T Nation

Thinking of Quitting

I haven’t been in the gym for almost 4 months and I’m thinking about not going back.

I’ve been in the gym an AVERAGE of 4 days a week consistently for the last 11 years. That means some times I’ve been in as much as 6 days a week and as little as 3 days a week. I’ve been thru the whole gamut. In the beginning, I kept a food log, ran 30 miles a week, rode my bike to classes, and spent time in the gym. I couldn’t WAIT to get to the gym. My wife used to make fun of me because I always said I was going to be late for the gym, even when nobody was waiting for me. I’ve gone from lean and strong to fat and strong. I used to do dualathalons, and trail runs until my shins and ankles went out. After I finished college and had to work in an office, I moved to powerlifting eventually pulling a 515 dead a 425 squat at 185 pounds.

But now I’m tired. Both of my shoulders hurt, my ankles hurt and my thyroid is shot (from long years if ephedra use, I think). I’m enjoying my time at home with my wife and daughter and don’t feel the old pull of the gym.

Your comments are appreciated

[quote]old powerlifter wrote:
I haven’t been in the gym for almost 4 months and I’m thinking about not going back.

I’ve been in the gym an AVERAGE of 4 days a week consistently for the last 11 years. That means some times I’ve been in as much as 6 days a week and as little as 3 days a week. I’ve been thru the whole gamut. In the beginning, I kept a food log, ran 30 miles a week, rode my bike to classes, and spent time in the gym. I couldn’t WAIT to get to the gym. My wife used to make fun of me because I always said I was going to be late for the gym, even when nobody was waiting for me. I’ve gone from lean and strong to fat and strong. I used to do dualathalons, and trail runs until my shins and ankles went out. After I finished college and had to work in an office, I moved to powerlifting eventually pulling a 515 dead a 425 squat at 185 pounds.

But now I’m tired. Both of my shoulders hurt, my ankles hurt and my thyroid is shot (from long years if ephedra use, I think). I’m enjoying my time at home with my wife and daughter and don’t feel the old pull of the gym.

Your comments are appreciated[/quote]

Ephedrine has no effects on your thyroid. Are you experiencing hypothyroidism? That alone could explain your lack of motivation along with a possible decrease in testosterone.

I don’t know if quitting outright is the answer. Had I asked you 10 years ago if you thought that going to the gym enhanced your life, what would you have answered?

Maybe you’re at the point in your life where lifting isn’t your whole life anymore, but like your job and family, it can still be a healthy part of your life. Just a piece of the puzzle. Whether it be a place to blow off stress, spend time with your lifting partners, or just a way to maintain your youth, I can’t fathom anybody avoiding the gym 100%.

Rediscover the reasons you love to train before, or develop new ones.

Just my humble opinion.

Taylor your program my man. Cut back and modify your time and workouts. Enjoy your family, but stay in shape. Imagine how you would feel progressively losing muscle and gaining fat. Aches and pains are a bitch, but you can modify.

Yeah, you can look into your health from various aspects to make sure you aren’t slowing down more so than you perhaps otherwise should.

Also, you can do things that are active without an insane level of intensity. Play catch with the kids or grandkids. Throw a frisbee for the dog. Go for a bike ride with the family. Play some beach volleyball.

No, these things won’t make you huuuuuge, but hey, if you want to take a break, keep some fun general activities in there while you do it. Maybe you’ll want to get back into the gym in a while and maybe you won’t.

Do what makes you happy.

Ephedrine has no effects on your thyroid. Are you experiencing hypothyroidism? That alone could explain your lack of motivation along with a possible decrease in testosterone.<<

That’s what my doc told me but I used to take ephedra like it was candy daily until just recetnly and I find it hard to believe that anything that artifically ramps up your metabolism doesn’t affect your thyroid. I’m on thyroid meds now. I have no idea bout my test levels.

The final decision is ultimately up to you of course, but if you do enjoy being with your wife and children so much then I assume that you want to prolong the time you will spend with them as well.

