Tag Archives: Motivation

The Vanishing


I haven’t been in the best state of mind.  Lately, I’ve been trying to adopt different approaches such as talking gentler to myself.  My therapist says, “Try coddling yourself as you would do a young child that you actually like.”

I’m up with the moon throughout the month and down in the soil all the other times.  Occasionally, I wake up passive and on other days I wake up aggressive as fuck.  I’ve come to terms with my mood disorder.  It’s behavioral, it’s learned, it runs in the family.  A few years ago, I’ve become aware of many effects and suspected my actions may or may not have been completely me.  Things have gotten to the point where even the most basic functions of existence do not seem basic anymore.

I lost who I was.  I think this is the way it goes, right?  Aging.  I’m not sure who I am anymore, aside from a maturing woman who’s both lovely and extreme.  I must admit loudly how I’ve been working on how to manage my mood swings for years and for a good part of my life, exercise and writing have kept a slight handle on the swings, but every day the things that used to work then haven’t been working now.  I’m puzzled.

So, I’m older and in some ways, I absolutely adore it and in other ways, I don’t think I enjoy it because the short-term memory keeps failing me.  It dissolves.  I think because there’s something in the water, something in the air, you know, there are things in our food we can’t pronounce, and that shit doesn’t allow our minds, bodies or spirit to function at an elevated level.  It’s like people hit a certain age and they flatline.  I feel there’s so much working against me in general, and this goes back to how I’m not in the best state of mind.

Over the years my discipline and motivation have taken a dive, so much so, it frightens me.  There are plenty of details in between, some you guys know and others I won’t bother getting into at this time.  Still, I’ve been trying to find my new normal concerning everyday life.  I’m going back to the basics on everything and am currently on a search to reestablish some things I used to love about myself, that now feels like the vanishing of a short-term memory.

I feel like there’s a sport psychology book calling my name out there somewhere.

-Pennington

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Where Are You?


Since September my motivation has dipped.  I knew it was dipping as it was happening.  I was doing my best to stop it even when it had the nerve to stare at me as much as I stared at it.  Of course, I was doing what I thought was the right thing.  I kept going to the gym as if I were going to find a halo over there.  I kept doing home workouts while I cleaned and prepared my space as I sucked my teeth in unhappiness.

I did everything I could think of.  I watched training videos, inspirational videos and coach videos.  I looked up fitness quotes.  I switched up my workouts.  I gave myself low-intensity and high-intensity work.  And there was Ballet Beautiful, weightlifting and circuit training.  But by October I drastically lost touch.  I could only make it to the gym once a week.  And as far as home workouts were concerned, I just sat my ass on the couch.

Absolutely none of this feels like me.  Nevertheless, I’ve come to understand that unlike years before me I’m stressed the fuck out to the max.  To the point where it’s affecting my workouts.  I have no energy to conjure.  I’m constantly fatigued.  In the past, I managed to save my workouts by going through the motions or working out until I felt that fire power come alive again.

But, the issue is I’ve been going through massive stress for years.  It’s a giant accumulation of WHAT THE FUCK!  And I believe it’s finally taking its toll on me.  It’s too embarrassing to talk about, so I don’t talk about it here.  I don’t think I’ve ever experienced this amount of stress in my life.  I’ve been working on managing my stress because I don’t have an option not to.

Well, by the time November came I decided to stop pretending to get the halo over my head and take the entire month off.  It’s now December and I keep telling myself to get my act together.  The things that used to motivate me before doesn’t motivate me now.  I know that drive changes and usually I do my best to reshuffle my enthusiasm.  I’ve done all my usual tricks and brainwash mantras, and nothing is working.  Fuck!  This feels beyond me.

The good news is:  Now, my muscles want to be used.  There’s a craving.  When I walk, my core is contracting like yeah mama we’re back!  It’s such an interesting feeling.  I think my body may be calling out to me the last few days in a way where my mind is listening again.  I’m hoping to put a world of hurt on my body starting today to make up for lost time.  I plan on going hard and strong.  Maybe this will save me?

P.S.

I’m open to any suggestions anyone may have.

