Tag Archives: Ego

Chewing Gum


chewing gum 2.

You know what’s to come. 
You hear war drums.
You heard about the hunter in me.
You know I’m butter toffee.
You heard I bruise egos.
You know I’m blacker than Negroes. 
You heard I have a million sins.
You know I don’t fix things.

You can’t stop yourself.
You like the pains and welts.
You know the sum of what’s to come.
You love my Puerto Rican in your rum.
You like the ecstasy and high I bring.
You enjoy how I leave you on brink.
You like the bountiful sex I give.
You love me so much to forgive.

You know exactly what’s to come.
You can hear the bass and thrums.
I can’t bring you safety baby.
I’m high, low, manic, crazy.
I’m not stupid to guard your heart.
I can’t even blueprint my art.
I can’t be like you:  Lost in love.
I’m dead inside – a little too tough.

You know shamelessly what’s to come.
Interestingly enough you’re off the cuff.
I’m going to hurt you like the others.
I’ll haunt like the suffering of mothers.
I’m going to give you a world of hurt.
I wouldn’t be able to without teamwork.
You heard of ruin and what’s to come.
Now you’re my next chewing gum.

-Pennington

Break a Sweat in a Different Way


aeon_flux_by_lucirgoI’m a big believer in doing things differently in life every few weeks, months or years as it shows maturity and continual personal development.  I carry this thought process in every aspect of life – especially fitness.  I like to switch things up all the time.  I can’t even do the same workout twice in one week unless I’m no good at something and I need to improve to make a set of gains I find to be necessary.

It’s incredibly easy to get caught up in everyday routines because it doesn’t take much conscious effort.  A routine and few redundant examples are: Traveling the same way to work, spending quality time in the same exact way with your kids, knowing what your partner is going to do later on tonight in the bedroom and using the same training program your uncle wrote you when you were like fifteen years old.  Being on auto-pilot is safe on one end, but dangerous to your health and depressing in another.

This leads me to being a big believer in changing my workouts.  (I despise doing the same workout twice even in one month.)  On top of my weightlifting workouts, I now have reintroduced a lot of things I used to do because I must keep it funky fresh and because my ankle has made some gains.  Some of these workouts are total body circuits, dance fitness, ballet, Yoga, Kenpo X and Pilates just to name a few.

These workouts on top of the strength-training aren’t JUST because I want to lose weight or gain a better core or reintroduce balance again, but it’s because my metabolism is sluggish since I broke my ankle a mere year ago and have gained weight.  I’ve notice in the past – when I want to kickstart my body and have it be a fat-burning machine my body needs something different.  My body needs something out of left field in order for it to start responding in the way that I like.  I believe it’s partly due to having a low thyroid as well as my dietary intake – it’s not the best or the worst.

And this is where my theory comes in, and why I’ve chosen to once again mix my workouts heavily.  I have twelve years of weightlifting under my belt and some of my fibers are used to this weightlifting plan.  This means that focusing on the strength-training aspect to pick up my sluggish metabolism initially doesn’t work for me.  It’ll actually work against me since my body is already used to picking up steel and putting them down.  So, my body needs a different shock.

It’s not a wonder why over time one has to overload their muscles to the point of no return, and that’s simply to make a small gain.  It’s easy to gain muscle in the first 3 years, but after that it becomes harder and harder to make the gains AND at a quicker pace.  I believe that on one end, weightlifting for twelve years has hurt me in some respects, and in others it has blessed me.  I’m restarting from a different place where I had mobility, balance, proprioception, strong fibers and a decent metabolism for the longest time.  Now I’m working to gain each and every one of these back and much stronger than before.

