I once was a training outsider, completely disinterested in resistance or any other training. I remember the feelings of intimidation, uncertainty, and insecurity like it was yesterday. You thought I was born with a silver barbell (weighing well over 500 pounds ; ) ) in my
I first stepped into the Mount Pleasant High School field house, during the end of 10th grade. I was clueless about training beyond hope, but held vast knowledge in terms of where everyone begins that journey. [Bet you can guess!]
Of course it was the bench press! I surveyed the scene and decided to start with something a little less daunting than the two big plates that perched with great heft on the barbell. It turns out that each of those weighed 45-pounds, plus 45 for the bar, but what did I know?
I proceeded to tug one of the plates. It quickly slid horizontally down the bar, coming to the end before I had the chance to adequately grip it. Forty five pounds of metal free fell from waist height directly onto my right big toe.
That toe would throb for weeks and at least four years would pass before it quit cracking when I walked barefoot.
And with that my first work out was complete. There would be no sets or reps or awesomeness. I could not even lift the dropped 45 pound plate off the ground, sliding it across the floor as I struggled to get my fingertips beneath the square edges. It taunted me as I limped outside, pretending my toe wasn't screaming. I plopped down in the grass with my back leaning against the brick wall of the field house, and waited there for my my mom to come pick me up.
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These days, I try to make a mental note of something I learned from each and every work out. I never keep a journal, but sometimes write about it here. The only thing I learned from my first lift ever was that the coefficient of friction between metal barbell and metal plate is minimal. But there's another lesson from this trip down memory lane.
I recently stated how I'm particularly impressed with the young athletes that dive into training. I blathered on about them learning the value of hard work. Until the age of about seventeen I was most definitely not one of them.
It's good for me to remember what it was like to be a child and adolescent whose world revolved around fun and sports. I remember ignoring my dad, uncles, and coaches who knew what I needed. I wanted nothing to do with discomfort and discipline and effort. Not even athletic failure could immediately tear down the massive blockheadedness. It simply wasn't going to happen until I was ready.
So mom, dad, and coach, don't be too discouraged if your charge(s) has yet to value effort. Encourage. Inspire. Lead by example. Do not indulge your own feelings, muting the lessons of pain, failure, and consequence. Life is a process. Be a solid powerhouse of patience and grace.
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