T Nation

If I Can,You Can.

Caution: If you think that your time will be wasted by a semi-long post, it probably will be. But if your an expert in any sense of the word, I would appreciate your feedback. Even if your not, it would still be appreciated.

I can’t think of a better place to post this than the Building a better body forum.

Right now I’m sitting awake in my computer chair. Its 4 AM in the morning. After tossing and turning in bed for about a good four hours, I figured that since I’m not going to sleep I might as well eat, and of course browse T-Nation. I overdosed (just a little) on Nyquil hoping that that would help me sleep at least a little. No luck yet and that was 45 minutes ago.

You might be wondering why its so difficult for me to sleep. Well I’ll tell you it is because, I can’t breath. I have a chest wall deformity called Pectus Excavatum. It causes the sternum to drive inwards making the chest crush in on itself. If you saw my upper body you would think that I was pounded in the chest with a baseball bat at least 73 times.

But this isn’t something that happens suddenly. It’s not like you wake up one morning and say to yourself “Oh crap! I got myself a bad case of Pectus Hubajawhatsum!” If this happened suddenly, I would definitely be dead.

Over time it creeps its way deeper and deeper constricting your breath more and more until you cant even take a full breath, which would be where I’m at now.

Giving up, quieting, and stoping have never fit too nicely into my vocabulary. My entire life has been devoted to trying my damn hardest at pretty much everything, physically I mean, to try and make up for my shortcoming.

So when I decided to join the highschool track team, I knew I was in for one hell of a ride. And it certainly was. Right from the start every single day was agony. My chest would pound so hard I honestly felt that it was going to rip open and my heart was going to pop out.

The first day, we ran for 5 miles (This was spring track, the other athletes had all run cross-country and winter track). I insisted on not stopping. Finally my coach wouldn’t let me run anymore and forced me to jog back. I probably looked like I was about to die, I certainly felt that way.

When I got just out of his site I clapsed. When I found out that I was not aloud to be on the team “officially” because, of my terrible grades, that didn’t stop me. I was determined to run like the rest, (stupid, I know). Doesn’t really bother me.

So I dont get to wear those cute little uniforms, thats definately a loss right? Well I achieved my goal. By the end of the track season I could outrun each and every one of those skinny twirps. So what did I get from all my hard work? A skinny emaciated body that I was even more unhappy with than in the first place.

But I would have done it again in a heart-beat, or maybe more like 10,000 rapid fire heartbeats. I can’t run track this year because, I dropped out of school. But I have put all my focus into something else, lifting.

Unfortunately PE causes just as much trouble lifting, as it does running.
Right now your probably thinking to yourself “Get to the point already!” so I will. The reason I’m up tonight tossing and turning is because, I think that my strong will to “never stop” has turned against me.

Never stopping, I’ve read and experienced first hand, is not a good way to weight train. Especially when something hurts! I’ve been squatting for a while and have finally been able to push it up to a measly 245 pounds. But my chest has been screaming every step of the way.

I think that squatting has actually made my chest deeper. It might just be in my head but it sure feals that way. Would squating be dangerous for someone with this condition? I wont stop either way but, it would sure be nice to know.

Front squats are another killer. Benching as you probably already figured, is not my strongpoint. I would love any and all positive or negative feedback.

I’m sorry if I bored you with my long unnecesarry story. I’m just hoping that maybe someone will find motivation from this story. Or then again, maybe its the Nyquil talking, I cant remember half of what I wrote. And I don’t think my grammar was exactly up to par. Well I’m off to toss and turn in my bed, its now 5 AM. Wish me luck I gota getup for my workout tomorrow!


I will congratulate you on your persistence and dedication toward your goals. However I will say that at your age the most important thing should be your education. Yes weight training is fun and motivational. Yes, it will increase your self esteem. Yes it will prove that you can do things, but nothing is more important than your education.

Yes there have been some cases where people have come from rags to riches without the benefit of education, but not finishing high school, is not a powerful choice.

Why not focus all this energy like you mentioned devoted to track and to weightlifting into being smarter, more focused and more dedicated than everyone in the whole world?