Climbing to Nirvana

This morning at the playground, my daughter shouted that there was something gross on the slide and insisted I come up and see it. Without hesitation, I grabbed the winding ladder pole in front of me and climbed up to the platform (finding a sticky melted ice cream at the top). My daughter was impressed at what I’d just done.

I thought about this later and the fact that I was fit enough to climb up instead of walking up the easier stairs. Not only that, but I’d had confidence that I was fit enough. I didn’t hesitate.

Two or three years ago, before I got back into a regular fitness routine, you would’ve found me lamenting that I wasn’t strong. A neck injury years before had stopped me from lifting weights – the only workout I’d ever really enjoyed. I felt fragile, like I couldn’t lift anything heavy and the smallest movement could trigger a flare up with my neck. It was a place of powerlessness, and I hated it.

Then one day I decided to actually go to the gym I belonged to and try a one-time class on building a strong core. I was nervous – I hadn’t moved my body in a flexible way in years. But what happened at that class was life changing. I found that I could lift my arms above my head, bend over, and do other basic movements. And I didn’t have a huge flare up afterwards.

So began my year-long love affair with gym classes at 24 Hour Fitness Express. I started very slowly and carefully, bringing my own two-pound weights and gradually moving to three-pound weights and on up. I was amazed that instead of excruciating pain, my neck started to feel looser. My self confidence was improving too, and for the first time since having my daughter, I started to feel attractive again.

After a year, my gym closed and I moved to another, where I didn’t enjoy the classes as much. Our little group of devotees were separated and I began to lose my enthusiasm. After a few months of no working out, I decided to venture into the gym again on my own and lift a few weights. I’d lifted religiously before my neck injury, probably lifting too much and not really tracking any progress I made. So I was a little nervous about going back after all these years.

But I was determined. I wanted to be strong (and to look strong too).

I started off lifting a couple of times a week when the gym was least busy. At first I just tried to remember the old exercises, and it took a few times to get the form down correctly. I was self conscious and afraid of hurting myself. So I began researching exercises online and looking at my old books and magazines, like Muscle & Fitness. It was all coming back.

Ten months later, I still go to the gym four to five times a week and never miss a day. I truly feel strong and fit and have much more self confidence. I also have the body I want, though there are always improvements to be made! I’m so passionate about weight lifting that I wanted to share my experiences and knowledge in this blog.

I’m the one who looks longingly at the gym when I drive by. I knew I was a goner when I drove by on a date and said, without even realizing it, “I can’t wait to go to the gym tomorrow.” Maybe you can relate to this passion and want to learn a few more things about weight lifting or eating to be fit. Maybe you’re just starting out and are a little nervous like I was. No matter where you are, you can find great joy in challenging your body and doing things you didn’t think you could do. Stay tuned, and get ready for the ride.

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