Finding Inner Peace

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I find inner peace in a few areas in my life. First, is in my personal faith. I am a bit coarse, salty in language and have a really dark sense of humor. But at the end of the day, I have an inner peace which comes from being saved by the blood and loving grace of Christ. I might have some “splaining” to do one day at the Pearly Gates, but I am not afraid of my admission being rejected. And next I find peace in my job as a trucker and also in the weight room while pushing iron.

Trucking allows my mind the time required to examine life’s events and it allows me to systematically prioritize what is important and what is not. Weight training releases dopamine stores much like getting a runners high. This high allows me to get re-centered mentally. It allows me to sort the nutritional wheat from the worhtless chaff. To discard all the superfluous bullshit that comes with daily living. This all helps me to keep my world small in order to simplify and prioritize the people I allow to influence me in either a positive or negative manner. I have no problem in shutting out negative types who only exist it seems in order to drag others down the drain. Being around some folks is like jumping into a barrel of crabs in that the harder you try to crawl back out, the harder they fucking try to pull you back down. You know the type, the ones who will always be the lowest common denominator of the crowd. The ones who never take personal responsibility for their own lives yet seem to think they are miserable because someone else might have done well for themselves. I do not suffer fools in my inner circle for any reason. And if that is elitist to the views of some, that is fine, as anyone who considers this way of keeping inner peace as elitist are likely a part of the lowest common denominator crowd anyhow.

I love being on the road in my semi. I have the best office view of anyone I know, with the exception of other truckers. I see beautiful sights, and the one thing that some hate about trucking, I embrace. I embrace the solitude of the road where I have no one bothering me. I can take in the beauty of nature, listen to what ever I want on the radio and I rarely even speak to my boss. I have no one breathing down my neck or looking over my shoulder, ever. I report to my home terminal about eleven pm every night and begin a quick pre-trip inspection of my rig. I kick the tires and inspect their tread depth and general condition. I look over all the fluid levels to ensure I am not low on oil or coolant, while also ensuring my fan belts are in good condition and tight. I look over the condition of the truck and ensure my trailers king pin is securely locked into the fifth wheel and all my lights and signals are in good working order before going in to retrieve my bill of lading.

Once I have my bill of lading in hand and down loaded to my scanner, I jump back into my rig and make any final adjustments to my seat height, mirrors, tilt of the steering wheel etc. I tune in to some good tunes on the radio, push in my clutch and slip the shifter from neutral into first gear and release my clutch where I feel the five hundred horsepower and nineteen hundred pounds of torque engaging my drive train as I pull away from the loading dock for a nine hundred and fifty mile trip. If I have a heavy load, I will stop down the street from my terminal at the truck stop and weigh my rig on their scales in order to check if my weights are legal over all for the truck, and that no axle weights have been exceeded. Over weight on an axle carries the same penalty of the truck being over weight which is one hundred dollars per one thousand pounds over your limits which is set by federal law at eighty thousand pounds for the truck, thirty three thousand on your drive tires and the trailers tandems, leaving twelve thousand pounds for your steer axles. Generally, if the truck is under its max and you are over on an axle, you can adjust your axle and or fifth wheel placement in order to bring everything into legal tolerance.

After a quick weigh in and axle adjustment if necessary, I once again place that big rig into gear and head out onto the interstate where I begin jamming through the thirteen speeds of my Eaton Fuller transmission. Listening to the engine rev and knowing by sound exactly where to slip into the next higher gear by floating gears, or, simply just using the engines rpms in order to smoothly shift without using the clutch. You do this in heavy trucks in order to not cause unnecessary wear and tear on the clutch as shifting a semi is really nothing like shifting a manual in your car. If a driver does not know how to double clutch, he will cause damage to the clutch brake which is a costly and time consuming repair. Clutching other than coming to a stop is really not necessary with today’s synchronized transmissions.

Accelerating onto the highway, I am floating through gears at about fifteen hundred rpms on the tachometer every shift, although I never look at it as I am completely in tune with the sounds of my rig. Running through gears one through four and then splitting the rest until I reach the thirteenth and settle into a seventy five mile per hour cruising speed until my first stop in central Kansas where I usually unload about twenty thousand pounds of my freight. I deliver construction and industrial supplies which is a very physical job, but I love it. I would much rather handle freight deliveries on my own over doing drop and hook runs where you remain sitting behind the steering wheel up to eight hours at a time except for bathroom stops. One of the problems we have where I work is there are so man drivers who are just lazy ass pussies who seem afraid to do manual labor of any kind. Meanwhile, I see it as a source of exercise and as being good for the body as sitting behind the wheel for hours on end can lead to deep vein thrombosis in your legs. And if you like to eat junk food while out on the road, will lead you into just being another fat ass trucker which is going to soon be a thing of the past. Each year it gets more difficult to pass the Department of Transportation’s physicals. Health issues that might have seemed minor a few years ago are now becoming disqualifying for drivers. Therefore, I only take pre-measured and healthy foods on the road with me. I never stop and get garbage food from truck stops for any reason. It seems no matter which one you enter, the coffee is right next to hundreds of high fat, high preservative, high sugar shit that I refuse to eat. Donuts, chios and roller dogs to name a few. I will soon be fifty five and will not jeopardize my career for a temporary pleasure sensation in my mouth. It is not worth it to me for any reason.

