T Nation

Mental Diary

Well a couple days ago was my one year anniversary to when I started working out. I will re-live it for you…

The goal was 300, not that heavy in the realm of things. I mean, crap, I can bench more than that. We warmed up with the 260# for triple’s. His name is “sandpaper” and for good reason, my forearms are still shot after almost a week. Then we went on to “bigboy”…he’s 20# lighter but about 6 more inches around. I hate him. I like it when I can touch my fingers.

Then we rolled him out. With the spray-painted “300” staring us in the face. I tacky up…and get set. My buddy slaps my shoulders so hard they go numb. My jaw clenches, I start breathing heavier…thinking…getting set. I reach down and grab him, pushing my heels down for all I’m worth. I lap him (whew), then pause for the triple-extension. I repostition to put my hands on the top of the stone.

I try to stand up.

Heaving with everything I have. It’s resting on my stomach so hard my ribs are bruising. I grunt and try to extend my back…but to no avail. I am 6 inches away from putting the 300 stone on a 56" platform…almost.

I failed. I look at the 300 stone every time I am walking into my friends garage where we lift. I tell myself I still did good for only a year of hitting the iron…and hitting the stone as well. Nothing beats them. It’s all brute strength and pain and blood. My forearms are scabbed and my bottom set of ribs are bruised, but so is my spirit.

But when I can get the 300 all the way on the platform…it will all be worth it. All the torn callouses and flesh, all the sweat…everything goes numb when you try so hard you think you are gonna pass out and have a stone fall on you.

get some,

p.s. chalk is a good blood-clotting agent.

I hate going to the gym. No, let me rephrase that. I want to burn all these “fitness centers” to the ground. All these damn treadmills and the people are still driving around the parking lot at Wal-Mart for 20 minutes to find a close spot because they don’t want to walk an extra 200 feet. How about they get rid of one of the eight bench presses and put in a power rack?

The final straw was getting kicked out because we were putting on chalk while we were doing some C & J. The fat manager broke a sweat getting out of his chair to come over and complain about the mess. My response was that he should worry more about my grip failing and me dropping over 200 pounds on my head. They pay a guy to clean up…let him clean something instead of babysitting the pins on the machines all day.

Besides, I hate to watch people do pointless crap. Let’s start with last night. I was watching a guy do tricep kickbacks and thought to myself “that’s as much weight as Olesya uses.” Then it dawned on me…I don’t fit in with mainstream “fitness” ideas. That’s fine, I don’t think we should. The most miserable part is when I was doing a heavy set on the T-bar row and some guy asks me what part of the chest it works…laughing at him probably didn’t help, but it was so damn ridiculous.

So me and my workout buddy find ourselves shunned. We pull some chains out of our bag and people look at us like we are wearing clown suits. We put on our squat shoes, or for that matter, deadlift with no shoes and the snickering starts.

But we have them beat. Oh yes, we have them beat. My friends garage is our sanctum. No excuses, no rules, and no crappy love song playing on the speakers trying to make me cry while I push press. Of course, we try to be courteous, no Oly lifting or stones after 9:00, and we turn the music down. The volume buttons on it are broke so we just throw a hoodie over it to muffle the speakers. We actually think the middle-aged women across the street have a bet on who will get paralyzed first.

But that garage is the only place I feel relaxed. Grinding out another rep while squatting, I don’t have to worry about grunting too loud. I don’t have to worry about bailing on a snatch and having the bumper plates break a mirror. Besides, his garage has the only GHR in town.

So let them keep their “fitness centers” and partial rep benches. They can even keep the treadmill bunnies. Because we have something better: a sanctum. A place where strength and dedication aren’t shunned. A place where the only excuse is that I’m not strong enough yet. It’s stones this weekend, and I have a score to settle…