I. AM. OBSESSED.
I have been seriously “lifting” since my second born was about 14 weeks. 8 months and counting now.
The sheer physicality of moving heavy things around never appealed to me before. I am unsure of the reasons, just as I am unsure of how I got into weights. I did not meet anyone who inspired me to do it, nor did I read about it. Maternity leave, and then going back to work at 11 weeks post- partum, with no real help on hand hit me hard. The guilt of leaving the young one, not having enough time for the first- born and the stress of catching up at work almost drove me to despair.
I needed a way to clear my head occasionally, and for me the only way to do that is to sweat it out. Once upon a time, running helped me do that. But now, driving halfway across town to find a half- decent place to run seems ludicrous.
I headed to the nearby gym/ fitness centre out of sheer desperation. Payed the 3 months’ joining fee, bought ONE new sports top (I did not get my hopes high) and weeded out my old running bottoms from the sad and messy depths of my wardrobe.
One day after work, I pumped in the car and even though every cell of me told me to head home to my babies- I drove to this gym place.
The timing was crap, and the place was bursting at it’s seams with people who were stuck on moving machines with their phones super- glued to their hands. Every darned cardio machine was taken. It is a ladies- only sort of place, and so the weights section was peaceful and quiet. Again, desperation and the need for some space and quiet drove me to the weights section. And, I WAS HOOKED.
How I looked, did not matter.
I did not yearn for me pre- babies abs.
My squishy mid- section, flabby arms and dimpled legs did not bother me one bit. (Having a baby second time around does that to you. Your bodily changes don’t have the same shock value anymore. You know all about how the female physical being can travel to hell and back.)
I did not care how my hair was or what I wore. I did not mind grunting and making feral noises while I lifted. I cared zero shit as to what the women around me thought or did. At first, I treated the cardio equipment like the plague and stayed far away.
I went whenever I possibly could. I despised the management with all my heart for closing the place on Fridays. I even went in after my 24 hour on call shifts. I went in at 11 PM after putting the little ones to bed. Or sneaked in an afternoon session at around lunch time if I could, knowing that the place will be fairly empty at that time.
I did not have hours on end to spare. So my mantra was simple. Have a plan. Make it quick. Make it count.
Be efficient. Be brutal.
Needless to say, the beginning was not pleasant. Even with my physically active background, my body was shocked. It had not seen or experienced anything like this for it’s three decades of existence. Marathons and day long dance practice is different. And oh yes! I was only three months in after delivering my second child when I started 🙂
Slowly, the changes began to get apparent. The strength gains are addictive. Pushing oneself to the brink of their physical limit and then past it is always an exhilarating experience. A hint of a quad sweep, a trace of the biceps brachii as I pick up the little one and the pins going further down on the weight stack every week- the victories are small but fulfilling. I am not even upset that I cannot find jeans that fit anymore (the quads- glute- waist ratio conundrum ) or that I am packing on the pounds.
For the first time, it ain’t about the looks at all. It is about the me time, the strength gains. The mental emptiness as the physical self is being tortured into submission. The sore bottoms that remind you of the good times you had the previous day every time you sit. The achy back as your try to find a comfortable stance in the OR. The joy of feeling in control of at least one thing in your life. Of people commenting on how you stand different, walk different- seem different.
The high of the so called “beginner gains” is hard to explain.
I have no idea how long this will last. I hope to have stumbled upon a life- long passion but I don’t care either way. I am not aiming to compete in bodybuilding shows or becoming a powerlifter. Heck, I am not entirely sure when I can make it to the gym today. All I know is that currently I am being sucked into the vortex of protein shakes, pre- workout, foam- rolling and workout splits. That currently the only clothes that I own (that fit me) are my pyjamas, scrubs and workout apparel.
In fact my wardrobe is a fair indication of my life currently- family, work and the gym.
Till next time.