benchmarksblog

WHAT I LEARN FROM LIFTING & PLAYING

EASTER CURLS

I’m on my last set of overhead cable curls when he walks over and says, “Hey. Can I show you something?”

 

I normally shy away from the bros who interfere with each other’s workouts but this one is especially cute so I say, “Sure.”

 

He raises the cable settings to their maximum height, much further than I normally set them for this exercise, and tells me to try again, now that most of the stabilizing pressure on my rotator cuffs will be alleviated by the new adjustment.

 

And he was right.

 

I thank him and wish him a Happy Easter, remembering that this holiday is about having all the mistakes of sin permanently fixed.

40

He’s not that much older himself, I don’t think, so I’m confused when he says, “What a surprise to come out of the dining room to see someone so young playing all these old songs!”

 

I’m turning 40 next week and I don’t feel so young.

 

But I don’t feel so old either.

 

I feel like I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be.

 

BEAUTY & THE BEAST

 

My coach and I discussed the potential of bulking for the rest of this year before competing again next year.

 

I am very close to my target of 200lbs and in order to retain the benefits of those gains, we decided it would be best to keep this weight on for a while.

 

In other words, I’m going to look fat and pudgy for the next 8 months.

 

Already, I’ve been dealing with unkind comments such as, “have you stopped working out?” and “what happened to you?”

 

I was thinking how much more devastating my social life would become as I launched into a ten-minute medley of songs from Beauty & The Beast.

 

I’ve been playing this music more frequently ever since the live action movie version opened a few weeks ago.

 

It’s fun music and it puts me in a good mood.

 

Now, I’m playing it to remind myself that underneath it all, I know who I am, what I’m trying to accomplish, and most importantly, that I’m still a pretty, pretty princess.

THE VENTRILOQUIST

 

Terry Fater, the ventriloquist who won America’s Got Talent in 2008, came in for brunch.

 

I wanted to tell him how much his act meant to me, because it reminded me of a happy time, when I watched him on television with my late partner.

 

Those silly puppets always made us laugh.

 

But I kept my thoughts to myself, thinking that a performer on his down time wouldn’t want to have to entertain yet another fan.

 

When he left the restaurant, I realized I was the big dummy.

 

I put those words in my own mouth.

 

Letting someone know they are appreciated should be taken at every opportunity.

 

CARRYING YOUR OWN WEIGHT

 

When I’m training with my coach, I’m used to having my dumb bells handed to me. I’m also used to having my plates racked on and off machines as well as bar bells.

 

This week he told me I have to start carrying my own stuff.

 

Because of the number of clients he trains, he only helps when the weight is below a certain limit.

 

It means I’m becoming a big boy.

 

But it doesn’t mean I still can’t ask for help when I can’t handle something on my own.

 

Because that’s what big boys do.

WELL ADJUSTED

I have three rest days in a row this week from working out so I schedule an appointment with my chiropractor as a proactive recovery opportunity.

 

I haven’t seen her in over a year.

 

I haven’t needed to.

 

Working with an experienced coach and following his well-designed lifting program has done wonders for ensuring that my body is in balance.

 

“You are very well adjusted,” my chiropractor says as I get off her table.

 

I’m working on being able to say that about everything in my life.

 

 

 

THE ARNOLD CLASSIC

 

Like most guys relatively new to the sport, I still get excited to see the competitors and the winners in this annual bodybuilding show.

 

What I like best is looking at the amazing progress from the professionals who are returning to compete from previous years.
While daydreaming about the classic, happening this weekend, and wishing I were there instead of playing Misty for the millionth time, a man drops a generous tip into my jar.

 

“You play very well,” he says.

 

And suddenly I remember when Misty used to be a short two-minute song that required all my concentration.

 

Nowadays, it’s something I play automatically when I want a long chunk of time to reminisce.

WITHOUT A SMILE

Louis Farrakhan came for dinner this week.

 

He asked for a different server, specifically a black server, when a white server greeted him at the table.

 

He demanded that his party of 14 all be split on individual checks.

 

And he tipped an astoundingly meager ten dollars on his own personal bill of $165.

 

The next day, Daddy Warbucks from the travelling production of Annie also came to the restaurant.

 

He asked and demanded for nothing.

 

He tipped everyone’s mood with wit and humor.

 

And he might have even stolen my heart by calling me his (broadway) baby, maybe.

 

Which just goes to show that in the hard knock times of life, you really aren’t fully dressed without a smile, and that the sun really does come out tomorrow.

 

RIGHT HERE WAITING

I have not played this Richard Marx tune since I was in sixth grade.

 

So it surprised me this Valentine’s Day when four different couples requested it throughout the night.

 

And as my week began to unravel, I was grateful for this gentle reminder of an unwavering and steadfast faith.

 

 

TOTAL BODY COMPOSITION ANALYSIS

In the attempt to bulk up to 200 pounds, a major consequence has been the loss of prettiness.

 

I’m no longer cut or “shredded”.

 

And at 20% body fat, I look in-shape, but ordinary.

 

With 15 more pounds to go, I step on the scale this week to do my monthly total body composition analysis.

 

On the inside, I’m right on track.

 

The growing process is usually an ugly and uncomfortable one for any situation.

 

So even if it’s not reflected on the outside, it’s nice to know that changes are happening for the better, in many unseen magical and mysterious ways.