It had been about a year, since I had been in the gym for a workout. I kept getting busier with my responsibilities at work and as a single parent, and there was just so much for me to do upon my return home from work. I invested in a higher-ended Olympic bar, some plates and a set of kettlebells, and tried my best to stay in shape. My endeavor to do more pull ups had pretty much exposed the lack of totality of my workouts, and I decided to head back to my gym for a few workouts per week.
I began working out my entire body with each visit to the gym, back when I was still a law student, working full time. I was fortunate to have been able to exercise while I was working and attending law school after work, but the luxury of “leg days”, and “chest days” vaporized once the reality of the law school experience hit me in the face; concessions had to be made.
Old habits die hard, and I’ve kept up my “whole body” weightlifting workout ever since. I now get up early in the morning (before my son rises), and throw around the dumbbells and Olympic bar for about an hour, at home. I still do these movements at home, because I don’t have to wait to use a particular poundage of dumbbells, nor do I have to wait around (by performing other exercises out of sync) for a bench to become available. The gym can get a bit crowded, and there’s no dedicated powerlifting area to perform overhead lifts, nor can I grab an Olympic bar to perform one-ended elliptical movements or the more ballistic push-and-catch one-ended Olympic bar movement.
Once my at-home weightlifting workout is done, I normally prepare breakfast for my son, and get my lunch together for the day, get cleaned up, and commute to work. On the weekends, I normally get cleaned up, and ride my motorcycle to the gym. Once I get to the gym, I work the plate-loaded pulldown machine, the rowing machine, cable pulldowns, and perform at least three sets of dips. I then move onto my leg workout, which consists of leg extensions, and the plate-loaded leg press machine. The plate-loaded leg presses are immediately supplemented by a set of jumping squats, between sets. I find a way to perform at least three sets of pull ups during my time at the gym. I’m normally dripping sweat, by the time I’m halfway through my workout (after about 30 minutes). I finish up my workout by stretching on the mats.
A curious sense of peace seems to come over me, toward the end of my workout. My gym workout lends a sense of Zen-like singleness of purpose for me. I’m one with my workout, and I can concentrate upon the tasks at hand. There are the occasional greetings to old friends, and small talk with those with whom I would share an apparatus, but –for the most part- I do my own thing. I was, at once, made aware of just how much I’d subconsciously missed this part of my life. The ever-increasing weight of the shroud of the everyday pressures of living my workaday life as a public school teacher, and as a single parent slowly dissolved with every set I performed. The meditative effect of “zoning out” with regard to my gym weightlifting experience was almost liberating. I could feel my energy recharged, and a strange, almost vibrant sense of hope for all parts of my life.
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