-Pennington

Under Constant Consideration


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I sit and prick my finger with the thinnest needle I’ve ever seen.  It feels as thin as a loose-leaf page between my fingers.  This needle reminds me of the first time I tried to grasp what was taking place on the table after I let the alcohol dry and stomach lbs of anxiety to push a simple white surrender button that has no problem piercing me at its own inorganic intention.  That bee-stinger reminds me of my family’s hang ups every time I glance over the medical history list and check off every sick inheritance.  It’s one more thing to put on the death record.  The son of a bitch needle reminds me of where my life has been and where it’s going.

I think about who I’m becoming?  I think about the coincidences that tie into another coincidence like a necklace and how I never believe much in coincidences or in necklaces that are meant to break with the purpose and strange intent to try and shake up my faith.  I believe in life’s orchestration and in every gift given by higher sources.  I think about my faith, motivation and temperament.  How much fight I have in me?  How to keep positive mantras by the altar of my heart and how to deal them out as needed, as well as how to go about feeding my spiritual backyard with water when it’s looking dry as a bone due to inner turmoil.

The small round dot of red reminds me of a ladybug.  I believe the ladybug is searching for answers life can’t always give while I’m still breathing, punching and kicking alive.  The ladybug is on a quest for numbers in low ranges and metabolic disorders to be of order.  I’m checking my blood sugar, but I call her ladybug because it verbally and visually sounds prettier than the faults I hold as a human.  The New Year brought me diabetes and I’m not sure how to feel about this progressive disease that had a lot to do with taking my mother’s life.

What does the bigger picture hold?

*

The surgeon says, “Are you aware diabetes further affects the ligaments.tendons in your foot and how your foot heals from surgery?”  I don’t take advice from anyone who butchers human bodies for a living because even though what they do for a living can be helpful, there’s something inhumane about cutting into human bodies.  Let alone, the discord for why surgeons lack brainpower, logic sense, human emotion and emotional intelligence.  I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve been in his cold office and every single time I’ve felt like I was touched and centered by a black-hole; the entire light of my thirty-something being vanish in a space where I was beginning to be invisible to myself.

Then there’s my primary doctor who’s younger than I and mentally more fucked than I am says it’s in the controlled phase, don’t worry so much she blurts carelessly.  Is she telling the 29 million Americans with diabetes not to worry too?  Yet in the same session casually mentions how her supervisor said you would be a good candidate for bypass surgery as if I resemble a hippopotamus of sort.  Anyone who hacks into human bodies for a living with a scalpel is god-awful fucking people.  No thank you I know how to lose weight on my own even though these gargoyles of depression won’t get off my shoulders and every painful step and every stretch of my Achilles heel is a partial reminder where the mess of my life went awry.

So I asked for a referral to see the endocrinologist, which took me a year plus to get because I didn’t become a candidate until the diabetes clock decided to tick its way in because a 40lb weight gain in a 2 year span doesn’t constitute as a person having a real problem other than depression or hatred in America.  So, do I consider the diabetes to be a blessing in disguise? Well, I certainly believe it came on time!

Now Dr. Endocrinologist doesn’t dish any hope at all, but he talked openly about his country, how poor he was as a kid and how he’d go hungry and learned the power of discipline through starvation unlike the Americans who have every convenience and option rolled out for them like a red carpet.  He went on to say I know I’ll get diabetes eventually because it’s hereditary, but I do my best to prevent it by not eating all the wonderful fatty and carby things I would love to eat now.  Then he wrapped up with a spiel of willpower and the difficulty most people have when it comes to willpower.  And I kept looking at him, like do you know who the fuck I am?  Then I realized no this is your first meeting and he talks like his because he doesn’t know me from a hole in the wall, so I don’t hold his appalling lecture personally.

He goes on to say 50% of your pancreas is shot and will never work the way it once did.  Then right away I felt like a dying tulip on the side of neglected roadkill sitting on the thought of my pancreas dying a whole ten years prior according to him.  The only thing I did agree with is the way his eyes lit up with sinful fire as he said, “What is wrong with your primary doctor?  It’s crazy for her to mention bypass surgery for 3 reasons: 1. That’s not a solution.  2.  Most people lose 50% of their weight the first year, but gain it ALL back because most people aren’t disciplined. 3.  You don’t even know the basics of endocrinology.

