Note: “Then” means the early 1980’s. “Now” is from the mid- 90’s on.
Then: Lifting was my entire world. Friends, career, family … none of that mattered. Just lifting.
Now: Lifting is part of my world, but it’s not top dog.
Then: I only knew how to hit the gas
Now: Found my brakes, not afraid to use them.
Then: Time off was for wussies and wimps
Now: Take a week off between cycles.
Then: Gave lip service to stretching and warming up.
Now: Stretch and warm up for real
Then: Did cardio, but hated it.
Now: Do cardio, but learned to set cardio goals and maybe even like it. Sometimes.
Then: Thought intensity was environment-induced.
Now: Know intensity is self-made
Then: Trained through injuries
Now: Train “around” injuries
Then: Tried too hard to stay lean all the time
Now: BWHAHAHAHAH! Sorry. That’s all I’m gonna say about that.
Then: Average workout used to take 90 minutes, minimum.
Now: Less is more. Average workout takes 45 minutes. Unless I get distracted and start folding laundry or the dogs need to go out or … whatever.
Then: Actually put some thought into what I wore to the gym
Now: I’m doing pretty good if my shoes match.
Then: Relied on spotters
Now: Use a squat rack
Then: Was egotistical, judgmental and addicted to strength and power
Now: I don’t judge and I don’t think I’m special because I lift weights. I also learned addiction doesn’t set you free, it weighs you down.
Then: Obsessed over every morsel of food I ate. Ate TOO clean. (Yes, there is such a thing)
Now: I wish I could say I’ve changed my dietary habits, but I haven’t. Funny thing is, health professionals would have you think that’s a good thing. I don’t obsess anymore, but … well, I’m far from “normal.” sigh Some “habits” are just too ingrained to break.
Then: Used a belt for … well, crap … everything. I strapped that puppy on and kept it on the whole time.
Now: No! No! No!
Then: Skipped meals, partied all weekend, worked two jobs, got about 6 hours of sleep (on a good night) and still made progress.
Now: Eat right, one small glass of wine is my idea of a “party,” average about 8 hours of sleep in 1-2 hour increments (if I’m lucky) and still manage to make a little progress from time to time.
Then: Actually thought there would come a time when I’d be satisfied with my results.
Now: Know I’ll always be a work in progress.
Then: Wore gloves to protect my hands from calluses and to improve grip.
Now: Use chalk and grip training to help grip. What calluses?
Then: Wanted the end of the road to be at the beginning of the journey.
Now: Realize the journey is the destination.
Then: Focus was 100% aesthetics. I was an aesthetics whore: it didn’t matter if the routine, exercise or dietary practice wasn’t a good choice as long as it might make me look better.
Now: Focus is on function, mobility, health and aging well.
Then: Never thought about getting significantly hurt.
Now: Longevity doesn’t depend on just skill and luck. I’ve watched a LOT of good lifters fall apart. Lifting smart and staying injury-free is #1. (Read as: Don’t do dumb stuff anymore.)
Then: Took myself too seriously, was overly hard on myself most of the time.
Now: Lifting is hard work: Don’t make it any harder than it is. I’ve relaxed my approach. Besides, perfection is tedious and boring.
Then: Ate and drank (legal) things that never should have passed my lips all in the name of progress.
Now: Supplement consumption is on the “normal” side, meaning very limited and selective.
Then: Put too much stock in things I read and did (pretty much) what I saw others doing
Now: Know an educated voice when I hear it and learned to walk away from mainstream methodology.
Then: Idolized people who trained “No matter what”
Now: Recognize and respect a few limitations.
Then: Thought, talked, even dreamed about lifting
Now: I mostly think about lifting when I’m lifting. Sometimes not.
Then: Got too stuck on searching for (reading, talking) the perfect routine or diet.
Now: Everyone has their personal preferences and biases. Basics aside, there’s no magic formula. I aviod paralysis by anylasis like the plague.
Then: Used to train on holidays and vacations
Now: Relax on vacation, only train on holidays if it falls on a training day and I really feel like it.
Then: Thought I’d never grow old.
Now: Trying to age gracefully
I could probably come up with more…