When we went on vacation in May, my father (whom we were visiting) urged me to consider weight lifting for my back pain. I knew he had cured his own mid-back pain many years ago, but since I’ve tried strength training many times over the years, I had given up, and besides, with having a child, I didn’t see how I could go to a gym. Plus, I thought, as I often have, “I could work out at home” (only, because it’s hard to find time when my little girl isn’t distracting me, I rarely do! And I also don’t have weight-lifting equipment, but I can do workout videos and body-weight routines.)
Dad is very persuasive. He told me it took years of work outs before he entirely corrected his problem. We think there’s a strong genetic component to our pain since many family members on my dad’s side have a spot in our mid-backs that pops out of place bringing us hunched posture we can’t fully straighten along with miserable pain. Dad told me of years (before he started with weights) when he could barely stand any length of time without grimacing. He said the improvement he found through the gym came, not suddenly, but as a gradual process.
To me the most persuasive thing was what Dad said had happened when he stopped working out. After decades looking fit and muscular while always faithful in the gym, Dad had, for a time, due to overwhelming work in his business, dropped his workouts. In that period, he had felt as though his body was “falling apart.” He developed aches and pains; he felt old beyond his years. He realized as fatigue increased that his workouts had been giving him far more energy than he would naturally have had. Yet, because he was so busy, he continued to put workouts on hold and he felt and looked worse and worse. It was like aging ten years in one.
At last he started again and he could see what weight training really does for him! Energy rose and his moods were happier and he could get more work done in less time. He decided it was just too costly to not work out. I had long assumed that my dad had good genes when it comes to strength and energy. Since I was only a child back when photos show he was skinny (with no noticeable muscles) and pain-ridden, I’d hardly given thought to what a dramatic change he had undergone. It was realizing that that change could be undone that helped me recognize the true potential lifting held for me.
I started thinking: maybe I just hadn’t ever stuck it through long enough. I’d gone months, but maybe months wasn’t enough. Or maybe I hadn’t maintained a steady two to three workouts per week for those months (Okay, I hadn’t).
Dad encouraged me that I could find a gym with a decent monthly rate and childcare included (actually, it turned out I had to negotiate to get a price range with childcare that I could afford and I also negotiated to have month-to-month membership at the same price per month as a year contract).
I had assumed I couldn’t afford a gym when so many other things were more important; now I was wondering how I could afford not to join a gym when it was important for so many things. And, yes, I started praying about it almost instantly.
Dad didn’t know it, but the greatest motivation of all was that I was pregnant. After three and a half years of infertility, I had at last conceived and I knew I wanted to be fit in pregnancy, having learned through past reading that being strong and fit is beneficial to bringing positive pregnancy outcomes and avoiding common pregnancy ailments.
I didn’t know I would miscarry upon arriving home from vacation before I even got to join a gym (but after I had found the one I wanted to join.) But the motivation lasted even though the pregnancy didn’t.
I’ll share next post why I’m so pleased with my workout results and about two awesome resources I found that I just can’t say enough about. I’m writing through sheer enthusiasm as I fall in love with doing squats, deadlifts, and step-ups in a great gym.