On Monday I did some long sets of deadlifts at a friend’s gym. Then I collapsed onto the floor and tried not to cry.
On Wednesday I did some long sets of squats at a friend’s gym. Then I collapsed onto the floor and tried not to cry.
On Friday I walked for a mile carrying 176 pounds in kettlebells.
Before you get confused, let me add that those were three wonderful training sessions and if I’d had the energy to smile, I would have smiled for the rest of the day. I’ve made this comparison before, but acquaintances who don’t understand the need to train for strength often look at this as mere self-abuse.
“You’re like those mopey teens who cut themselves,” is something I’ve heard more than once.
Happy Body, Happy Mind
James Sjostrom is that friend of mine and his gym is the torture chamber I’ve been talking about. It’s a hot, ugly box in an industrial district in Salt Lake City. When you walk into the building, one of the first things you see on a bulletin board is a paper sign with these words in pen: “See you in hell.”
Then you walk through the doors and, well…all hell breaks loose, but in a good, awful way.
James was one of my instructors at the RKC. He’s a brilliant strength mind and a physical brute. On Monday before the deadlifts, he was talking to some of his clients and I heard him say, “People whine, but the truth is, this stuff makes your body happy in the long run. A happy body makes a happy mind.”
I could not agree with this more. During a squat session, my body is not happy. The next morning, my body is not very happy with me. But my mind is singing because I did something real. I wake up two days later and I know I am stronger. This gives a feeling of confidence and satisfaction that I have a hard time putting into words.
Unless you’re an egomaniac or have a Messiah complex, confidence leads to good things. How could it not?
Give me some clarity
Our minds are busy places. How often do you really get to slow down and clear your head? In my own case, my mind is usually preocuppied with whatever shenanigans my body is getting up to on the Tourette’s front.
But just about everyone I know has a freaking fire drill going off in their head most days. They never get a chance to clear their head, they just add to the clutter. Always reacting, with little time for big picture thinking.
For what it’s worth, I don’t care about the big picture much. I just don’t want to be bored. I try to spend as little time thinking about tomorrow or yesterday as possible.
Training can bring clarity because it puts you in the moment. It roots you in the present reality and if your head is anywhere else you’re not working hard enough. You can’t be bored when the weight’s heavy.
You can’t be bored with something that’s trying to kill you. If you’re bored you need to root all that ennui out and kick its teeth in.
I’m going back to Hell today to visit some infernal pals. I can’t wait.
Care to join me? If so, I’m giving you the assignment to bring a list of the best workout songs.
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