In my partner’s words, “You’re getting sleeker”, but it’s not necessarily due to the weightlifting at the moment, it’s due to everything else my body isn’t used to handling.  I laugh hysterically whenever I pick up 3lb-10lb dumbbells and have a tough time doing a difficult exercise and am not allowed to perform reps and sets that constitute ego lifting.  I’m humbled every time I perform the Swan Arm Ballet Workout and Bun Shaper wanting to cry from the scorch I feel throughout my body, yet I can do 100lbs and more of Barbell Hip Thrusts for 4-5 sets on a working bench with no problem.

Because the fact remains that the things your body is good at and is used to – you can do it forever without breaking a sweat; however the things your body isn’t used to – you can only do for a small amount of time and break under the sweat of a new raging world.  I know I love to do things I’m good at.  (How about you?)  I know that I hate to make myself look bad or stupid or like I’m not strong enough in front of others.  But that’s just fear, embarrassment and ego talking.

This also comes from a place where one doesn’t want to evolve because of fear, but making the conscious effort and having the desire of wanting to excel despite looking silly, or knowing you’re going to fail and such leads to maturity and personal growth.  We learn more about ourselves from adversity than we do when we’re full of joy and happiness.

In hindsight, breaking a new sweat because you opted to do something different will break you (people) out of your (their) safe routine life.  And in turn, will break you out of your plateau – yes this includes fitness – the kind of plateau YOU (they) weren’t even aware about.

Happy Training folks! 😉

-Pennington

Lack of Drive Kind of Night


Pale Comparison
Today I woke up, among a lack of drive, aches in the center of traps, spinning wheels against the uneasiness of day.  I looked for inspiration in opened paperbacks, dipped into phony motivation within cups of roasted caffeine.  I regretted it once I finished the cup because my mouth tasted like darkness and death.  But, the mood was lightened through warm phone conversations.  I came across a twenty-four hour CVS store, entered awkwardly like an orphanage and lingered in the wellness aisles, until I purchased a 5-hour energy drink.

On the train platform I waited.  Destination to gym was approximately thirty minutes.  Similar to a concealed alcoholic, I glanced over my shoulder; full suspicion, threw my head back and drank junk energy.  Eleven-something-PM and the red line pulled in with swarming bodies.  I entered and a kind middle-aged man took his jacket off the seat, so I can sit and wouldn’t have to scramble for a comfortable standing spot.  I smiled.  I didn’t want to be rude and decline the offer and in return I thanked him.  I sat between him and another man who plainly made love to his dazzling tablet with his eyes.

Smashed in the middle, my arms laid over my book-bag, hands clasped obedient.  Heat rose to caress my face, but it was followed by rolled evil eyes.  I scanned mush-sardines everywhere.  And every now and again, I stared awfully long and awfully hard at the ceiling, prayed to God for bodies to exit the cart or die.  I wasn’t sure how much longer I could take my inner thighs contracting under excruciating tension.  There was wicked edge in my legs and they were about to cramp like Charlie horses in the core of night.  I prayed in excess.  I needed anything and everything to take my mind away from expanding fury.

When I noticed a group of male friends in front of me lined up like bowling pins and how each had the same brand on:  Levi’s.  My heart rate decreased from anger and eased once I searched for the outlines of buttocks:  Who owned the biggest, who was trying to show it off and who was trying to put their glutes out of sight?  Then the kind man who made space for me originally was getting off the train and my heart soared knowing I’d be able to breathe large again by swerving to the left and conquering the corner seat.  Thank god and the heavens!

Walking through the gym doors, I saw the regular night shift receptionist guy put his conversation on hold to greet me with a huge grin; he puts my mind at ease by saying, “Hello!  Have a good one!”  All smiles, passing a row of proud ellipticals; I jog the flight of stairs.  I quickly analyzed the weight-room with a criminal grill, turned the corner to find a caramel-Dominican running on the treadmill in mesh shorts with buttocks hopping in succession.  I slowed down to catch a few seconds of eye-candy and disappeared like magic into the locker room.

