[One of these days I’m going to get around to writing the About page for this blog, but I figure this entry can stand in for that? Give me a break, I’ve been busy.]
Did you see how I successfully imbedded that youtube video into my blog??? 1 R LEET HAXXORZZZZ
When you spend what a lot of people would probably classify as “too much time” in the gym, you eventually have to answer the question: What’s the point of all this? Getting big muscles and lifting heavy ass weight–is it really worth it?
- The injured joints
- The soreness
- The time spent rehabbing
- The dieting
- The time at the gym (can be like a part-time job)
- The post-legs-day cripplings
- The ill-fitting clothes
- The self-doubt
- The pants-shitting terror that you’re going to get injured without health insurance and eventually buckle under crippling hospital debt
- The worry that at 34 you’re already too old to seriously compete
This is paired by the added concern: “You’re lifting strongman, so you’re probably not going to be “the shredded guy” at the beach, so what’s the point if you’re not doing it for chicks? I can understand chicks. What the hell bro? Seriously. What the hell?”
Also: “What are you? Some kind of narcissistic douchebag who is so full of himself that he thinks he can be the dude lifting crazy heavy weight. You really want to be the strongest guy in the room?”
And maybe, if you’re being mean: “Mid-life crisis already bro? C’mon.”
I have a couple of counters to all this stuff:
1./ It’s nice to feel like I’m in control of my life again. Lifting, especially for strongman, is something I understand and can control. I set goals for myself over a 4-8 week period, and I either hit those goals and celebrate, or I don’t and I have to regroup and put together a new plan. Last year at the end of the summer, my goals were to bench 315, squat 405, deadlift 500, and overhead press 225 by Christmas, and I hit all those goals except deadlift, which took me until February. That felt good. And feeling good is hard to come by these days.
2./ It’s fun being the jacked guy when you walk into a room. Yes, that’s vain as all get out, but again, for reasons I don’t want to get into just yet, that feeling has also been hard to come by. As I’m slowly scraping my life back together, it feels nice to have concrete goals that I can fumble and screw up and recover and press on. Like with my shoulder right now–sure, it’s frustrating that I’m just now getting my full flexibility back, but I know it’ll return sooner or later, and then it won’t even be a bad memory–it’ll just be a thing that happened to me one time.
3./ The memes. Lifting memes are the shit. My featured image is from gymmemesofficial and it’s seriously hilarious. A lot of the humor is pun-based, and puns are just delightful.
4./ The food. Lifting heavy-ass weight means you can eat and eat and eat and it doesn’t really matter much. That’s just spectacular, especially when you’re a trained chef and have the ability to make everything taste good.
5./ Striations. If you don’t get a little bit of a boner the first time you notice yourself getting striations during a lift, head to the hospital. I’m pretty sure you’re dead.
6./ Increased energy and overall better sense of health. I know with all the bitching I’ve been doing about my shoulder, you think this is nonsense, but I do feel much healthier since I started training last year. It’s super awesome, and I highly recommend you try it.
7./ An excuse to listen to music. If you’re at the gym without your earbuds or headphones, you’re not doing it right. Log into their wifi and get into Pandora or youtube or whatever. It’s pretty sweet.
8./ It’s World of Warcraft, but it makes you sexier. One of the reasons I used to enjoy WoW was because you interact socially with people (over the internet anyway) and you do a thing long enough that you slowly get better at it over time until eventually you become a badass. But with lifting, the social interaction is in person, the badassitude is more legit, and you slowly become more attractive. It’s still grinding at something difficult just to watch a bunch of numbers slowly rise though, so it holds that “easily quantifiable progress” that I really enjoyed from MMORPGs, but instead of getting translucent skin and diabetes, I get a bigger butt, shoulders, and chest and slimmer waist.
9./ It’s fun. This is the most important bit, and it outshines everything else on the list. Fitness should be fun. If you don’t like lifting, try running, or yoga, or zumba, or whatever else until you find something you really enjoy doing, and then do that as much as you like. For me, strongman is like a puzzle where you try to figure out a way to get your body to do something it never could before. I don’t understand running because it makes me miserable, but I do understand people who love it. Do what you love until it gives you what you want–a fun hobby, a better body, a healthier heart, or whatever. Keep after that until you’re awesome at it!
So ultimately, to answer the question “What is the point?” I would argue that it’s higher quality of life embracing a hobby I enjoy in order to do something that sets me apart from a lot of people while making me feel better all around. I’d take all that in exchange for crippling leg pain after Tuesdays and Saturdays.
Plus, my shoulders are starting to get pretty big, and that’s awesome.
- Bench: 350
- Squat: 450
- Deadlift: 515
- Overhead Press: 275
- Incline Bench: 315