The Weight of Water

The last year in training has been bookended by two floods — two biblical, once-in-a-hundered-year floods – the type that sweep away homes and cars (or maybe the type that result in just enough water to seep into a basement to be expensive — I’m still emotional about it). The brilliant bronzed beech hardwoord flooring I had installed in my mancave was destroyed both times. I loved that floor, but nature had other plans. Flood me once, shame on you. Flood me again, well, er, you can’t be flooded again. Or so I thought. 

In the time between the two floods much had transpired in the next room — the modest two car garage converted into home gym. I had been working out and lifting weights with Cheryl for several years — just the two of us. Over that time, one may stop by for a session, have trouble finishing the workout, leave frustrated and never come back. In April that changed — a friend of ours was in need of a mental diversion — he asked to join one of our workouts and we gladly obliged. And so it began — for nearly 35 weeks straight a group assembled to lift, throw, push and pull, jump, run, squat and lunge. I think the neighbors were as much entertained as they were confused. Afterwards we would¬†barbecue¬†and empty kegs of homebrew. This was not a bad way to spend a summer.

As the days grew shorter and the temperature colder, attendance fell out, but a few core members stuck around — those being the other two ABG authors, Buck and Griz. You see, these group sessions were a catalyst for bigger change. Around September I started to take everything more seriously. I stopped drinking beer after training, dialed in my diet and shifted the workouts away from the 500-rep “grab bag” style sessions to focused, simplified movements with ramped up weight and intensity. Soon after the other two followed. Beer and pizza was replaced with protein and fish oil. We fed off each other and the change has been profound. In a few short months of dedicated training, everyone is deadlifting over 2x bodyweight and I’m 15lbs away from 3x. Griz owns every rowing record in the gym and most of the overhead lifting records, too. Perhaps the most important shift from all has been the gains in mental strength: this winter sucked horribly, and yet we trained in my cold garage 4 to 5 times a week despite the conditions. There was no compromise and now we’re reaping the rewards. Griz has discovered a love for weight training; Buck has lifted loads in weeks that took me years to pull, and I’m able to look at the concrete floors of my once beautiful mancave and know that this will be alright because “things” can be replaced and I’m still able to train another day — clarity discovered under the weight of the bar.




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