Having had multiple health issues in my home, I take time while on the road to consider my life choices and how they affect me. I already know that cheap, sugar filled meals are actually going to cost me more in the long run as a result of weight gain and the health issues which come from being obese. During long runs, I have the opportunity to, and do, listen to different pod casts which deal with nutrition, diet trends and exercise. When my co-driver is behind the wheel, I take the time to also read up on these subjects in order that everything I do in regards to my health and wellness has been well studied and thought out. For instance, I did not jump right into a high protein low carbohydrate diet with intermittent fasting until I had researched and studied all aspects of the negative and positive impacts this could potentially have on my health. I know there are some health risks assigned to eating high volumes of protein, and I also know exactly how to mitigate any of those risks. I study, plan and then execute everything I do with tremendous forethought. I jump into nothing half assed and ensure that no matter what I read on health subjects that I am pragmatic in reading multiple view points before making a decision in how to proceed. And it is not just in diet that I do this, it is with my weight training too.

Tomorrow, I will be starting the next phase of a brutally intense powerlifting program put together by a Ukrainian Olympic coach, Boris Sheiko. This program is specifically designed to get power lifters ready for competition and is one of the most effective programs I have ever used back in my biggest and strongest days of lifting. I have no plans to compete right now, but this program builds functional strength in a most effective way which is something I require on my job when unloading freight. Functional strength being built most efficiently is in my opinion far superior to any other weight training style as is is the most beneficial to the individual.

I will always try to steer a new lifter towards the full body workouts involved in power lifting. Please do not let that term dissuade you as it is just a name for a competitive style of lifting for total functional strength by testing the dead lift, squat and bench press. The reason I steer new lifters towards this style over body building styles where you work on single muscle groups with different lifts, is I firmly believe that for most, it is a waste of their time and is not efficient even if some folks do great in spite of themselves. If you are fat and get into lifting, odds are that you want to build muscle and slim down. I have never heard any new lifter say anything to the contrary except for skinny guys wanting to bulk up. But that bulk is desired to come from lean muscle and not fat. When you run a program based on these main lifts along with bent over barbell rows, and over head press, you are making the best use of your time in the gym or your personal weight room. These lifts are compound lifts which will target multiple muscle groups simultaneously, and will also get your heart rate up. A lot of people do not realize that a well executed power lifting program is also an excellent source of cardiovascular exercise. Once you get to heavy enough weights, you will have to sometimes wait a minute or two for your heart rate to go back down in order to be able to begin your next set. Do this style of lifting for an hour and not only are you going to gain functional strength, you will also burn body fat and you will begin to actually look strong as your strength increases. Dead lifts and squats are the King and Queen of all lifts as they work your entire body. The Bench Press works your upper body, you chest arms, deltoids and lats, while Bent Over Barbell Rows work your upper back and Over Head Press will also work you upper body by hitting your arms, deltoids, chest and lats. They will also work your core stabilizer muscles in order to slim and firm you mid section. This is the best way to go for any new lifter unless there is a physical reason to keep them from doing so.

The Body Building style is a waste of time and effort for most new lifters with the only caveat being that it beats doing nothing. But, the reality is new lifters will usually fail to achieve their goals with this style, not because of lack of effort, but because they do not know what it is they do not know about weight training. First, if you are only targeting one muscle group at a time doing endless curls, you are going to end up with a muscular imbalance which not only looks like shit, but can cause problems when the opposite mirror muscle is weaker. What I mean is you have pushing and pulling muscles which need to be in sync with the other in strength as one can hurt the other when there is a great strength imbalance. Then, by targeting only a single muscle at a time, you may feel the need to attack it from another angle and then another before moving on to the next lift. This can cause you spend more hours in the gym than needed, which becomes an issue if you have an already busy life outside of the gym. Another big issue to me is that by doing these isolation exercises, you are likely to not be raising your heart rate much, so your fat burning results are going to be much less than they would be from doing compound lifts. If you give a damn about losing fat while toning, this should be important. I liken it to considering house work to be exercise. I’m not so sure I can wrap my mind around anything which does not elevate the heart rate as being exercise.

Body building has it’s place and I do not want to entirely knock it. However, I feel that for the new lifter that is not knowledgeable of strength training and physiology, body building styles is a waste of your time and efforts when you could be simplifying your routines and hitting every muscle group while also burning more fat while doing so. A good example where you can learn this for yourself is to put some weight on a barbell and first do a few bent over barbell rows after doing a few dumbbell curls. With the row, you are going to exert more effort while working your biceps, deltoids and lat muscles which will cause your heart rate to elevate to burn fat in a way which curls are not going to do for you. Then you can compare how your arms feel and determine which lift made your biceps feel more worked. Then you can load up a barbell and do a few squats or dead lifts in order to feel how much they worked your entire body. I promise, this is the most efficient use of your time if you are a new lifter. The biggest issue though which you need to keep in mind is that with compound lifting, you have to be more mindful of our rest and nutrition than you do with body building styles as there is so much more energy expended in power lifting. Rest and nutrition are as equally important to this life style as the actual lifting of the barbell itself. Where as, you can always enter a gym and curl the hell out of a light ass dumbbell. The choice is yours to make in how you want to proceed.

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4 thoughts on “Finding Inner Peace

  1. Great Post David!
    I’m planning on getting back to lifting.
    Keep on trucking and I’ll keep reading for more on the gym !

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