To be continued..

-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

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

Distorted Gauge


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Since February I’ve had a pattern of working out straight for 2 weeks (multiple workouts) and the next 2 weeks I’ll idly be standing by wishing hard on a star that I could unearth the motivation I require to make muscle gains and decrease body weight/bodyfat – as well as gaining that feeling of being normal again (after breaking my ankle) while increasing my sexiness also.

Fast-forward to May I made my debut in the gym 9 months later.  I thought being at my second home would give me all the motivation I needed – that being around the energy of like-minded folks would get my desire burning high.  But the truth is most of those folks in the gym wouldn’t know what it’s like to be me.  And currently speaking, I’m not sure what it’s fully like to be me anymore.  I’ve been transitioning into the unknown on a myriad trip.

Ever since I broke my ankle, my existence has changed.  Everything has become distorted, painful, effervescent, unique, spiritual or unidentified.  I still have complications, and I must obtain a second and third opinion from new surgeons, in order to gain some knowledge, so things are less unknown.

However, things have changed rapidly, and now I can set up back in the gym, but I’m intimidated simply by stepping on the elliptical machine, even though I force myself, so I don’t look like a scared cat in front of others.  Aside from the intimidation, I have constant shooting pains in my foot and they go upwards and I visualize these pains as shooting stars that go into the cosmos of my calves – and I wonder why I’m in a gym at all? And one glance at the chin up assisted machine and it looks like a skyscraper both mentally and physically – how am I to climb it without being frighten on the descending part for I can slip and break my ankle again?

I feel the anxiety of nerves freeze me in place in the center of the gym and I hope nobody notices my own little drama and sense of defeat.  I hope no one notices and this is why I cover myself with an overbearing hoodie to hide behind.  I’m overweight by my standards and I don’t know how I’m not myself anymore?  I am not the gym rat I used to know.  And should I be this gym obsessed person just because I’ve been one for over a decade?  Should I act as if nothing changed when everything changed in my life?  Or should I act as if everything changed as it did and proceed accordingly?

The next month I wrestled with doubling and tripling workouts in a single day at the gym despite my innermost disruptive sentiments.  I wanted to believe I can work through this by moving forward and forcing myself on these machines that used to be my favorite friends.  I do what common people do and bring guests with me so we can workout for the purpose of keeping accountable and motivated.  Well, I burned myself out in a month and a half.  I believe I did this subconsciously until the real answer tore from its denial system and decided to surface: I disliked going to the gym.

There are things I can’t do at the moment that I miss so much like Walking Lunges or Single Stiff-Legged Deadlifts. I can’t bend my foot in half without my arch giving way to a pain quite massive that I lose all hope in working out at all.  I don’t have the balance to stay on one foot for more than 20 seconds on a good day.  And I do focus on all the things I could do like push ups, shoulder presses, seated rows and such, but not even this keeps me motivated.  The next month in the middle of June I told all my guests I can no longer go to the gym 5-6 times a week which includes the multiple sessions in a day.  I’m breaking up with the gym for a little while.  I can probably go once or twice a week on the days where my mood is as bright as the sun.  I need a mental and physical breakthrough, and until this time comes I’ve changed gears.

Now I’m back at home with workouts.  I don’t have to hide from anyone, but myself (at times).  I feel freer and am creative with the dumbbells and barbell I have at home.  I pressure myself less on who I used to be since I’m not that person in and out the gym right now.  I have different goals, and one starts with the shape of my mentality.  Side notes consist of:  Taking turns doing multiple sessions in a single day from Wii Fit, fitness DVD’s and writing my own strength-training programs.  Home workouts seem to be more intense especially when mixed with less rest time.

One day I can go hard on my body, whether it is my Legs or Yoga, and the next day I have to pull back the reigns because the sour pain in my ankle won’t let up.  It all becomes about creating balance.  It all becomes about my preparation now for when I do go back to the gym with a body and mind-frame that would be better than even the person I used to know.  I’m a different person now, and this is a fact.  I have a different body now – another fact.  And what remains is that I’m just in the midst of trying to figure everything out in the meantime.

To be continued.. work in progress.

