Woman posing with only the outline of her body showing in a "Victory" stance

How Showing Up Can Lead To Victory

I knew it was time. I had no exact plan but I understood what had to be done. I glanced at the clock and it was 11:15 AM. I got up from my desk and proceeded into my bedroom. “This feels so strange”, I muttered to myself.

I opened up my closet and looked for my gym clothes. I slipped on my shirt and shorts as my mind became foggier. I silently told myself over and over again: “Come on, Mike. You can do this!”

As I departed the closet I searched for my gym notebook. That is where I kept all my weekly/monthly workout routines while working out. It has always been a source of organization. Today was different; I had absolutely no plan.

My Upcoming Workout Routine

I knew what workout routine I wanted to start when I got back from my vacation. In order to do that routine, it made more sense to start it on a Sunday or Monday. Not necessarily on a Wednesday. My perfection complexion seemed to be getting in the way of me just getting started.

The routine I wanted to do required me to know exactly how much weight I should be using for each set. This new routine I had been eyeballing had different rep ranges for each set. What if I just focused on figuring out what weights I should be using?

First Day Back

Today was my first attempt to workout at my normal gym since my vacation. I’ve still been suffering from insomnia (See: Sleep Insomnia & My Body Doesn’t Want To Vacation To End) for the past week. No matter how tired I have been, I could never get more than three hours of sleep at night.

My eyes would instantly wake up thinking I had gotten over ten hours of sleep. But it was all bogus. As soon as I would wake up, I I could never fall back asleep. The moment I got out of bed, my body would want to go back to sleep but could not. This vicious cycle just doesn’t want to stop.

I had grown tired of this zombie-like ritual. I just wanted a fraction of my old self back. That’s why I was forcing myself to go to the gym.

Lifting weights on a limited amount of sleep is not a good thing. But I knew I had to do something to get back to being “normal”. I hopped in my car and drove to the gym.

It’s Just Like Riding A Bike

Little girl on her bike with training wheels

Isn’t it amazing how your body and mind tries to resist what use to come so naturally to you? For some it happens when they have kids. From the moment your kids are born, their lives take priority over what you use to do for yourself. One of the first things to go is all of your spare hobbies. If unprepared, one of those hobbies is your exercise routine. What you thought would turn into one week of skipping exercise, morphs into a full year. When you finally wake up and realize this, you attempt to go back to your workout routine. Isn’t it just awful! Anyone that’s been in a delay can relate to what I’m going through right now!

Once I got the gym’s parking lot, my tired body started to perk up just a little bit. “OK Mike, it’s just like riding a bike”. I swiped my card and proceed to walk upstairs to the gyms free weights area.

Up first was the bench press. The moment I slide those 45 lb. weights onto the barbell, old instincts started to come back. I warmed up with no problems. All my haziness seemed to vanquish. I supersetted the bench press with some cable rows. It felt just like old times!

I was careful not to go overboard with those two exercises because I had a full week’s worth of exercises that I wanted to test out. Next up was the upright row, triceps pullover and dumbbell curls. All were done with absolutely no problems!

“You’re doing good Mike. I think the weights you are using is not too far off from what you normally would be able to do!”

Squat Time!

Woman on a smith machine about to do squats

I was super excited! Now came time to test my lower body. The great Vince Gironda designed this routine I was testing out. Vince hated back squats! He always felt that if your goal was to look like a bodybuilder, back squats were not necessary due to them making your hips and glutes bigger! Something he felt that male bodybuilders should not be striving for if looking for a taper physique.

So his routine involved a different type of squat that emphasized the quadriceps muscles. He called it the special squat. For me to do it properly required me to use the Smith machine. Outside of calf raises, I never use the Smith machine.

Of course on the rare day I wanted to use the Smith machines, both of them were taken! “I knew it was too good to be true”, I said to myself. I could wait until the folks were done using them. But for me it wasn’t that serious. I saw both squat racks open and decided I would just do some back squats.

Even though my plan for this day was to figure out the weights needed for my new routine, I’m glad I was smart enough to realize that the real goal for the day was just to get back in gym mode. Doing a few sets of back squat was definitely needed to make me feel confident in working out again!

So I did some back squats supersetted with some chin ups. At this point, my insomnia was kicking in! By my second set I knew I was half the man I use to be! I still tried to do three more sets before calling it a day.

One Step At A Time

As I walked out the gyms door, with sweat dripping from my forehead I felt proud. Yeah, I was not my normal fit self but I had accomplished something on this day. Just this one small step will work wonders for getting me back on track. I still have my 2015 goal to accomplish. It’s days like today that will get me towards never giving up on that goal!