Novice (by Dana McMahan)

Fun with sledgehammers and tractor tires I love and hate being a novice.

I love that I’m making progress in greater leaps and bounds than I will ever again. When will I ever be able again to double my squat in just a few weeks’ time? I love the giddiness that erupts when I accomplish something new — I hopped gleefully like a kid when I managed during jump rope practice to crossover, cross it back for a regular jump, then crossover again. I love that I haven’t found my max on anything yet, because I’m still lifting more every time I go.

The flip side, that I need to work on dealing with, is the impatience and envy that comes with being a beginner. I want to do more, add more weights, improve faster. When I see other members breaking their personal records, I’m excited for them and their accomplishment, but I a tinge of jealousy sidles in — I want to be able to do it too. And I know I can, in time.

But this isn’t like studying for a final exam or learning a language — more isn’t better. I have to curb my impatience and follow Ben’s guidance. When he says to rest on my days between workouts I have to rest, no matter how much I want to practice my chin-ups on the bar I got for Christmas. When he stops me at a certain weight on the deadlift or squat even when I feel like I can do more, I have to stop. He knows what he’s doing here. And when I wake up that night, sore muscles screaming from the work that I did do, I’m thankful he didn’t let me push myself harder than is sane.

I’ve only been working out about 3 ½ months. The next time I want to add more weights than is reasonable, or get the green-eyed monster about somebody else’s accomplishments, I need to remember I still have a long way to go — and be proud of what I’ve done so far.

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2 thoughts on “Novice (by Dana McMahan)

  1. Hi Dana! So I have pretty much been reading your blog on and off all day from the most recent until this post. I gotta say I am loving reading your journey, you are inspiring me! I have been working out for the past two years, but only in the past two months did I start to lift heavier. I started bench press and dead lifts and am working up to a chin up, I haven’t started back squats yet, but plan to soon. My goal is to join Cross Fit in the fall, but until then I’ll train at the Y with my friend and try and get all the core moves down. I was encouraged by this post saying you’ve only been at it 3 1/2 months – it’s amazing how much you can improve in just that short amount of time. I am also very small weight wise that is, and it’s cool to see how much you can bench etc….I am only at 60 pounds but hope to increase that pretty quickly. Anyway, just want to give you a shout out and say thanks for your inspiration ~ I’ve learned a lot more from you than you know and it only fuels me even more to keep going for my goals!

    ps ~ can you please tell me what’s up with the tall socks? is this a crossfit thing? I’m clueless, but I love the meat socks, I think I’d wear ones that say ‘bacon’, lol!

    • Hi Lydia, thanks so much for the comment! I love hearing that someone is inspired to start lifting heavy 🙂 Hope to see you soon at the gym — you know, they offer classes that teach the basic moves, so there’s no need to train elsewhere first. I certainly didn’t know anything (at all!) when I started!

      Re the socks — they’re partly to protect your shins when you deadlift, though as you get better you stop scraping and bruising yourself, but partly because they’re just fun!
      -Dana

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