-Pennington

What Does Fitness Mean to You?


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Fitness is a big part of who I am. Regardless if I get some things right (training/mentality) and some things wrong (like nutrition or life’s hindrances) fitness is who I choose to be day in and day out. I understand fitness as work of continual progress. And because of this simple fact, fitness allows definite opportunities and rejuvenated methods to perpetually update the new you starting from the inside out or from the crown down. What is there not to love about that?

I see Fitness in everything I do from skipping the elevator and taking the stairs, to not having that second serving of pasta to practicing discipline when it matters most. Last year, and still to this day, it’s been a long journey for me. The old ways of motivation doesn’t work for me nowadays. I’m constantly battling against will, cautiousness and pain since my ankle isn’t 100% healed and I’m unclear if it’ll ever be. This will not stop me.

Fitness, time and time again has gotten me through many difficult moments from the death of relationships to anger management and iron therapy. And as long as I keep my head vibrant, my attitude with positive light, my heart full of grace, my training philosophy strong as a bull, and Gods intuition over my being — Fitness will never ever steer me wrong. I’m currently redefining every aspect of my life from love, friendships and spirituality to anything regarding fitness.

What does fitness mean to you? 🙂

-Pennington

A Real Gym


CaptainMarvel-SallyJaneThompson
I believe in the kinds of gyms that are supposed to be grungy-looking with a profound dungeon-feel.  The one that kick-starts your central nervous system by the dilation of the eyes as you enter it, where it’s fairly loud with metal clanking and comes across intimidating on various levels, where grunts run, no lunk alarms, along with sprinkled friendliness and ironhood, where the air is thick with the sweat and blood of like-minded individuals who come to the gym for assorted reasons but all remain for one in particular:  To obtain gains.

So those people who complain about stinky gyms, towels on the floors, weights never being racked, who are too busy staring at their cell-phones than glancing at their workout program, who become unfocused by the sheer silhouette of a man or woman, who don’t know a single difference between a front versus a back squat or grumble about how the gym isn’t pretty enough because it’s missing the state-of-the-art equipment make me, to be honest, want to vomit in their goddamn mouths.  FUCK THEM!

Look, I understand it’s all about the personality and the behavior and the perspective and the yada yada of a person.  But I always dreamt of going to the gym I recently signed up with, just shy of two weeks and where I started training at 2 days ago.  It’s a gym that’s successfully nerve-racking by Hammer Strength eye-popping jazzy blue machines that look like smaller versions of Transformers.  These transformers are all set at center stage of the gym itself, so no matter what spot you’re in you’re feeling the next guy’s super-buff energy entering your personal space.  You have a few choices:  Cancel your membership, get used to it, or get angry and join the crowd in raging fun!

I want to go into a gym and see freak of natures whether genetically natural or juiced up to resemble a King Kong god!  FUCK walking into a place where everyone knows your name.  I want to be in the gym where everyone knows you by your deadlifts, your escalating numbers, your awe-inspiring training partner and the muscular shadow on the wall.

And now I do!

I’m at a place where the owner knows everyone personally, where he came up to me after I finished a set, shook my hand and said, “If there’s anything you need or any problem you have, tell me and I’ll fix it” while asking about my injured shoulder because we were friends on Facebook before I became a gym member.  He actually took the time to get to know me and read my statuses as I took the time to learn about his gym and even promoted the Powerlifting Competition as a way of saying thank you.

I’m at a place where a naked woman could walk in the center of the gym like the whores in a boxing ring holding up cards of round numbers and the beasts of the gym wouldn’t flinch for shit.  They aren’t there for eye-candy.  It’s not only because there’s a handful of women around but because they’re there for serious gains.  I’m at a gym where men rock colorful tights and rock big bulges during their million snatch performances.

I’m at a place where I asked one of the lifters, “What’s your favorite body part to train?”  And he single-handedly states, “Squats.”  Favorite body part to train?  Well, we don’t think under these terms.  And I get it.  So, this lets me know I’m in the right place.  I’m among the like-minded individuals.

