Right when I was starting to get really excited about my next training block, I was struck with illness. It wasn’t anything too serious, just a mild flu, but it was enough to put a halt to any gym plans I had planned for the next few days. Like most neighborhood meatheads, when I can’t train… I think about my training. Training has been a large part of me for entirely too long and even if only for a few days, I can’t help but feel a bit incomplete without it. So again, here I sit thinking about my training, so very frustrated with the fact that I can’t currently partake in it. However, I also happily reflect on the fact that my first love is still consuming me as much as ever. Thinking about this weeks’ training turns into thinking about the good old years that have passed.
I think back to the version of me when I was in my infancy of it all, just a teen, and how I would miss notes in class because I was daydreaming of lifting. You know… back when it wasn’t my job and a whole stadium filled with people weren’t watching me compete (or tuning in to watch). It was just a game played alone and the primary purpose was to have fun. Now before I start hearing moans condemning me for letting such a simple task as lifting weights have so control over the way I think; I would like to make it clear that this is not nearly the case. My happiness portfolio is pretty diversified and opening up such topics are what self-aware individuals do. I did a similar thing the other day with a subject much too trivial to admit on here. If I were to admit it, then the cat would be out that I am quite the over-analyzer at times.
Upon jumbling all my thoughts about what lifting weights is to me now, as opposed to 10 years ago, I am able to shed some light on it all. My question to myself is: What was I doing better in the past than I am currently doing now? Outside of my current views on training (I assure you they are much better now) a big part of me realizes that I was having so much more fun before. The title of one of my favorite books hits me “Working in the Dark” by Jimmy Santiago Baca. While his story is way more inspirational than my own, I can’t help but think about that title. It resonates with me so strongly because that is what my first years of training felt like. It wasn’t cool to lift weight nor eat numerous protein feedings a day, but that was part of why I loved it. I’m a closet introvert at heart, but my mind is just as adaptable as my skeletal muscle. I am no longer “working in the dark” but, as the old cliché saying goes, “it’s not about what happens to you in life, but how you react to it.” I’ve come to terms with the fact that it will never be like it was in the beginning of my lifting career again.
Perhaps I am overly romanticizing my former years, and I can assure you that I do this as much as the next person. One of my favorite memories is hitting some “heavy” incline DB Presses (85’s lol) when I was 16 years old while Christina Aguilera’s song about bad sex and genies was playing. Today, I find this song arousing, but something tells me that didn’t find it nearly as great back in 1999. I assure you I am going somewhere with this, but it might be too much for this single blog entry. Point is I need to find a way to keep it as fun as I did a long time ago. Of course working in private is no longer an option, and it’s not something I actually even think about. This sport has contributed too much to my life for me to not to put myself out there to help elevate it as much as I can for the next generation. I’m sure that at this point the vast majority of you have come to realize that this post is indeed about social media and how regardless of who you are, its existence has surely affected your life in some way. The perspective you often hear is that on the consumer end, social media is misleading, narcissistic, and can give people a false sense of connection.
But what about the perspective from the producer end? I’m coming to see some of the downsides of social media being someone in the spotlight. This is what can often take away from my training and all the joy that it brought to me when it was “just me.” Make no mistake, I am severely grateful for the opportunity to be an ambassador for what the human body can be pushed to do naturally, but I haven’t learned to balance it all by making this leg of the journey as personably enjoyable as it can be. I’ll wrap this up in the next blog post, but for now I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes.
“To be a Queen and wear a crown is a thing more glorious to them that see it than it is pleasant to them that bear it …” ER