I used to love the Choose Your Own Adventure books when I was a kid — coming to a cliffhanger and picking one or another deliciously perilous option. Today I got the even cooler grown-up’s gym version of that.
I was meant to squat 162lbs for three sets of three. That would be the most and heaviest I’ve ever done for reps. But the first set felt easier than the 145s I did two days ago. I racked the weight. “We can do one of two things,” Ben said. “Keep going. Or do one at 180, and bury it.”
“What do you think?” I asked, fairly dancing to try 180. Since first making it but not to depth, I’ve agonized over whether I’m strong enough to do it for real. “You know what I want,” he answered. That was it. He cranked the volume up on the speakers and put on Fort Minor, Remember the Name.
“This is it,” he said, as I stared down the bar loaded with one hundred and eighty pounds. “This is what you’ve been training for.”
“There’s no way I’m going home without this, so I just have to do it,” I thought. I got under the bar, dug my feet in, and heaved the bar up. And that most wonderful of feelings came over me — that magical sensation that the weight is light. Not that it’s floating above me, but that it’s just not heavy, that it’s nowhere near the weight of a grown man. I know it’s not light, but my body thinks it is, so I’m going with it. I knew I had to go low, nothing mattered but that. I don’t remember thinking anything, I just went down. I got to the bottom and hesitated, not sure if I was low enough.
And then … then I just stood up. I’d kind of like to say I fought for it, but really all I did was just stand up, wondering why Ben was laughing so wildly.
“You pause squatted 180 pounds,” he roared, cracking up. I didn’t even know what that meant, but I was grinning ear to ear, heart pounding and hands shaking. I’d done it. Not only that, I’d crushed it. And it wasn’t even that hard! Is there a better feeling?
I can’t wait for June 18!