Confessions of a Gym-Rat Relapse
I did it.
I went back to the gym. And not just for some stupid squats and lunges. I went back and started lifting upper body again.
I have been sucked so far into the cycling vortex that I can no longer see out of it. I say “pull ups” and the cylcosphere gasps collectively and lunges to take me out at the knees before I can grab the bar. “Noooooooooooooo! You might develop an arm muscle!”
I used to call Sal T-REX because he would ask me to move heavy things for him: “I don’t want to get any muscles in my arms.” (Sal – you are officially called out.) TVs, boxes, furniture, you name it. He called me Musclehead and I kissed him on the forehead after pounding my chest triumphantly.
In the morning I ran in darkness along the Esplanade 5 or 6 miles before meeting my trainer. I was pulling more weight than most of the guys around me.
Lats, chest, arms.
Bam, pow, bing.
It gave me great joy to watch them take weight off when I left a station. I worked up to 10 pullups, then 11. I hit my pullup PR of 13 one morning after a 6-beer bender.
“What got into you?” Keith asked.
“Carbs, I guess.”
Being a gym rat wasn’t something I was proud of, but it worked at the time. I was done with 2.5 hours of working out by 6:30 or 7am and I could shower and still be at work before everyone else. It was predictable, rhythmic, and comforting.
And when I stopped I missed it.
Not just the routine of my morning gym arrangement, but the feeling of my arms trembling as I tried to hold up the hair dryer after a good session. I missed the wobbly feeling of pounding out 60 consecutive pushups. I missed the “gym zone” where the headphones go in, the death-anger rap goes on, and everyone else disappears. I missed wife beaters and balance boards and bosu balls.
So I went back.
And it kills. It crushes. Or, as Taylor Phinney would tweet, “It slays!”
Upon my return, I nearly wept to find that I could only lift at 25% of my former glory. No pull-ups. No benching my bodyweight. No forcing the boys to take weight off when I step away.
Men of Portland, you’ve been warned. Swifty’s bringing the heat.