Another Way for Artists To Torture Themselves: Weightlifting

Young woman with exaggerated frown, hands extended forward in a thumbs-down motion.There I was, attempting not to grunt while lifting weights on our weight equipment, which is conveniently located in our windowless storage room in the basement. I was afraid that grunting would release the energy my pecs needed to push 50 lbs in to the air, preventing me from lifting the weight I’d recently allowed myself to graduate to, i.e., after six or eight months at 40 lbs. Or maybe it was a year. Anyways, it was a long time and I was damn proud of myself for making it to 50 lbs.

I’m not a hard body – according to my FitBit scale, I’m 28.5% fat. But as the weight increased, so did my pride. Leg press: 100 lbs. Lateral pulldown: 70 lbs. Row-related exercise: 70 lbs. There was a problem, though: I hated every moment of it.

For two years, I woke up before 6:00 a.m. (varying schedules throughout those two years) to lift weights, and for the last few months, I was becoming aware of slight nausea every morning. To me, that meant that my body was beginning to rebel against this agonizing morning workout. I couldn’t blame it! Repeatedly counting up to 12, doing that three times, and then changing the exercise but not the counting routine was hardly meditative (despite what I was trying to tell myself) or invigorating (despite…same thing). Moreover, my knowledge of weightlifting was limited, so my exercises rarely changed.

If you’re a parent or somehow a caregiver in your own home, you know the importance of those quiet mornings. I love them, and they’re why I often get up at 5:30. (Now if I can just make sure I’m in bed by 10:15…) So why in God’s name was I spending that time doing something I hated?

I know I demonstrated wonderful self-discipline sticking to that, but I wonder if I was too scared that exploring other exercise options would lead me to lose my routine? Or did I really enjoy torturing myself like that? Or did I derive some kind of pride from being a woman who lifts weights?

Whatever my motivation was, I finally stopped and switched over to yoga. The change has had a huge impact on my busy schedule (I freelance, work part-time, have a hubby, and together we’re trying to raise two energetic boys). If I have to tend to a kid at night, my yoga routine the next morning is five minutes. If I wake up at 5:30 (always my goal), it’s closer to 30 minutes or even more. It’s easier to hold my shoulders back at the computer, my hip joints are looser, and my flexibility is increasing again. I even happily do a short yoga workout on many weekends.

Have you ever stuck it out with something you’ve hated for far too long? What happened when you quit? Did the world fall apart as you’d worried?

One thought on “Another Way for Artists To Torture Themselves: Weightlifting

  1. Pingback: Sore Shoulders, Motivation, and Writing | Writer Lori Straus' Blog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s