Maybe it’s time you shift your training focus from hardcore weight training with the goal of improving PRs and what not, to maintaining overall health and promoting longevity. That way you can enjoy many more years to come with your children and wife.

Look at where you will be when you are 80 or 90 years old. You can choose to accept the “we get old, lose energy, and die” attitude or you can choose the better route, live a long satisfying life and have energy spend with your family.

There was this video I had once of an 85 year old man who had been doing Wushu style martial arts almost all his life. The guy was amazing. He moved like he was 20, only with much better coordination, and he could do arials and spinning jump kicks like the top Wushu competitors in their 20s.

I’m not saying you should strive for arials or anything like that, but if anything, the one muscle you should work to keep strong is your heart.

Best wishes to you.

-ton

“Oh what a noble mind is here o’erthrown.”
–from “Hamlet”

If you believe in the premise that exercise is good for you–and I can’t imagine you believeotherwise–then I have to think that you would WANT reasons to get back to the gym. This current “slump” in training motivation is something you’ll want to get over.

Have you (to borrow from Shakespeare again) “foregone ALL custom of exercise”? Or are you just no longer interested in lifting heavy and keeping a food log? Is there exercise that you WOULD do, given the choice? Or do you have the urge to become a sedentary TV watcher?

Modify your program. It could be a slump that you’re going thru. I’ve been involved in martial arts for the last 20 years and there are plenty of times that I felt like quitting.

I started using the HST lifting program and it’s only 3X a week and for most of the program it’s less than an hour.

Have you considered getting some stuff to throw, flip, or lift in your yard? I have been taking Dan John’s advice from time to time and going outside to do some DB Snatchs. Training doesn’t have to involve the gym.

Just a thought,
Matthew

You don’t have to lift weights, find something YOU enjoy and stick to that.

What does your wife says? What does she think about you getting out of shape? Would you like if your wife were exercising and stayed in shape and then suddenly stopped and got fat?

Find something you enjoy and stick to that, there are NO benefits of being overweight.

On a side note, I shouldn’t preach too much because I’m pretty much out of shape myself now. But I know I’ll start soon, I hate being fat.

Get out and do something!

You sound like you are experiencing some form of depression.

Four month break, and you don’t want to go back? Or did you take a four month break and find out that there was more to life than the gym?

It sounds to me like it’s the latter. This isn’t an either/or choice. The intensity you once had may never come back - it’s been replaced with other passions. That’s not a bad thing - it’s life.

But that don’t mean you have to kick all training to the curb. Adapt, modify, analyze. Screw it - just go have fun in the gym, or the park, or the back yard. Figure out what would make training fun again. You may not eat sleep and crap training again, but you could have fun and enjoy lifting something heavy every once in a while.

Just my oinion.

Man, that’s too bad. I’ve been where you are. I got so tired of injuries and just generally burned out of the bodybuilding and sports scene that I had laid off for over 4 years. I had gained over 50 lbs and would get winded if I had to walk up and down the stairs in my home in rapid succession.

I have a 10 yr old son who is very athletic and very active. He is Daddy’s boy and wants to do everything just like Dad. He loves all sports and knows I was a boxer, kick boxer, bodybuilder, football, baseball player and all around general athlete back in the day. He would tear into me playing around and after horsing around for about a minute or two; I was exhausted I couldn’t play anymore. I’d have to sit down and catch my breath for about 10 mins.

He’d always beg me to toss the football or baseball with him but I was so out of shape I either didn’t want to or if I did after about 5 mins I was so tired I couldn’t go any longer and quit. My son would beg me to play and cry when I didn’t. He didn’t understand why Dad who used to be in great physical condition couldn’t even toss the ball with him. He started to think I didn’t like to play with him or didn’t love him or both.

I became so disgusted with myself. Here I was 43 yrs old, fat and out of shape. I hated to look at myself in the mirror especially naked. My libido had also taken a big down turn and I started to really hate myself. When I stood up with no clothes on I couldn’t even see my feet much less my winkie. I became depressed. Seeing the disappointment in my son’s eyes was more than I could handle.

