When I was powerlifting I roared a lot. Fighting to stand up with an epic weight on my shoulders, or rip that weight off the floor required a warrior roar. Silent lifting wasn’t fun, and I’m pretty sure you can’t lift as much if you’re being all quiet and docile.
Fighting a heavy weight once, two or three times is different in a lot of ways than my new style of training. I’m not going to be going on any stages, but I’m training more like a bodybuilder now. And that means lots of reps. LOTS. I don’t count, because it’s not a set, pre-determined number. It’s move that weight as long as I have any range of motion, even if, and past the point that I’m trembling violently. The unfortunate thing I’ve learned, is that when I get to that point, the point where it feels like my muscled have been replaced with electrified water, I don’t roar. In fact, I damn near cry. Not because I’m trying to be a baby. It just comes out. What I’m doing is hard — more intense on that muscle group than ever my training before was. I learned how to gut through one really freaking hard lift, not how to keep going and going and going after it got hard. The sounds that come out are, to my great horror, more like a whimper.
I decided I’d had enough of that though, and to stop sounding like a sissy little thing. If I couldn’t all-out roar, at least I’d growl or something – anything but whimper or cry. I tried it, with maybe a little success this morning, working on my quads, gritting my teeth and probably sounding like a strangled polar bear as my legs jumped and danced of their own accord while I fought to keep moving the weight.
I had to have a mental talk with myself about applying that to my thoughts, too. I’m still surrounded by friends who powerlift, so it’s not easy to stop thinking about it. I dreamed one night this week that I was squatting. I could feel every moment of it, could truly physically feel the struggle, the weight on my back, my legs straining, and I was ecstatic in my dream that I was back at it. Waking up I wanted to whimper. It was just a dream.
I was near tears on my drive to the gym this morning — not that I’m not working hard now, and I have a fantastic trainer, but I can’t help missing my old way of lifting. I miss my friends at my old gym, I miss getting under the bar, and I miss the way powerlifting made me feel. I can still bench, and I got to a 100lb lift on it this week, only five pounds below my old max – not terrible considering I had spinal surgery six weeks ago and I’m doing it flat-backed with my feet up on the bench now. But there was no sense of euphoria like before. No roar. In short, I’ve started slipping back into feeling sorry for myself.
But if I don’t want to whimper while I’m lifting, there’s no place for it anywhere else. My trainer, who’s been through a lot rougher surgeries than my own, reminded me how lucky I am to be mobile at all, to be doing anything.Two months ago my husband had to dress me and I couldn’t lift a pitcher of water.
And now, dammit, I’m bench pressing nearly my body weight again. I’m learning Krav Maga. I’m doing weighted uphill and downhill lunges until my legs buckle. I can mow the yard, pick up my dogs and live my life. I have a million reasons to be ecstatic. So I’m going to cut out the whimpering and start roaring again.