Competitiveness

Every fiftysomething woman should get herself a forty-year-old guy to drag to the gym.

Not because of the boy toy thing. No, it’s because I have always dogged it a little on straight-bar bench presses for fear of losing a day of work to a sore shoulder, but I am goddamned if I am going to let this guy get ahead of me, and I think that for the first time I am going to blow up two wheels on an Olympic bar.* I think it is beefing up my shoulders and triceps, which have not made a quantum leap since I adopted a daily set of handstand pushups a couple of years ago. He can spot me, it makes him work harder, and it doesn’t actually hurt too much the day after. If I don’t make dramatic gestures.

Like that one. Ow. Pardon me while I get the arnica.

A girl’s gotta show off every now and then.

_______
*The biggest plate in the gym (=”wheel”) is 45 pounds and so (roughly) is an Olympic bar, so this is kind of like stiffening up a freakishly tall, 135-pound fashion model and hoisting her aloft.

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19 thoughts on “Competitiveness

    • I always had a soft spot for Thor, and when I was pounding in campaign signs, was issued a four-pound maul which I promptly named Mjollnir, inscribing the name on the grip.

      In fact I’ve always wanted to try out blacksmithing — there is actually a forge run by a local club in a park where I always used to walk when I lived near it, but their classes always met when I was working — and I sing Siegfried’s Sword Song in the shower.

    • I have only ever been able to do eight reps to a set, and have yet to get my head to the floor, but it’s a blast. I started out with my legs hooked on the crossbar off a Smith machine, which makes it easier, and then straightened out. It’s like chin ups, you need the equivalent of training wheels to break into it.

    • I actually tried the chrome tone to disguise staining from playing around with streaking my hair with burgundy henna, but then liked the way it restored the contour that the flash bleaches out.

  1. Jee. Sus.

    I was actually thinking of you, Sled, on Saturday morning as my new personal trainer took me through the use of the weights (machines and free weights) in their small gym. And then I thought of you again the next day when everything was burning as the muscles repaired themselves.

    It ain’t easy, but it does feel good 🙂

  2. That is so cool the way you use the Smith machine as a way to ease into the handstand pushups and then you can go back and swing upside down to rest. There is no way on God’s green earth that I could ever attempt that, but I give you props, woman! Go easy on that 40-year old, okay? 😉

    • It really is not hard if you take it by stages. We all hung by our knees as kids on the jungle gym, you just start there and take some weight on your hands and then one thing leads to another.

  3. I admire your self-discipline.

    Pardon me ( I’m a newcomer to your blog), but how did you get interested in weightlifting?

    My mother has always been a workout queen and even took boxing for her balance (which left her in 1997), but since her stroke, she hasn’t been back to a gym.

    Now that she’s here in our town, maybe I should find a cute 50 something (since I’m almost 60) to help her out?

    • Boxing — whoa! I boast a youth boxing coach among my occasional clients and I’ve toyed with asking to take a few training sessions from him but always funked the idea because of the chance of hurting my hands.

      I think you could more say that weightlifting got into me at the genetic level — always was captivated by strength and physical will, rendering life pretty schizoid as I could also spend hours with a stack of books. I was always trying to bring off feats on the jungle gym (fell on my face a lot) and took up Yoga when I was nine or ten, using books from the library. Girls were supposed to be agile and quick, not strong, so I flunked PE (except for things like the broad jump) and people amused themselves by smashing balls in my face, and then I would beat the crap out of them, a fixture in the principal’s office.

      Smart girls who like books are supposed to go to college and be something, so I sort of did that, had to go to work after the BA, and couldn’t fight being in an office (I was always closing the door to do oddball calisthenics on the polyester carpet) so when I walked off a proofreading job I walked into a powder puff gym to teach the half-assed Yoga I knew, and they had Nautilus machines and a bodybuilding book by Lisa Lyon hanging around; I was dating a guy who bought me my own copy and a set of weights. He turned out to be a jackass of the first water but I still have some of those weight plates, even though I joined a real gym a couple of years later. I remember walking down the steps into a basement space lined with mirrors, paved with cheap carpet and smelling of jock straps and mildew, hearing plates clank together on bars and guys making dinosaur noises, and saying “Omigod, I’m home.” Never looked back.

      PS. Self discipline is possibly relevant but I feel so wretched when I don’t work out that it takes will power to refrain. Once I had a major abdominal surgery and they told me to stop lifting for three months. At the two month mark I went in to the gym to use, at least, the cardio equipment and I would slip over to the weight room and fondle the weights. OK, I’m weird.

  4. Sort of makes me wish I was back in the gym, but then I remember I’m doing krav maga and MMA and they let me punch people in the face. I can’t put an armbar on an incline bench, it doesn’t have any.

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