I’m back in the gym. I’ve been back for a little more than a month, lifting twice per week with my daughter Hannah. I’m trying to do for her what my father did for me, to teach her the basics of weight-lifting and of living a healthy, active lifestyle.
Meanwhile, I’ve been enjoying the change of pace. It’s taken some effort and more than a little patience, but I finally feel good in the weight room again, and I feel good in the water at the same time. That’s no mean feat. Swimming is the only upper-body intensive endurance sport, and balancing the need for aerobic and muscular endurance with a desire to lift with intensity is not particularly easy. It was when I was a kid, but now? Not so much.
I’m getting there. I’m slowly starting to lift a bit heavier, and I put in 10 x 200 @ 2:55 on Monday, holding just under 2:40/rep. This is a little like running half-miles on a track at an 8-minute/mile pace for five miles. Sure, you can do it when you’re in high school. Try it when you’re forty-two.
Now do a set of squats and try it. At age forty-two.
Like I said, I’m getting there. It’s taken some effort, and more than a little patience, but as I tell Hannah every time we go to the gym, “If it was easy, everybody would do it.”
I even picked up a copy of Muscle & Fitness magazine the other day, both because I feel that reading about lifting is part of the weight-room lifestyle and because I’m looking for ways to stretch and change the workouts that Hannah and I doing when we lift. And I gotta say, one thing jumped out at me immediately—all the fake boobs!
Holy cats, man. What is up with that? When did women bodybuilders start feeling like they needed to put balloons into their chests to look athletic?
It’s not natural. At all. It looks freaky, for real, and not in a good way.
Granted, I’ve been away from the weight room culture for a while now. I started lifting heavy when I finished swimming way back in 1995, but once Sally and I had kids—starting with Hannah in 2003—there wasn’t a lot of time for weight training. I came back to athletics when my dad died in 2007, but that was as a triathlete, not as a weight-lifter. I’ve spent the last few years trying to lose weight not put on muscle mass. In the meantime, it seems like the culture has changed dramatically.
So. The emphasis on nutrition is a plus, and Muscle & Fitness Hers is a thing now. That’s good. In general, it seems like the ladies are as into lifting as the men, which is a big switch from what I remember back in the 90s. It’s a positive change, though. It seems weird to me that the kids are all into squatting these days, but I get that they’re trying to work the booty. Hannah looked at me like I was crazy the other night when I told her that the key to having big arms was to work the triceps. She was like, “So? Who cares?”
It’s a different world out there. I get it. I’m old.
I still don’t understand why women need to put balloons into their chests to look “fit”. If anything, the damned balloons make it harder to tell how well-developed these ladies are, and I thought that was the whole point. What’s worse is that when my kids eventually start reading about weight-lifting, they’re gonna think that the Platonic ideal of a female body-builder has had implants put in.
This is what we’re pushing these days?