Tag Archives: Weightlifter

Accommodating Self


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

P.S.

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

-Pennington

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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

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