Weightlifting: Anyone Ready for a New Max?

Archive Post: Original blog post and comments can be found at http://feyisolas-inspiration.weebly.com/1/post/2011/07/weight-lifting-are-you-ready-for-a-new-max.html

Anyone who knows me for real, for real knows that for some weird reason, I've always liked weight lifting. Its weird because I'm not an athlete, and there's no specific BMI/max/contest that I'm trying to enter. I just always thought it was interesting. Before I go any further, I also have to tell on myself because I haven't been to the gym in months and have been sticking to simple at home stuff because life's been hectic, but by God's grace, that will change soon!

Weight lifting has been on my mind for at least the past week. I think that its partially because I am recognizing to get my rear back in gear, but also because you can learn a lot about hard work through lifting weights. The most constant and intense times that I had with weight lifting were when I was in high school and took early AM gym. I decided to take up AWT (advance weight training) instead of anything else because I was just not trying to be outside that early in the morning. I had no experience in the weight room though, so it was pretty embarrassing starting out lifting the bar with only 2.5 lb weights on them like I was trying to do somethin. SMH. So I started working really hard, and realized that if I kept a goal of getting a new max on either a lower body or upper body day a week, I could get somewhere. And getting somewhere was particularly special in high school because a new max was rewarded with jolly ranchers!! Yes, that serious. 

I recall one particular day in my high school's weight room more than any other day. It was my gym final. Now, most gym finals frankly are a joke, but this was no joke for me. I knew that the summer was just a week away. I came to the end of the road(for that year anyway) and I needed to make it count. I just wanted that new max on my power clean day, and it was not going to be easy because this is a particular challenging exercise involving a lot of coordination(google it if you're not familiar). To get a new max, I had to lift 5 reps of 100 lbs on my 3rd set.............mind you, I only weighed 125lbs at the time. I remember my first 3 reps were super hard, I almost gave up after the 1st one really. And then I failed when I tried my 4th rep and had to drop the bar. At this point everyone in the room stopped their workout to watch me. I was so ready to be like that's it. I'm not gonna injure myself over it. I've been getting new maxes all semester, that should count for something and I started to just walk away.

I'll never forget though how my partners refused to stop yelling at me to pick it back up. "You're not gonna give up now!" "C'mon Fey, let's get it! We need this new max!" "Girl, you better not give up! C'mon, let's go, you're wasting time!" 

And suddenly, I felt like I could do it. I felt like I could try again. And mind you, this all happened over the course of about 10 seconds, but that was enough to get me back at it again. I was able to finish that 4th rep, and I just barely completed the 5th......I literally had to push, grunt and just use every ounce of energy in me to slowly finish that 5th rep. The process was not easy or pleasant, but the A+ and extra jolly rancher (thats right, I got an extra one!) was so so worth it afterwards. I was beaming for the rest of the day!

Now did I share that story with you all just to show you that I have a little beast in me? Of course not. (Well.........maybe a little bit, lol). But really I wanted to relate it back to a few things that come up in our Christian walk. 

1)Sometimes extreme discomfort comes before a major victory: 
"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning" ~Psalm 30:5 
I can not describe how I felt in the middle of lifting for that new max. I always looked at those huge muscle people in the gym grunting and heaving and making weird sounds while lifting half the weights in the room and would say to myself,.........."um, no. I can't be doin all that. It's just not cute." But at the end of the day, I really had to put everything aside and get uncomfortable and step out of my comfort zone and do whatever possible to get that new max regardless of what people around thought. We have to be like that too in our walk and be ready to do whatever God calls us to do regardless of what the people around think. Noah had to set aside everything he was doing to focus on building an arc that everyone laughed at. Couldn't have felt good at the time, but at the end of the day that same discomfort brought victory to his household, and everyone else humbled themselves and tried to ask him to help save them later. See at the end of the day, those same people who mock/look down on you for doing things God's way will respect you, or come to you for help once they see the victory in it. Let's walk by faith, even when it brings discomfort that those who don't have faith yet see the fruits in the end, and want to follow in that Christian walk later on.............Amen?

2)We absolutely have to encourage AND rebuke each other
"Let him know, that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins" James 5:20
There's no way that I would have gotten that new max if I didn't have my friends screaming down my back that day. And I say it that way for a reason. It was not soft spoken at all...............it was real and what I needed to hear at the time and not sugar-coated. Too many times, we choose not to correct people and tell them what they need to know to grow because we're afraid that they might not like it. That's like the spoiled brat kid on TV sitcoms who's tearing stuff up, cursing out adults, or morbidly obese and when the hosts ask the parents about it, they complain about how the kids cry or get upset when they're disciplined. I know everyone has seen one of those, and we all scratch our heads or shake our heads because we wish the parents understood the value of discipline. Well, let's be our brother and sister's keepers too. We don't need the same blood---we have the same Christ. Let's not be rude about it and wag our fingers, roll our eyes and get the necks jerkin, but let's challenge each other and encourage each other out of love to press closer to the mark. Amen?

3) Being stagnant reverses everything. We must keep pushing: 
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith." ~Hebrews 12:1-2
This point will definitely have me telling on myself, but its worth it if it can help someone. I mentioned earlier that I haven't been to the gym in months, and that has been a trend since I've been out of school. I've had times where I disciplined myself to be on a regiment for months, then fell off because life hit me for months and started losing muscle mass. The interesting thing about it is that its not like the issue was that I put myself on a McDonalds diet or anything. It's that I stopped pressing forward, because of other things which I spent my time on, so the effects on my body started reversing. I didn't gain weight or anything, but I've lost significant muscle mass, and when I do go back to the gym, I'm going to have to start at a lower max than I was at when I left off. This is so similar to that Christian walk, and I fall guilty of this sometimes too. When we first get saved you can not get enough of the Bible, and church and telling everyone about your new best friend. But some time later on, you get a little complacent and tired. You see a few rips on your arm so you're like 'I'm good.' You don't exactly go back to the club or drugs or wherever you were before, but you also are not as excited or diligent about spending time with God............................and one day you wake up and wonder......."wait, where did my pecks go? What happened to my zeal for God?" I'm talking to myself here too. We have to keep pushing to that new max, lest we fall behind.

I don't know about you guys, but after all that, I'm pumped and I'm off to join a gym(both real and spiritual).........I'm tryin to get that rear in gear!who's with me?