Every time that most adults begin a weight management program, the first question in our minds and quite often out of our mouths, is “How long will it take?” I was naive enough to ask David this question when I first began lifting heavy. Not wanting to discourage me, he didn’t give me a direct answer immediately. As time unfolded I began to understand the answer that he finally gave, “The rest of your life.”
In programs where I just wanted to lose X number of pounds, I could safely estimate how long it would take. When I began David’s Way however, everything changed. I was losing pounds but I was also gaining lean muscle. When I achieved a specific number of pounds lost, my goals changed. Now I wanted to add shapely muscle. I wanted to be strong and look like it. That first goal of “Lose 20 pounds.” (David), was met quickly with Intermittent Fasting but that was only the beginning. I had achieved a quick loss of pounds but was nowhere near the type of body that I wanted or the strength. It was necessary to press on. I wasn’t there yet.
There are sessions of weight training that are long and arduous. There may be moments that surprise you with a gain in strength that you didn’t expect at that moment in time, but for the most part, hours, days, weeks and months will pass in blood, sweat and tears or what seems like it anyway. It will be hard. You will want to quit. You will feel inept. You will also feel like the King/Queen of the World. You become formidable. It is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Your confidence will soar as you realize that the same will that raises you from a heavy squat will get you through anything that life throws at you because nothing is any harder than that squat. You will refuse to let go. You can’t go back. You are a Winner.
As the Iron begins to change your outside, it is changing your inside to. The deltoids in your shoulders/upper arms that were not there before exemplify the confidence and determination that is building inside your mind and heart. The power that you thrust into getting that deadlift to move will move you to conquer the “little foxes that spoil the vine” on your job. “There’s always something.” (Gilda Radner) that has the potential to ruin your day or your entire life if you allow it. When you realize that you are in control of that barbell that is a true beast, you will realize that you are in control of almost everything in your life by controlling your reaction to those things. We call that being proactive instead of reactive. Take control of things in your life just like you take control of that bar and you will increase your strength in all areas.
As I move along in my program, I constantly look for flaws in my form because I have high goals for myself and form is everything. With good form I will be able to lift more, longer, stronger and hopefully injury free. I do everything in my power to avoid injury. When I see evidence that a specific program or lift is known to cause injury, I know that is what I don’t want to do. I question the intellect of someone who readily accepts injury as a normal part of their fitness regimen. Healthy living should avoid injury, never running towards it. As I continually work on my form, I gradually buy equipment and accessories along the way to help me with that. My best idea as of today was my power rack that gives me a place to dump the weights safely if they get too heavy or if something goes wrong. So far the only injury has been to a cell phone, may it rest in peace. Word to the wise, if you are using a standard bar with locks, use them…every time. One of the greatest things about my Olympic bar is that I don’t have to use locks. These are things that you learn as you go deeper. I never thought that I would use “one of those big ole’ bars”, (an Olympic bar that weighs 45 pounds and is 7.2 feet long) but now I can’t imagine lifting any other way. Occasionally for a light lift, I’ll use my standard bar. I can’t wait to get back to the big ole’ bar. I love my Olympic bar. It means that I’m a badass who has worked hard to get to where I am and that bar can take me anywhere that I want to go.
Do It Again
As I struggle to perfect my deadlift, David has realized that my valsalva, a breathing maneuver used to increase power during lifting, may not be right. He was right. Although I knew what to do, I was losing focus and losing tightness throughout my body during my deadlift which was allowing a bit of a curve in my spine. This can’t be. It has to be corrected. I have been using a velcro closure lifting belt that will stretch a little. That can contribute to lost tightness so David advised me to get a latch belt, which I have ordered. I have also ordered a hex bar, which allows you to stand straighter during your lift. I have been lifting for about a year and a half and have just done these things. In lifting as in other areas of life, we are ever learning and ever correcting.
No, We Are Not There Yet.
We will have many twists and turns and detours and as long as we keep giving it our best effort our lives, and our lifts, will improve. We will not just magically “arrive” one day and be at the end of our destination. David says that “We don’t own our present level of fitness. We are only paying rent.” This means that we must continually search for better ways to do and be better at what we do. If we quit working at it, we will lose our fitness. When I finally got that answer, “The rest of your life.” in answer to “How long will it take?” I was already beginning to understand. The more you fix in your body and in your life, the more you find to fix. In order to be our best selves, we must continue down this path indefinitely. Anything else is falling short of our full potential. Come on. Stretch yourself. Get accustomed to doing and being your best. Work at it. Strive for it. Never quit. Always endure. You are all you’ve got so make yourself excellent in all ways. It will not be easy but it will be worth it. Just get up and go again.