I am writing about my Journey into the Iron. I will also write a second part to “Iron Maiden” that will elaborate on the multitude of changes that the Iron has wrought in my life.
I had always been drawn to the Iron. I had no idea about the vast changes it would bring but I was drawn, or maybe it was drawn to me, like light is drawn to darkness…flooding in, changing the very nature of that darkness into something totally different…Light…permeating every corner, every nook and cranny until all that remains is Light.
I had followed David for five months when I began to know that I had to fix my life. David is the happiest person that I know and he has encountered great pain and hardship. While I had my share of problems, they paled in comparison to many things that he has lived. I fiercely fought to discover the source of his strength. I knew that he was a strength trainer but little did I know, that this lifestyle was one of the sources of the qualities that I admired, and so desperately desired.
I asked his advice and he told me to get a kettlebell. I got a great one from Dick’s that would hold 50#. I downloaded an app and began swinging that bell! It worked me pretty hard. A kettlebell is a good workout, especially if you’re new to strength training. I carved out niches of time in an impossible schedule and never missed my workout. I worked hard and David advised me concerning form and intensity. I was beginning to see results when I asked David if there was anything more that I could do, maybe get a barbell? As soon as I asked, BAM! He asked if I was serious. I knew that I’d better be at this point. While he is very kind, he had told me when I first began training that I had to train hard and do my best or he wouldn’t fool with me. It’s serious business for him. He doesn’t have time to waste.
I went to Dick’s, again, and bought a 135# weight set complete with barbell. As soon as I told David, he told me that soon I would have to buy more weight. I believed him in spite of my weak 35# squat at that time.
I was doing the “Starting Strength” program three times per week. I didn’t have a squat rack yet and I was stacking totes to support my barbell. One night while I was tearing that down moving to a floor press because I didn’t have a bench either, my phone announced “Seek shelter immediately!”. Mind you that this was not a weather app. The best I can ascertain is that it was google. The local weather station that hosted my app was on television saying that there was nothing on the radar of concern. I stopped tearing down my “rack” and went upstairs from my dungeon. Everyone upstairs said that everything was okay. My phone said it again, “Seek shelter immediately!”. I hustled my son and my dogs into a makeshift storm shelter underneath the stairs in the dungeon and we huddled there in the semi-darkness as three tornadoes destroyed our house around us. We heard each hit. We heard the metal twisting off of the roof. We knew that our lives would never be the same again as we sat stunned, praying through the few minutes that seemed like a lifetime.
As soon as we were relocated to a motel from the wreckage that was once our home, I returned to ground zero to retrieve one thing, my Iron. It was all there. I loaded it into my car as a family member tried to take it to another location “for a while”. Know this. When you begin to get strong, there are people who won’t like it. You will be harder to manipulate because as the Iron changes your outside, greater changes are taking place inside your heart and mind. David had told me that this would happen but until you experience the validation of the Iron, there is no way that anyone can fully clarify this to you. You are vindicated. You are affirmed. You are made whole within yourself, knowing your strength, knowing your weaknesses and no person can alter what you know to be true. The Iron Never Lies, (Henry Rollins). The Iron has become your measure, your scale, your only resistance.
I continued my training for weeks in the motel room, again stacking totes to make a rack, floor pressing because I had no bench. When we moved into a leased house I bought a rack and a bench and set it up in the middle of my living room, yes I did! This is the focus of my life, so much more important than almost anything else because without it I will be weak and unfocused and ineffective in all other areas. It deserved center stage in my home. I gradually built that weak 35# squat to about 115# in that living room and suddenly my form began to deteriorate. My legs began to shake. I began losing depth. I was bending way too far forward.
David told me that I needed to be on a hard floor instead of the carpet in my living room so I moved into my basement, my dungeon, onto concrete. Still, I was wobbly. David reduced my weight. I was really bothered by this change in my strength and always more than willing to comply with what my trainer said. He told me to get training shoes. I did. He had told me that before but I dawdled. Things were getting better but I was still shallow. Right after I moved into this lease house, David had me to build some sawhorse supports for my squat. I had never built anything! I went to Lowe’s and had lumber cut, bought nails and went at it. The sawhorses would take the Iron if I ever had to get out from under it, to “bail”. I had to bail a couple of times. I knew that the sawhorses would take the weight but they were weakened by the times that I had to use them and David had me rebuild them so that I would feel more secure in my squat. We both believed that some of the problems that I was having were caused from a mental block caused by fear of the Iron. I had to overcome fear in the beginning and after feeling the weight of 115# hoisted on my back, pushing me into the ground, knowing that I might have to bail, I really needed to be able to trust those horses!
About that time David noticed that my feet were not angled properly during my squat. He had instructed me on how to stand but since we work by video, my feet are not always obvious. He told me to angle my feet, again. All of a sudden, the trust in my horses, the hard floor, my Niki Trainers and that beautiful angle on my feet changed everything! I quit shaking. I was regaining stability! But…during all of this I had lost my depth. David changed my program to Mad Cow and oh boy! My depth returned.
About this time, I maxed out my weight set at a 135# deadlift and had to buy more weight! The day that I bought the set, David told me that I would have to buy more weight in the not too distant future. It seemed surreal but he is always right. I never doubted him. The day that I walked into Dick’s and bought those extra plates was one of the happiest days of my life.
The Iron teaches compliance. The Iron teaches loyalty. It teaches diligence and dedication. It gives me a confidence that is unparalleled as I move through my days. It has been quite an adventure becoming one with the Iron and I will never go back. It is my greatest natural asset and the only standard by which I measure myself because as Henry Rollins so eloquently stated, “200# will always be 200#”. If you would like to understand the heart of power lifting, I encourage you to read this essay, “Iron and The Soul” by Henry Rollins. David had me do that a long time ago. It will teach you. ;-*