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No Number Defines Me

Doubt, fear, nervous, excited, pumped, confident, combative, pissed, sad, confused, and finally a little at peace and thankful. This is the cycle of emotions I went through when I did my last set of squats today.

I started off with the plan:

Sumo Deadlift (SS) 3 x 15
Stationary Alternating BB Lunges 3 x 12
BB Squats (SS) 3 x 12
Stability Ball Bridge 3 x 12
Stability Ball Reverse Extensions 3 x 20

I was in the middle of my first superset when Kelly, an ex pro football player/powerlifter tried to steal my squat rack. Our gym really needs to invest in another. I let him and his partner work in with me when I started my squats. It worked for me because they racked my weights.

I got kinda mixed up on my rep range and thought I was supposed to be doing 15, because I did that last week too. I went with 12, which was my original plan. Anyway… I worked one warm up set with the bar x 10 reps. I like to warm up to get my body and brain connected for the move when I go heavier. My first working set I went with 95#. Kelly was telling me to start with 135. I shook my head at him. I don’t need temptations; it’s like throwing alcohol in front of a recovering alcoholic. My second working set I jumped to 115 lbs. because I told y’all I was going to attempt 120-125 lbs. on my final set and possibly 135 lbs. All was good with the squats at 115 lbs. Now I just had to contemplate what weight to choose for the final set.

That’s when Kelly says “you got 135.” So many emotions ran through my head. Doubt was the initial emotion. Fear soon showed it’s ugly head and common sense and smarts? I’m not sure if they were present or not. I quickly convinced myself that I have jumped up 20 lbs before, plenty of times. I told Kelly, “I’ll do it only if you catch me. I don’t want to mess my back up anymore.” So with Kelly as my insurance for injury prevention I nodded… “Let’s do this!”

I set my iPod to How Low Can You Go by Ludacris, smiled at Kelly as he laughed at me and got my head right. The weight on my back felt good. I felt strong and sturdy. Kelly positioned himself behind me. And then down for rep one. Down for rep 2. Kelly told me I didn’t need him and he walked to the side of me. That just gave me more confidence. 3… 4… 5… 6… 7 and then they started lifting the bar off of me. I tugged back down on it to keep them from lifting it off of me. I yelled, “I’m not done!”

HIM: “You’re done.”

ME: “No, I’m not! I had more in me! I had plenty in me. I was going for 12!”

HIM: “I’m tellin’ you, you’re done.”

ME: “No, no, I wasn’t! I know my body!”

HIM: “Well I know what your back was telling me. You’re done.”

He told me he saw my back buckle and that’s when it’s time to stop.

I was so furious with him! He walked off and I was alone for a while. I contemplated grabbing the bar and finishing but in all honesty, I did feel my back when he took it. But I knew I had let my abs go. All I had to do was focus on that squeeze to regain composure. How could he just cheat me like that?

This thought process went on and on as I finished the rest of my workout. Not squats. I threw a silent temper tantrum and then the tears started coming. I went to the bathroom to calm down.

I had to think about this logically. I’m such an emotional creature it’s hard to see things sometimes. He did do what I asked him. I found him stretching before I left. I sat with him and asked him why he didn’t think I could tighten my abs back up. He said, “Maybe you could. But, rep 6 you buckled. Rep 7 you bowed. You were done. It’s not about the number.”

Funny how people say just the things you need to hear at just the moment you need to hear them. The last several weeks, months really, I’ve been thinking about how it’s not just a numbers game on the scale. It’s a numbers game in the gym. I have a bracelet Cooth gave me at the Raw Unity IV I had to skip out on. The bracelet reads: “NO NUMBER DEFINES ME”. When I struggle with numbers I wear it. It helps keep me centered. I’ve been wearing it to the gym when I am upset with where I am now. How I’m not lifting the numbers I want to. I don’t just let the scale’s number define me; I’ve been struggling with letting my lifting numbers define me.

Now that I’m calm, I’m glad Kelly did what I asked him. I’m glad he had my wellbeing as priority over a number. So let me turn this around right now. I squatted 135 lbs for 7 reps and 115 lbs for 12 reps the set before. When is the last time I did this?? I can’t even tell you. A year?

The journey for acceptance of who I am, where I am, in all my success and all my setbacks is still a work in progress. Sometimes it takes these setbacks to make me fully realize what’s important and in this case, that doesn’t make them a “setback” – they drive me forward.

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