There are some things in life that just don’t like you.
It could be certain foods, ones that tempt you with a taste you find absolutely irresistible, but always end up attacking your digestive system later on.
It could be a neighbor or co-worker you just never hit it off with, and the best you can hope for is to recognize the sheer phoniness in that nod they give you when you walk by.
It could be the highway that seems to be jammed every time you get on it.
As for me, I know exactly what it is that doesn’t like me: Weights.
I’ve watched guys at the gym – and women, too, for that matter – spend hours in the weight rooms. They pile an unbelievable number of heavy weights onto a bars, equalling twice my own body weight or more, and then they lift. You watch them struggled in what seems like agony as they groan, scream and moan outloud. They lift as many times as they possibly can, then let the weights go crashing to the floor. There’s a thunderous clang that reverberates throughout the room.
And then they stand up, smile, and looked recharged and refreshed. They also appear to know what they’re doing, since their arms are bulging with rock-solid muscles.
Practice makes perfect, it’s been said.
But not always.
I’ve tried, on and off, to take a dramatic stab at the art of weight lifting. I’ve trained with people, most of them three times bigger and stronger than I am. They each start out with a remarkable sense of faith that I can be taught the proper routine, and this is the one that’s going to work for me.
And they all abandon it well before I have. But I follow their example eventually — and quit.
I’ve tried weight lifting routines for months, increasing the amount of the weights each week so that my body gets challenged by the heavier weights.
I’ve followed the trainers’ advice: lift your weights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and give your body a chance to rest on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Do eight to 10 reps, wait 60 seconds, then do eight to 10 more, wait another minute, then keep doing this until you can’t lift any more.
I’ve heard their lines: “No pain no gain” is a biggie, and I’ve felt the pain, including a strained muscle in my shoulder that took two weeks’ worth of muscle relaxant to smooth.
“You’re going to start seeing results in about a month,” one trainer told me excitedly.
Time and again, they’ve been wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong.
My arms remain as thin as a rail, my chest as flat as a pancake.
It’s hard not to come to the obvious conclusion: weights don’t like me.
I should blame my father – he was thin most of his life and probably passed on some thin genes to me. In an era where we call obesity a national epidemic, I suppose some people might say, “You could have worse problems,” and they would be correct. When you can gulp down dark chocolate and scoops of peanut butter every night and not get horrified the next time you step on the scale, there are worse existences.
But it’s hard to come to grips with the notion that no matter how badly you try, no matter how much you struggle with the weights, the muscles just won’t appear. They evade you continuously.
I have to conclude that muscles just come naturally to some people, they develop after tremendous effort on the part of a few others, and for some, like me, it’s just not going to happen. Ever. There never will be the weight lifting contest I enter with a realistic shot of winning. In fact, there won’t be a single weight lifting contest I could enter where I didn’t look like the index finger of the guy next to me that fell off.
In fact, there won’t be any weight lifting contest I enter, period.
I sigh poetically, then realize I can live with that … I suppose. I have friends who are allergic to cats, and I feel so bad for them, because I’m a cat lover and I’d hate to miss out on my kitties.
I have friends who can’t eat oysters or risk getting deadly sick. I love oysters, raw, steamed, in a salad, you name it. Another thing I wouldn’t want to miss out on.
For me, it’s weights. They don’t like me. Never have. And they resist me.
These days, I’ve been resisting them, too. Maybe I’ll get into another one of my “I can do this, I know I can” moods one of these days, but right now I’m not there.
And in the meantime, I’m eating my protein and getting on the treadmill and burning off calories like I always do at my gym, and occasionally I’ll glance over at the weight rack and wonder, what it is about me that you just don’t like?
Contact Mike Freeman at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.