Discovering life beyond the barbell / by Dana McMahan

It’s not about the numbers

Well, it is, but really, it’s what’s behind them. I liked 200 because it’s a big, round, number. And for my size, if I say so myself, it’s pretty freaking impressive. But I wasn’t dancing on air when I got to claim 200 as my own because of the number. It’s what it meant.

I was scared, peeps. Seriously, terrified when it went from rhetorical talk about squatting 200 to actually committing to doing it. 200 pounds. Besides being *this* close to two of me, it’s the weight of most grown men. It’s five giant bags of dog food. It’s a baby elephant. It’s a freaking LOT to put on my back, squat and stand up with. Could I really do it?

My fear lived on several levels: I could fail. Fail in front of my coach and friends. I could give up if I got to the bottom and found it was too heavy. I could be just not mentally tough enough or physically strong enough.  I debated calling off the attempt, so awful was the prospect of failing. A lot of reasons could prevent me from rising with that weight. Only I could make it happen. Just me, with a lot of focus, determination and will. Oh, and those slabs of muscle on my legs that not everyone loves but oh, I do, because those muscles give me the power I need to take on 200 pounds.

So when I stood up with 200 pounds on my back and overcame every one of those fears it was a rite of sorts. I walked in fearful, and walked out a winner, confident, and over the moon with glee. I faced a challenge that was no small feat. Even having the guts to take it on gave me pride. 200 is pretty lofty as far as goals go. The strength standards table I like to go by puts 179 in the elite category for my weight. Who was I to think I could blow 20+ pounds past that a year after I started squatting?

But I set that as my goal, and I did everything I needed to do to make it happen.  I transformed, through my own work and dedication, with support from my coach and husband and friends,  from physically not being capable of something, to doing it. That is a mighty powerful feeling, that of making something happen.

So yeah, while I feel strong and powerful indeed because I can take on 200 pounds and win, my real strength and power comes from knowing that I can overcome fear and accomplish a serious goal. If I can do that, what can’t I do?

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