One day when he wanted to play with me and I chased him off because I didn’t want to be bothered I was watching the news on the couch after all, how dare him. He said, “Daddy you don’t love me anymore”, and ran away crying to my wife. It felt like someone tore my heart out of my chest and stomped on it with football cleats.

My wife saw what was happening and tried to encourage me to try to get back in shape. At first I resisted thinking I was too old for that crap and I was sick of living in a gym all of the time. She said hey lets just start power walking in the mornings. I didn’t want to do it but she insisted (thank God). We walked for a few months and I started to feel pretty good. We changed our diet and started eating healthier. Soon the weight started coming off. We walked faster and further over time. I realized walking had served its purpose and it was time to kick it up a few notches.

We joined a gym at the local community center. It was small and had very limited equipment and was overall a dump but it was cheap and we could pay on a month to month basis, just in case I dropped out I wouldn’t be on the hook for a gym membership.

After about 5 months of working out there casually and inconsistently I actually started to see something in myself again, namely my feet and weiner again. Then the dreaded iron bug bit again and this time about as hard as he ever bit me before. I got serious about my workouts and decided the little community gym just wasn’t suitable any longer. I joined the Gold’s Gym nearest my house and the rest is history.

That was nearly 4 yrs ago. Now I have done a complete turn around. I play constantly with my son and wear his little butt out when we play. I feel 25 yrs younger and look it too. Not to brag but now I’m as strong as an ox and built like a brick shit house. I’m in the best shape of my life. My son and family are so proud of me. I’m pretty proud of myself.

I urge you to rest if you must, but don’t quit. You’ll regret it like I did, that I promise you. If your family is as important to you as mine is to me don’t give up.

Good luck to you and I wish you all the best.

Your Brother in Iron,

Ass Buster

[quote]old powerlifter wrote:

Ephedrine has no effects on your thyroid. Are you experiencing hypothyroidism? That alone could explain your lack of motivation along with a possible decrease in testosterone.<<

That’s what my doc told me but I used to take ephedra like it was candy daily until just recetnly and I find it hard to believe that anything that artifically ramps up your metabolism doesn’t affect your thyroid. I’m on thyroid meds now. I have no idea bout my test levels.[/quote]

I thought Cy said it would slow down the thyroid for about a month or so. My friend has the same problem, thinks it is the E he downed for so long.

I wouldn’t quit the gym, or at least quit working out. You don’t have to leave the house if you have a gym in your hom or garage!!!

You sound completely burnt out… At one point in my life I had overtrained to the point I felt like a wreck but still (stupidly)worked out/overtrained without fail. I was in constant pain in my back, shoulders, neck, one elbow. I was only 30 at the time and had been training for 15 years 6-7 days a week.

The long and the short of my ramble is I slowly decided to do some serious self rehab, I knew that what I had been doing (overdoing)was stupid but I was obsessive about training. I got to the point where I decided my long term ability to train (as well as do normal activities)would be completely destroyed unless I started using my head and not pushing through the (soft tissue / joint) pain and training smarter. I spent several years doing as much rehab training as actual training. It was about 5-years before I could bench even 225 without pain. I am 42 now and hope to train till I’m takin a dirt nap. I vary my workouts more now and set medium term goals.

My biggest current goal is a one armed pullup I hope do this by the end of the year. Longer term goals, I would also like to be able to do 100 freestanding handstand pushups, and a standing overhead push press of 315. I hope you will consider renewing your lifting in a manner that keeps you from burning out. Good luck!

Thanks for the replies, guys. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me. It started when work got hectic this year and I wasn’t able to get into the gym at the beginning of the week, so I’d say to myself, “I’ll go in next week when I can put in a full workout cycle”. The time off just got longer and longer. Of course in the past, I’d just work harder during my busy times at work and put more time in when I could.

Right now, I have an appt to see an orthopaedic doc to see about my shoulders. Maybe (I tell myself) I’m putting off the gym there to see what he says about that.

Its weird, the gym used to be ALL that I was about. I had no other hobbies, I spent all my free time in the gym. I was addicted to lifting as big as I could. The gym was my church and the weights my god.

