Why do I train? I do not compete in powerlifting, though it is something I would like to do sometime down the line. I cannot say honestly it is for my health-the amount of stress it puts on my body between the lifts and the body composition cannot be the best thing ever. Besides, if you are like most people, you judge people on how fast they run or how many pull ups can do or how define their six pack is. I have not run a mile in many years, I can only do 4 to 5 pull ups (working on that measly number) and I certainly do not have a six pack. So the question is: why do I subject myself to this training.
To give you some background I started lifting in a commercial gym when I was in middle school-it was required for my PE credits. Most of the time was spent on machines, but my father taught me how to squat. When I got to high school I started using free weights for football conditioning; I took to it like a fish to water. Then In my senior year, I tore my ACL-I did not seriously squat for nearly five years after for fear of reinjuring my knee. For the three year out of high school, I lifted off and on, but nothing consistent. During my last semester at junior college, I started circuit weight training. It reminded me how much I liked to push myself moving weights, but it was only machines.
When I moved to Santa Cruz, I bought my own gym membership. I would start lifting, then get “too busy” with work and social events. I did not make much improvement in strength. At this point I still did not know how to properly bench press or overhead press, I just thought I had horrible genetics for building upper body strength and size. I did not keep track of my lifts- just went in and tried not to be embarrassed-my only saving grace was that had a job that that kept me moving and involved heavy lifting, so I was not completely inept. The biggest thing that happened during this time was that I started to squat again
I spent two years in Santa Cruz and then move to the Fresno area. Soon after I arrived I had a relationship end and needed a way process and vent my emotions. So I started lifting four to five times a week. I started keeping a journal. I started watching videos on bodybuilding and technique. It was here that I started to actually train-to keep track of my lifts and being conscience of my food intake. I trained like a bodybuilder for a few months-but I got bored with that training and I longed to feel strong again. Hence me reading deeply into powerlifting and starting to move heavy weights-it just felt right. I learned how to breath properly and how to properly brace myself for benching. I was no longer trying to lift to look pretty, I was getting noticed for moving heavy weights and be confident in my body, knowing what it is capable of, not if it looks necessarily attractive. But I was really alone-nobody really trained with me, I was just me against myself and for myself. The biggest thing here was that I had the time and took that time to train.
This last year, I went back to school, at the young age of 24. I gained access to the best equipped, but crowded weight room, since high school. I was surrounded young people who were their because they wanted something-bigger arms, lifts, or overall fitness. I was great My lifts progression slowed down, the PRs were farther and fewer between-but they were still coming and I stayed injury free. I made it a priority to get into the gym to train-I would plan my obligations around my training, take a break from homework to train. I did not use social life or school as an excuse to get out of training.
This summer has been much more different than I expected it to be. I had planned to work only 25-30 hours, have an easy summer class, and have time and energy to pursue my hobbies. Things never work out as planned-I am working 30-40 hours, the class had a bunch of reading, and I took of fishing. None the less, I have not let this things get in the way of my training. I am lifting 4 or 5 time a week. I am still making small improvements to my strength. I am learning how to prioritize the lifts I do- No longer am I doing 5-10 different movements a workout. It is a top of 4 movements.
I like what training has done. I has given me confidence in my body image. I like the fact that it has caused me to do a lot of reading and analyze different schools of thought. It has taught me to be discipline. It has taught me how to prioritize my time. It has taught me how to listen to my body. It has taught me humility-to know when to stop and how to take a comment and how to give advice.
I train because I believe it makes me a better person- not just physically, but mental as well. I am a better steward of my time. I learned how to focus my mind and to make my body do what I imagine it doing. It is very fulfilling to see look back a see how far I have come and to see how numbers that I could not contemplate are with in reach. it is exciting to look forward and see numbers that I am reaching for, knowing that I have not reached my full potential. This is why I train.