Feeling internally flirty, the hair went in a high ponytail, bangs are held back by a bobby pin and I creep to the weight-room floor.  I eye-fucked the first exercise to get me primed and ready to rock and roll:  Seated rows!  And with the lat-pulldown bar attachment, taking the hand placement as wide as the sky, set after set, fifteen full reps each, I burn and flame, burn and flame.  I start to love myself.  The blaze starts to give me repeated drive.

I moved on to dumbbell seated shoulder press and with the first set I reached a full fifteen reps with 30lbs.  But by the third set my triceps were fried (thanks to the bang of the buck of Seated Rows – surely you can figure it out) and my favorite technique, rest-pause took over.  It went from 5 to 4 to 3 reps.  My mental flare shook its head each time in a kind of displeased failure.  Angry, I powerwalked to the back of the gym and sighed at the sight of the pull-up assisted machine.

I know how every rep feels before I perform them:  Difficult, treading through deep water, muddy-like, an overload of massive bodyweight.  Sometimes I wish they were a walk through the park, but deep down inside I would never want this.  Roughly 8 set of tough chins and pulls than kept it moving.  The incline rear-delt flyes are tougher than they appear; the ego lowers itself along with the weight to be used, another exercise that stops the hardcore flare in my mind.  After deep breaths taken, full contraction and 2-3 second holds at the top of every rep, the first set wrapped, and I notice the group of men from the corner of my eyes nodding respect at my performance.

The most challenging thing of the rear-delt flyes is not dropping my face into the bench when I start to fatigue and create grimaces like a mad hulk, to fight any sort of momentum and not go beyond the range of motion to strike a meek nerve.  Then on to the front raise with a barbell, go high above my head, core braced and my entire body tight in one line.  The scorching starts from the top of my traps, slides into my deltoids and enters in the center of my back.  By the end of the sets, I pause on every fourth rep.  I shake my head in partial defeat, and I rise again in full power.

By this time, I imagine the snarl of my vagina rages with odors of unfathomable ammonia, growing more teeth as every bit of exhaustion tries to yank me in submission.   I stuck my hand out in front of my body and examined my fingers for the rush and temp of adrenaline.  I need the shaking reminder, the bearing of fruit.  Happy and high, bent-over rows became the name of the game, pyramided by 10lb increments, pushing through countless reps and the dead hang arm feeling only to row, row, row it back.

Face pulls, a classic, cable tension, good stretch, long step back.  I felt my teres minor flared from the front raises and as a result I stretched for twenty seconds in between sets.  Then the lat-pulldown machine, not cable, actual machine because my muscles respond at a greater frenzy.  Within this meantime, I couldn’t help but enjoy the puzzled look on the woman’s mug, a kind of blasé air, pursed lips on a nipple water bottle, eyes lowered, dragged in slow-motion to the corner to glare towards my action.

I finished with calves on an extension machine I grew to love; abusing it bilaterally until they scream further into mercy unilaterally followed by abdominal exercises.  My entire happy ending came to a halt once I got down on the perky blue mat of heaven and performed 50 reps of Superwoman’s and heard the middle of my back crack.  I found myself in the locker, hands washed, headphones bagged in its pouch, headed down the stairs where the guy receptionist said, “Have a good night.”

And I did.
I did. 

But I’m still struggling from the lack of motivation.

-Pennington

I’m in It: the Gym and I Can’t Get Out!


Dead It!
I had these crazy doubts after the shift in hormones over the course of a few months.  I felt like I was held hostage by life for a moment while I struggled to regain my whole self again.  It’s now safe to say I’m no longer tear-jerking myself over Grey Anatomy episodes or telling my Partner in Crime I want to marry him as soon as possible.  I may be back to what I know as my normal self, the kind who does none of what I just mentioned.

Okay so my body’s chemistry threw me for a loop and for a long period of time I thought I would just continue getting fat while losing hard-earned muscle.  I thought I would continue eating sugar and wanting to make out with Coke and Tang on a regular basis.  I thought I would never be motivated to workout once more let alone find my inner beast to blaze me back up.