On the same day I chatted up one of the hardcore females at this new gym and she mentioned she takes Tae Kwon Do (in the vicinity), sparred with a guy, broke her finger and the master put it back into place like nothing.  Apparently, she took that shit like a champ! – where another woman at another gym club would have fucking sued!  I’m going to say only flaccid soft penises and soft pussies sue.  Unless of course the gym didn’t do anything to take care of you in every way possible, then they deserve to get sued.

Still I’m at a place where there’s camaraderie, it’s a respected community, whether young or old, big beer-belly or slim-twig.  We’re all are at a common ground.  Rather than dirty looks and gymtimidation, guys come up to me and out of the blue offer me chalk for my deadlifts.  One guy saw me taking off the first two 45lb plates with 6 more to go on a High-Iso Hammer Strength transformer machine.  Unexpectedly for me, he came by and said, “Let me help you” and he just took off the rest.

So I’m at a place where I need to get used to countless plates being on benches, Squat Racks and Hammer Strength machines but it’s okay because I feel I belong here.  I trained with as many plates as possible when I first started training back in 2003 and some people wonder why I’m strong.  *Sings* I started from the bottom now I’m here.  (I hate that fucking song!)  But maybe I need to train like how I used to in the beginning; stacking plates so I can maintain my motivation?

My current theme lately on this blog as you can see is how I’m lacking motivation.  So much so, I’ve been thinking about taking a hiatus for a few months away from the gym.  I’m still reflecting and speculating on the countless reasons as to why I may want to do this.  One of the biggest reasons why I thought about this break from the gym is because I’m tired of forcing myself into the gym for the past few months with zero motivation.

However, being in this new gym and training among a crew of cool powerlifters and bodybuilders, I’m starting to think I can turn this attitude over.  I can be motivated again because this is where I need to be and like the gym owner told me, “We need the gym even if it’s to keep hope alive.”

-Pennington

Motivation Absent


Big Apple Powerliftting Competition

It’s interesting how someone from the outside (generally those who don’t surpass their or your own limits) would consider I’m motivated, when in actuality I’m not.  I know countless workouts in a week or multiple training sessions at any given time of day or night would give a person the impression I’m motivated.  I hate to break some peoples heart, but I don’t remember the last time I had a super drive making me feel invincible.

What someone else perceives as easy for me, probably is, but only because I made it so.  For years, I didn’t devote time to cardio.  Now I do.  It only took bad roommates, hating my job, brainwashing myself on how the fitness professionals do it and whining excessively until I finally got to the gym to do my cardio five times a week (sometimes six).  Now I do it without bad roommates, with or without a job, devoid of brainwashing and endless whining.  I’m on auto-pilot.  There’s not a moment to question, I just depart blindly.  The only actual question that may come up is:  How intense am I going to make it this evening?  And do I need a cup of Joe?

Weight-lifting is of course my first love.  It provides me everything I need like comfort, stimulation, anger management and allows me to release any stress or sexual pent up energy I have building inside.  The dumbbells, barbells and cable machines are always there for me.  They never let me down.  They never reject or disrespect me.  They’re my home.  My happy place.  My everything!  But, when I’m lacking motivation, lifting weights can slightly feel like a drag.

These are moments where I’m overthinking reps, sets, what exercises to do and I put eleven through seventeen different exercises in front of myself just to further the demoralizing effect.  And even when my blood is sizzling, the sensation of the pump is growing and the hard steel is crushing my skin, there’s a feeling of lost drive.  I know what it’s like to be at my peak for fitness (conditionally speaking) or for motivation.  And, lately I just don’t have it.

This Saturday is a Powerlifting Competition which I’ve been invited to.  This will be my first time being in a Powerlifting Competition.  I’m not sure what to expect, except big weight, big tanks and perhaps even bigger growling.  I’m super excited and am trying to bring a small group of great online friends (who I’ve already met) with me!  On a side note:  I did flirt with the idea of being in the competition myself, regardless of the weight class (I’m sure I’d be heavyweight), but this would’ve involve buying gear and I bet I wouldn’t even know how the fuck to get into any of it.  Perhaps, next year?

With this competition coming tomorrow I’m hoping somewhat that being in this atmosphere and watching other people work tremendously at this event will be my ticket to gain and achieve the inspiration I need before winter came over and shook it’s naked trees of death on me.

-Pennington

Training Maturity


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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