Overhead press PR and eliminating more excuses

When I was a kid I always wanted to be stronger.  I got picked on so naturally I identified with comic book superheroes and that wimpy guy on the beach that had sand kicked in his face.  I was so, so happy when my parents decided they were going to join a local gym and that I was old enough to join as well.  My dad thought that getting stronger would help me with basketball.  While I had plenty of desire, being short and slow worked against me when competing for a spot on the frosh-soph team at high school.  If I had any hope of making the team, I needed to be able to do things the other kids wouldn't do like box out and rebound or try to play tough defense.

Getting stronger would certainly help with that but deep down, I was finally happy that I had a chance to re-make myself.  From the age of 14 to the age of 27, I was single-mindedly passionate about working out.  At first my goals were to build muscle, eventually they changed to the pursuit of limit strength in the form of powerlifting competition.  It was easy to get to the gym even if it meant driving 20-30 miles to meet a workout partner.  Like many fitness fanatics, virtually everything else took a back seat to my workouts.  At that time in my life, there was nothing short of a funeral that would've been able to distract me from the pursuit of strength.  I had excellent training partners and trained at legendary gyms in the presence of the top bodybuilders, pro wrestlers, and powerlifters of the day.  For a kid that once upon a time wished he wasn't the kid that got bullied, it was as close to heaven as I could imagine.

All of that changed when I moved to Toronto in 1993.  It was a professional opportunity and in hindsight, the adventure of a lifetime.  However with the move, the change of environments, new job priorities and the challenges of trying to find a foothold in a foreign land with no friends or family, my strength and fitness goals faded and with it my passion.  For almost 15 years I did other things, lots of golf, lots of hanging out with new friends, married, divorced, went through depression, became obese, had a mid-life crisis, went through a career-change, and finally a re-birth of my powerlifting activities along with a stable and very happy home life.

Four plus years into my 'recovery', I still don't have the same youthful passion for the iron that I once did.  Age and experience has grafted a healthy cynicism on my view of the muscle magazines that I used to devour as soon as they hit the news stand.  I no longer have any desire for 'big muscles' nor do I ever want to wear a tank top or compression shirt to show them off.  I realize mirrors have zero role in getting stronger and actually resent gyms that feel they need to put them everywhere.  The whole "GTL" culture makes me sick.  Exercise and my competition goals are motivators that keep me from lapsing back into habits of unhealthy eating and inactivity.

All that to say, I still deal with self-imposed roadblocks or excuses that keep me from doing everything I should do to realize my goals.  It was easier 20 years ago when I lived and breathed the pursuit of muscle and strength.  Now, things like not having enough towels keep me from training as many times a week as I should.  Well, I removed that ridiculous obstacle today.  I bought two more towels.  Now I have no excuse for not exercising 5x a week.  I could always do laundry more than one time a week but I hate doing laundry much more than I dislike going to the gym.

As for today's workout, it went very well.  My squats, while still off in strength compared to the prep for my last competition, are coming along and I'm hoping I won't lose any more strength as I continue to drop bodyweight.  My overhead presses went very well.  I hit a new strict press personal best of 215 lbs and then loaded 225 lbs to see if I could push press the full two wheels.  I hit that one too, the most weight I've ever put over my head.

Squats:  135x10, 225x10, 315x3, 365x3, 405x1, 425x1, 425x1, 385x2x5 sets
Overhead Press:  45x10, 95x10, 135x5, 185x2, 205x1, 215x1 PR, 225x1 push press PR, 185x3x2 sets
Dumbbell Row:  100x10, 100x10, 100x7  grip improving slowly
Face Pulls:  40x20, 40x20

Comments

  1. I thought it was really interesting how you had the exact same outlook as I do right now. Every week my main priority is going to the gym usually 6 times a week. I semi convinced myself I wanted to pursue some kind of career that involves fitness and the gym, but I'm not sure if that's just because its what I'm interested in for the time being. It's kind of scary, I always think that nothing will keep me from going to the gym even when I'm older, but I guess as you age your priorities become much different. It's still great that you have time to go, I hope I'm as dedicated as you are when I begin to get a bit older.

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  2. Back in the day, I did work at a gym and worked as a personal trainer but the field was different in the late 80's/early 90's. When I returned to the fitness industry as a trainer in 2008, it was much more rewarding but the time committment ended up leading to me leaving the industry again.

    Now as compared to earlier, I probably have more of a passion for helping other people and that really helped during my second go-round as a trainer/fitness dept mgr. It's hard to live the personal trainer's lifestyle as it means very early mornings and late nights with most of your free time in the middle of the day. Great if your sig other is also a trainer but not as ideal if they work traditional 8-5 hrs.

    Even if your passions change or fade, what you have now, you can always rely on in the future. That I had a foundation, even if buried under years of neglect, made it much easier for me to get back on the horse. Of course, it's best if I had never gotten off in the first place but it's never too late.

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  3. That's a great outlook, I'll remember that!

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