Then one night I said, “Fuck it!” and decided on Monday cardio, and on Tuesday I did even more cardio, except I refused to be a cardio bunny and leave the gym without caressing and groping the weights.  Training arms seemed like a good place to start to see if I could get over my foolish uncertainties of being a weightlifter again.

I wrapped my hand around the dumbbell and performed a One-arm Overhead Tricep Extension and the motion flowed gracefully and every rep became about cherishing each contraction and cherishing the blood surging through my veins and cherishing the pleasant out-and-in-and-in-and-out body experience.  Without a second thought I moved right into barbell bicep curls and lifted the weight passionately as everything I put my heart into.

All in all it came back to me like riding a bike and I couldn’t ask for anything else to accompany me in this moment.  I became alive as day and any thought of pacing myself with exercises, equipment, reps or poundage went right out the gym entrance along with every one of my insecurities and qualms.  I was back at my one true home!

From school I started to head straight to the gym and in my mind I’m in a dark corner in the center of the room because my ego places me there.  I have an imaginary audience yet I tune out the real life folks all around me in the gym like an awful lecture coming from a married-in uncle who tried to molest me once upon of time by cold lust. I.  Just.  Tune.  Everything.  The. Fuck.  Out.

The music that was blaring in my headphones suddenly vanished once I positioned my feet under the barbell square in the middle with a stance almost narrow.  I make no fancy flailing or martial arm movements and I make no thunder roar like a powerlifter.  I remain powerfully silent, looking at both sides from where the stained rings are on the barbell steel and with one hand over and the other hand under I roll the bar so it pushes the excess accumulated calluses towards the rest of my palm so it fits snugly to one side and won’t rip open.

I look straight at the mirror but I don’t even see myself in it. I can see clothes. I can see broad shoulders.  I can feel glorious energy multiplying.  But it’s time to get into that low squat and it’s time to pull the barbell up and on my shins, time to maintain focus to deadlift with my traps, lats and entire posterior chain on mental command so my body does exactly what I desire.  I nail it.  I nail it.  I nail it.  I nail it over and over and over again.  I’m happy like a kid in a candy store like a woman who just achieved her first orgasm by the tongue of a man like a fat kid with a buffet of food.  HAPPY!

At certain moments I pulled and held my breath and then I started to see myself in the mirror.  I could see how ugly I look with a deadly mixture between being a woman, a man and a beast.  I felt my abdominals cave in and tighten itself within as if I were about to get hit by a baseball bat and I continued pulling.  During one of the reps I felt pain bordering by the side of my spine and my mind in quick fear blinked the word danger.

I felt my fingers fatigued and go into a frozen state while my forearm stiffened like I imagine a snake’s body would if it were to be lit by fire and around a tree bark or some human’s neck holding on for treasured life.  I felt my body like this many times before trying to go against me by breaking form.

And all I know is this is how I feel like when I’m all up in Kanye West’s song when he says, “I’m in it and I can’t get out” except he’s talking about orgasms and the lovely things that come along with sex.  However that’s exactly how I feel.

I’m in it and I can’t get out of the gym because it’s my strength and my therapy.  It’s my happy place, my go-to home!  The gym is where I go to deal and/or get rid of my doubts and concerns.  The gym is the place where I continue to forge my character.  The gym gives me my sanity back.  It’s my constant haven, not to mention it’s an orgasm away from an actual orgasm.

chesticles

Thankfully! 😀

-Pennington

Training Maturity


Camera 360

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.

-Pennington Hall

Brain Game



connectome
I’m tired of the Sets.

I’m tired of Reps.
I’ve suffocated myself
with every expectation
my ego wanted to achieve
I strangled myself 
with each mark
on the track record
strolling to the gym.
I now feel my steel church
has turned its back on me.
Or perhaps I’ve turned
my back on it?

-Pennington Hall©