On Again, Off Again
Updated: Dec 21, 2018
And Your Relationship With Training.
Most of us have had that moment of nervous energy by the phone thinking of the words and the courage to tell her or him "uhh, I think we should take a break from each other." Shaking and teeth chattering, you knew the response was going to hit you like a foul ball in an exhibition baseball game. You know that shit is coming, it's going to hurt, so you put up your defenses before it hits.
Luckily, in most cast cases, it's not imperative that we call the gym to tell it we are not going to be seeing it for a while. Unless, like relationships, you're going to put a freeze on one to join up with another. Totally cool if that is how you roll, but gyms will crawl back to you shamelessly because they want your business....she probably won't.
The relationship you have with your training is complicated. It isn't like you sat there contemplating how you were going to break the news to it. You slowly backed away from it using every example you could come up with when someone asked you if you've been going to the gym lately. Your answer usually sounded something like "Been kinda busy at work, haven't had time." You got mildly upset when you started putting yourself in the mind of the gym itself. Its lip was quivering, pleading "What did I do to deserve this? I did nothing to you but help you get a squat booty that got you 350 new Instagram followers in 23 minutes and shredded abs that are STILL there even after a bowl of salted couscous at dinner. Screw you dude!" But like in most cases, you kept the $59.99 dollar a month membership active because in the depths of your subconscious, you knew you'd be back there once things "calmed down."
Then you returned (with new headphones and a new Anarchylifting shirt available RIGHT HERE at Anarchylifting.com!) and you realized how good it made you feel and how good it made you look even in those weird mirrors that somehow seem to never make anyone EVER look good. And then it happens.......
You hear the small tear, you feel the tweak in your lower back. You know it's going to be at least a year until you can actually get your connective tissue back to where it needs to be.
Getting injured seriously feels like getting dumped. In some cases, I've seen many people get real depressed. I have a whole other story for you about me that revolves around gyms and depression, but this is supposed to be an uplifting article. So remember these words and say them repeatedly to yourself, "When you want to give up, remember why you started."
If you have to think long and hard about it....that's OK! A lot of us do it and don't realize our purpose until much later down the road. It could be for psychological health, it could be for self-esteem issues you want to deal with, it could be because you want to be the strongest person in the gym. But you know you have a purpose.
I spent 15 years pretending I was a bodybuilder, but I didn't eat like one. I certainly tanned and trained like one. Then I realized how important food was in the process and how under utilized it is in the growth, so I fixed it with better eating habits and consistency. Then I concluded that all the heavy compound lifts I wasn't doing was really what was going to make people do a double take, so I started getting into strength. I started using memories from my past to motivate me for a lift. Thinking about that high school football coach who said "you're not big enough to play the position you want to play so you need to lift." Before you assume I'm joking, yes, I was the skinny pimple faced kid too. I thought about that kid that slammed me down on the playground in 3rd grade. It turns a possibly, hopefully, maybe into a PR. Saying 'fuck you' to those people in your head as you pull a PR can be the most satisfying experience known to man. It's the process of building that small, uncoordinated, feeble body into an athletic juggernaut with cannon shoulders. I know for a lot of women I've known, they've always been extremely satisfied when they witness their bodies become more athletic along the way erasing their preconceived unwarranted fear of looking "like a manly woman" if they simple looked at weight the wrong way.
I think the love and enjoyment of process is what is lacking today in our gym culture. To appreciate the time and effort that you put into every session and every exercise and seeing it in your training log. THE PROGRESS!! "Holy Shit! Look where I was last year at this time!" Seeing how every single variation of lifts has improved. Seeing your shoulders or back widen and then looking at the various exercises you did to get there. Gawking at the site of your own booty as you walk by every department store mirror just to admire it. This does not make you a narcissist, you are simply driven.
Most of us that grew up in the late 80's and early 90's never had the coaches that taught us HOW to lift. So we would rely on muscle magazines in 1994 (before bodybuilding.com, elitefts.com, deepsquatter.com and t-nation.com.) We had to learn how to get strong on our own and experiment. But we fell in love with the process. To fall in love with training in the gym again takes commitment and self'discipline, but most of all, requires that one look back fondly and appreciate how they built the strong base mentally and physically to accomplish things they never thought were possible. If you are struggling to get back into the swing of things, look back at the old pictures of yourself or the training log that's on your closet shelf and ask why you even started in the first place. When you find the answer and make your triumphant return, be present and enjoy those moments of clarity. It ain't always about the kiss at the end of the night, it's the work it took to get it.