house.  Then I lugged the Schwinn on a dolly back to the apartment, which was roughly 18 blocks.  It was totally worth it!

The Schwinn being in great condition made me super happy!  I jumped on the bike as soon as I got home.  I didn’t think anything could go wrong.  BUT by the second day, my body awareness was strong.  It was then I realized the bike seat was digging hard into my sit bones.  The pain was unbearable.  I felt the hairs on my body standing up and within 7 minutes I felt my body cringe and posture cave in.  Not even the gel cover that came for free with the rest of the bike supported me in any way.  Pedaling became a problem!

So, I found a bike shop to measure my sit bones and bought a new sexy seat – Respiro Athletic Bike Saddle Unisex.  Instantly, it felt different.  I can now pedal continuously with less pain.  Within the second week, I bought women’s bike shorts to be extra.  And it turns out that it was leaving my vagina numb.  I got off the bike believing I broke my lady parts somehow.  I returned the bike shorts with gel padding.  I love my Schwinn, but I have to tell you that I’m learning more about seat position, bike shorts, saddles, millimeters, bibs and a whole host of other shit I never thought I’d get into.

Work is always in progress.

-Pennington Hall 

High: Pure Being


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The blood stops short trapped before a hair tie, until I release the bun of tension:  post exercise of body-induced drama.  This is the captivating magic of night.

*

The mind works itself into heavy persuasion.  The body labors with intense urging.  The heart never questions what the goals are or what state of peak condition or overwhelmed fatness I stand in.  A sober thought I do entertain is how someone can not understand the significance of body awareness and its dynamism.

I have a passionate addiction to adrenaline and to the exclusive kick of the way my muscles drum within its act of compulsion.  The heart skips, skips and skips uninhibited.  It beats obsessively and storms out my mouth like an aggressive bird.  It ignites the fight and frenzy over the psyche and tissue land of freedom.

I’ve failed many times and am more successful because of every stoppage.  And now every weakness is formed into substantial strength and what strength has already been established has now constructed itself into marble and stone.

The focus is better determined than years previous.  The focus is better established than the last set and the mind-muscle connection tastes stronger than the last seething rep.  I’ve been sucked into a craving that’s unaware of its bounds.  I throw my fists into the air to battle and enter new coordination and balance ground.

My chest hovers over the floor, shoulders and triceps contract, hum and weep pushing up 200lbs plus over and over again.  The brace of my abdominals is my body’s endless support and savior.  Now there’s a surge spreading like a wild forest fire burning each of my hamstring fibers and into every angle and groove of my glutes with a various amount of hip thrust and single-leg pelvic bridges I can muster under time and tension.  The inner thigh screams by its own distress signals and fleshly vulnerability.  The burn degrees increase and I pull my center deeply to the spine to further the accuracy of the focal point along with the present.

I grimace in pain and drill my teeth into my own mouth.  I start to elevate and disappear like smoke.  I’m high now and there’s an exit.  I’m high and there are no thoughts struggling its way to birth other thoughts.  I’m high and suddenly there are no problems in the world.  There is no suffering.  There is only bliss and light.  There is only presence and heaven.  There is only the state of pure being.

-Pennington

Reflecting Meathead


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.

  -Pennington

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

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