benchmarksblog

WHAT I LEARN FROM LIFTING & PLAYING

Month: July, 2016

SMALL PACKAGES

I’m feeling a little vulnerable this week,

 

Even though I’m looking great, feeling awesome, and lifting well, the recent drastic transformation of the cutting process has led many of the women in my life to utter,” Oh.My.God. You look so small!”

 

They mean it as a compliment, of course.

 

Forgetting that “small” is an adjective no man wants to hear describe himself, ever.

 

I am still mulling over the issue of size at work one night when a mother brings over her child ask on the daughter’s behalf:

 

“She wants to know if you can play Auld Land Syne because she’s learning it right now in her lessons.”

 

I tell a passing waiter to bring a napkin, instruct the mother to blindfold me, and then I play the song, to the delight of everyone around.

 

When I am done, much better than the $20 tip, is the exclamation of the little girl:

 

“You’re just like John Cena! With a piano!”

 

Physically, I come nowhere close to the 6”2” 250lb celebrity wrestler and former teen bodybuilder.

 

But it’s nice to know that good things can still come in small packages.

 

THE LAST SUPPER

In the largest private banquet room, which can normally accommodate far more, a single table is set for 20 guests.

 

When I ask one of the hostesses what important sports star, celebrity or politician might be joining us tonight, I am told that it is a man’s last meal with his family.

 

In the reservation notes, I read that he has cancer. There are no more options. Everyone lives in different states. And this will probably be the last time they will all be together as a family.

 

Only the two servers assigned to the room are allowed to witness a dinner that is tearful with sorrow and joy. Oblivious to the poignancy of a final farewell, the rest of the restaurant continues with the business of life. Anniversaries and birthdays are toasted. Romantic dates take selfies. Pre-theatre cocktails are swilled and swallowed before curtain.

 

I am not privy to the reminiscence and reconciliation before this man’s departure either.

 

But I am consciously aware that whatever I am playing on the piano is being piped into his room. Even though I do not see any of their faces, and they do not see mine.

 

So I play with a full range of emotions.

 

Happy for once, to remain invisible.

 

BEFORE THEY HATCH

Before every monthly body composition analysis, I obsess over something that might go wrong. And then, I pre-examine all the reasons why it did, because I am so certain that it already has gone wrong.

 

This week, I worried that I may have lost too much weight. And I thought that it may have been due to how I’ve been been putting in my cardio time. I get bored doing things at a constant steady state so I’m always mixing up different interval and speed patterns for how I might row, bike, run or climb the stairmaster.

 

Maybe, I thought, I overdid it.

 

Turns out, I didn’t loose any weight because I gained some muscle and lost some fat.

 

Which is exactly what was supposed to happen.

 

For next month, I’m going to remind myself that there is nothing to worry about if I have a little more faith.

 

WITH A FULL MOUTH

From where I sit, the sight of people who chew, wholeheartedly, with their mouths wide open, often confronts me.

 

Just as I ponder this again, a man still chewing on a mouthful of lobster comes within inches of my face and asks for The Way You Look Tonight.

 

I’m grossed out.

 

I start the song and my mind begins its own private monologue about how I think the way people need to start looking like tonight.

 

When really, I should be asking how I’m looking in the moment.

 

Will I be able to ask for more, if I haven’t been able to fully swallow what’s already in front of me?

LOOKING

I squatted 275lbs this week.

 

At three working sets of four repetitions per set, this is a personal best.

 

The first time I went for it, I got nervous and looked down to see where I was going. Immediately, I lost my center of gravity, went off balance and started to topple forward.

 

My coach grabs me for support, yells, “Look Up”, and I regain both my form and composure to finish the lift, strong.

 

In between sets, he encourages and reminds me, “Chest and eyes up, always, when squatting.”

 

Good pointer to also follow in trying to move other burdens.