In the last 4 months I haven’t added any new hobbies, I just spend time talking to my daughter when she gets home from school and then fixing dinner for the family.

My wife likes the fact that I’m home when she gets home and frankly the gym has always been a sore spot between us. Yes, I have gained some bodyfat lately but she keeps telling my I’m not fat, blah, blah, blah.I know she’s being nice but…

I don’t know where I’ll go from here but if any younger lifters are reading this thread…take it from someone who lived in the gym for a lot of years…be careful about what you say regarding your future in the gym. You may end up eating your words.

Take care.

I went through something similar with racquetball. I used to work as a teaching pro and I played seven days a week 3-4 hours a day. I competed on the national level and even qualified at a couple of pro stops. When I got married I joined the corporate world riding a desk, traveling, and generally eating bad. When I got back to the court I was getting spanked by guys I used to shut out without breaking a sweat. I had tendonitis in my knees and I was sucking wind because I was about 30lbs. heavier.

It wasn’t fun anymore because I couldn’t compete at that level anymore. I reevaluated my situation and decided that I didn’t have time to do it all. I dediced that racquetball wasn’t that important to me in the bigger scheme of life and being healthy was. I dropped the racquetball (and golf) and just hit the gym. Not to compete but to be healthy and active. If you’re not having fun competing then move on to something else, but don’t let yourself become a bum.

Get in shape doing anything, swim, climb rocks, bike. The only thing worse than a has been is a “used to be”. I don’t tell people any more that I used to be a semi-pro racquetball player. I tell them that I’m in great shape for my age and that’s what keeps me going to the gym. Look at Dave Draper. You think he could win a Mr. Olympia? Hell no. But he looks better that 99.9999999% of the guys his age.

[quote]old powerlifter wrote:
Thanks for the replies, guys. I honestly don’t know what’s wrong with me. It started when work got hectic this year and I wasn’t able to get into the gym at the beginning of the week, so I’d say to myself, “I’ll go in next week when I can put in a full workout cycle”. The time off just got longer and longer. Of course in the past, I’d just work harder during my busy times at work and put more time in when I could.

Right now, I have an appt to see an orthopaedic doc to see about my shoulders. Maybe (I tell myself) I’m putting off the gym there to see what he says about that.

Its weird, the gym used to be ALL that I was about. I had no other hobbies, I spent all my free time in the gym. I was addicted to lifting as big as I could. The gym was my church and the weights my god.

In the last 4 months I haven’t added any new hobbies, I just spend time talking to my daughter when she gets home from school and then fixing dinner for the family.

My wife likes the fact that I’m home when she gets home and frankly the gym has always been a sore spot between us. Yes, I have gained some bodyfat lately but she keeps telling my I’m not fat, blah, blah, blah.I know she’s being nice but…

I don’t know where I’ll go from here but if any younger lifters are reading this thread…take it from someone who lived in the gym for a lot of years…be careful about what you say regarding your future in the gym. You may end up eating your words.

Take care.[/quote]

A real powerlifter would never think like you do-but you only squatted a bit more than two times bodyweight-so you are not that much of a powerlifter. As soon as you ask for motivation you have lost it -how sad.

Here is a pic of me toying with a rock just about twice your weight…i lift to protect me and my family-and to show my kids life is about finding and living your passions. And by the way-thyroid medication is like 5 dollars for 100 days supply-so you have no excuses.

old powerlifter,

Don’t take this wrong, but it looks like you overdid it as an endurance athlete, then overdid it as a powerlifter, and overdid it on ephedrine. See a pattern? So you took a little break and now you don’t want to go back to the gym. No surprise, you would seem to be a bit compulsive (like most of us) and you now have some perspective. You are lucky!

Make a change. Get some bands or weights or kettlebells or tires or stones at home and just have fun. Get your wife involved. Wake up feeling good everyday. You have to ride this body to the end, so take better care of it. Lots of water, gluco/chondroitin, some hard waling or hiking. Have FUN, and be late once in a while!

jack
an old powerlifter too