Every time that 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 strength training. 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.” I simply must keep going.
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. Then I wanted to keep going to add shapely muscle. I wanted to be strong and look like it. That first goal of “Lose 20 pounds.” (David), was achieved 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, or the strength, that I wanted. 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. Hours, days, weeks and months will pass in blood, sweat and tears, but you keep going. It will be hard. You will want to quit and you will feel inept. You will also feel like the King/Queen of the World. As you are becoming formidable, you will realize that it truly is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. Your confidence will soar as you realize that the same effort that raises you from a heavy squat will get you through anything that life throws at you. Nothing is any harder than that squat. When you refuse to stop, you will realize that can’t go back. Then you will know that you are a Winner.
As the Iron begins to change your outside, it is also changing your inside. 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. As you keep going, the power that you thrust into getting that deadlift to move will also move problems on your job and in your personal life. “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, you will realize that you are in control of almost everything in your life. You will learn to control your reactions and become proactive instead. 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 am constantly looking for flaws in my form. 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 avoid it. I question the intellect of someone who readily accepts injury as a normal part of their fitness regimen. Healthy living should avoid injury, not run towards it. As I keep going and work on my form, I gradually buy equipment 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 struggled to perfect my deadlift, David realized that my valsalva, a breathing maneuver used to increase power during lifting, was not right. Although I knew what to do, I was losing focus and tightness throughout my body. That was allowing a curve in my lower back. It had to be corrected. I had been using a velcro closure lifting belt that stretched a little. That can contribute to lost tightness, so David advised me to get a latch belt. That latch belt is amazing! It has helped me so much. I also started using a hex bar for my deadlift and it makes the lift more ergonomically correct and easier to execute properly. I had been lifting for about a year and a half when I made these changes. 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, turns and detours. 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 ways to get 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. Whatever exercise you and your doctor choose, get accustomed to doing it 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.
Always consult your medical doctor before beginning any exercise program.