I can recall two other times in my life where I’ve made a conscious effort to gain strength. This was 1) when I had lost my dad to pancreatic cancer, and the other was 2) when I struggled to find adequate respect for my body and myself.
To be honest, it’s hard to go into the details as to why I struggled with these and how much I really struggled to recuperate from these dark times; they’re very deep-rooted, personal stories that remain in my heart, and quite frankly, I don’t think these are two “chapters” of my life I’m just quite ready to share on the interwebs. So… fast-forward!
This is the 3rd time in my life that I’m making the conscious effort to gain strength. I’m in a much better place than where I was. After nearly a decade, I’ve also found peace with the loss of my dad.
Now, I look to gain strength in areas that are more obvious: weightlifting, metabolic conditioning, and not as obvious: a leader, and in a the non-traditional sense, a teacher.. in a different arena. 🙂
As my days shift from non-stop hustle & bustle, to a self-made, slower-moving schedule, I’m realizing there is SO MUCH TO GAIN when you can focus in on just a few major things you want to improve on.
I’ve dreampt, written, mapped out on charts and talked my head off about some things I want to accomplish within the next year, or the next three–and at the same time, there are some things I’ve kept solely to my self.
Either way, I’ve established this outlook on life that every scenario, every hour of every day, is simply another opportunity to be better than the last time. Another chance at getting stronger… than last time.
For these past few weeks, it’s been approaching high-volume set deadlifts. This time last year, when we were expected to do 3-4 sets of 10-15 deadlifts at 185, I sighed with disappointment in myself and scaled to 105 or 125 accordingly due to a strained, bummed out lower back/weak posterior chain. While you might argue that was the smart thing to do, I felt nothing but defeat–I felt like I was back in those dark days. Say it’s dramatic–but the disappointment and frustration was so f*cking real.
Today, after building a stronger posterior chain over the last year, NOT only through deadlifts (though they have been pushing me to my limits this month), but through a variety of programmed exercises and accessory training, I walked up to that prescribed weight of 185 to complete a max set at 24 reps. WHAT. Yeah, as much as my hamstrings and lungs were feeling like they were about to blow out (it’s a “max” so it’s supposed to feel this way), I felt. strong.
I can’t wait for more days of proving to myself that I am STRONGer. It’s not just the test or task itself, but all the time spent and work put in leading up to it is what made this all that more rewarding.
Less is best sometimes.
THIS. has literally been something I’m most thankful for lately–accepting and understanding that more isn’t always better. We don’t always get stronger or better by doing MORE. Sometimes we just have to take time to explore a little bit or step back, take on less, and then focus–REALLY focus and work REALLY hard, for what might be a REALLY long time–on a few things that we can be great at (one day).
More to come on “the road to strong”