I recently celebrated my 10th year of lifting.
So, it seems fitting that I share my adventures in weight training.
I got my first weight set when I was 16 (weighing 145 lbs at 6’0.) I immediately loved lifting weights. There was nothing saying I couldn’t be great, so, I ran with it, researching 3 or more articles a night; I read more about working out and anatomy than I did my own homework (worth it)!
As time went on, I discovered the benefits of putting on mass. My lifts started to skyrocket and my weight stubbornly started to increase. By my next birthday, I had gained 25 pounds. My confidence and self esteem started to increase and, wouldn’t you know it, people started to notice.
Getting ‘The Pump’ going was a new and amazing feeling. The feeling of so much blood pumping through your veins that it feels like your muscle is going to burst out of the skin. This ‘Pump’ was among many of my goals at the gym. In the bodybuilding realm, it is essential.
My workouts generally started with 100 push-ups. (If you see me in the gym these days making push-ups look easy, remember I worked my way up to that.) Push-ups didn’t just click one day; it was my natural curiosity for fitness that drove me to work harder and increase my reps every time I trained. As the years went on, I would do 6 exercises, 5 sets of 12 reps, sometimes more, 6 days a week.
I had been bodybuilding for the better part of a decade, I was eating and lifting a lot, but I wouldn’t call myself strong. I grew bored of commercial gyms, like so many of you reading this. People were more centred on checking out their own ass in the mirror than they cared for the hard work that needs to be put in to change yourself for the better. And that better came: my cousin told me about this thing called “CrossFit”.
“Leave your ego at the door”, was an appropriate slogan I thought after the first workout.
My ego took a big hit. In all the years I had been bodybuilding, I had never learned so much in each session. As the sessions continued I changed my perspective of lifting to “I know nothing about lifting”.
Each lift had so much to it, but I gave myself time and it started to stick. CrossFit had broken me down, but soon enough it was creating a new lifting journey for me. I follow the CrossFit model of training, 4-5 times a week, starting the workout with a major compound lift (Deadlift, Press, Squat, and Bench,) and a few assistance exercises after.
I enjoy chasing strength and bodyweight exercises more than endurance and cardio. I am also implementing strongman movements into my workouts (for example, lifting the big ol’ concrete atlas stones out back). I never considered myself strong until I trained at CrossFit Toronto with John and Machiko.
CrossFit has no problem showing you your weaknesses. It is up to you whether to say “No I can never do pull-ups,” or maybe change your perspective to “I can’t do that yet but what can I do to work up to that”.
I will never tell you I haven’t made mistakes before, because I have failed so many times in the past decade, made so many mistakes, and endured a few injuries along the way, but, I am the man I am today because of it.
There is a time and place for bodybuilding, along with a multitude of benefits. If that is your goal, If that is what you want to pursue, then don’t let me or anyone else stop you. That goes the same for CrossFit. So what if you can’t do 100 push-ups like in the Crossfit games!?
Don’t let your age or lack of fitness stop you from improving yourself.