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Overcoming My Weight Lifting Fears

Posted Dec 22 2012 7:00am

My last post was about facing my fears with the latest lift I was working on. You can see it below or click here . I realized that I should update you with the outcome, I had hurt myself and then I was afraid to perform the lift again on my own. 

It was a split jerk , it was heavy and I was sore. I weigh 128 pounds, I was supposed to do this with 115 pounds, that's quite an accomplishment. But I am trying to grow, trying to get stronger, trying to improve. Lifting small light weights is not going to accomplish any of my goals. None.




The top things that pop into my mind as I write:

As a child of about 12, acting on an urgent whispered request by my mother, I grabbed a loaded 45 revolver and held it with both hands  pointed at the head of a man, who was standing outside our front door at night as my mother was on the phone with the police.   

At the age of 16, being the first to stop at a horrible accident, where a motorcyclist had crashed head on into an automobile,  the bloodied cyclist was laying in the middle of the road with compound fractures of both legs and pelvis. As I approached to help, I discovered it was my own baby sister (she spent several months in the hospital, and a year in a body cast, but is alive and well...and still rides motorcycles).


At the age of 28, walking into my home in Los Gatos, after the  Loma Prieta earthquake  only to find almost all of my belongings destroyed. 

At 32, rushing my 3 week old son to the hospital for emergency surgery to save his life. 

At 47, assisting my mother at the end of life, administering morphine and watching cancer slowly take her away.

Three years later, being the same caregiver to a friend suffering the same horrible cancer. It was like a dream as I moved through the motions from memory.

These are some of the major life experiences that have caused me to feel fear. They have made me stronger, I am a survivor in every way. 


I am strong, I feel that I can handle anything now.

I tend to do things now that challenge me, a boring sedate life is not my idea of "living".

Fast forward to last Tuesday, when I was afraid to do my lifts because I had hurt myself the week before. I convinced myself I would do better this time, that there was no reason why I couldn't do it.

I had done it with Roy, I am strong, I am capable, but my mind gets the better of me. 

Tuesday I woke at 4:00 am as usual. I made my meal replacement drink and grabbed my supplements and sat at the computer to wake up. At the correct time, I went to my car to uncover it. Although it is in the garage, It is a convertible and I always keep the top down and Thor, our cat likes to sleep in it, so it has a car cover on it to keep him from scratching the paint. 

I opened the garage door and started to uncover the car, I started to feel nauseous. You know the feeling immediately, you start to produce copious amounts of saliva at the back of your mouth, along the sides of the tongue. It's difficult to swallow, your throat is constricted. Your stomach starts to churn, it seems to have a life of it's own.

I thought I should lay down a minute, something wasn't right. I went into the dark living room and curled up on the couch. I knew right away this was not going to go away, my mouth took on that sour taste that indicated imminent vomit. 

I ran to the bathroom and violently threw up my meal replacement along with all the supplements, the whole pills bobbed in the dark, chocolate mess that filled the toilet. 

I was sweating, I curled up on the floor and refused to stay there, I had an important workout to complete and I would do it, no matter what. I refused to stay home "sick". Anyway, I was sure it was a mind game I was playing on myself, I don't get sick, I made myself sick with worry.

I got the newspapers from the end of the driveway, and put them in the house for David as I always do. I got in the car, top down, even though it was below 40 degrees outside, dark and cold. 



At Gold's Gym, I warmed up and stretched, and started into my lifts. I would not acknowledge my fears, I refused to let them cripple me and prevent me from accomplishing my goals. As instructed, I was to perform 5 sets of 5 split jerks at 115 pounds. I really have to rest in between, they are explosive and involve every muscle in my body, they take everything out of me.



I did one set, then a second, a third, a fourth. I almost did a fifth, I stopped at the 3rd rep. I could not physically continue  and I do know when I should stop for safety reasons, I had no one to spot me and I did not have bumper plates, I was using iron weights and cannot drop them. I racked the bar and felt extremely accomplished. 23 reps of 115 pounds, up over my head. I only shorted the set by 2 reps. It was good, it was really good.

I moved to my second exercise which is a dumbbell shoulder press at a 30 degree incline. I had 45 pound dumbbells in each hand. I was to do 5 sets, 8 on the first set then 10 on the rest. Time under tension was long, I was to do these very slowly, each rep should last 40 to 45 seconds.


I did it, I did it all. 


As I rested in between sets, a man stopped by on his way out. "I was watching you, that was hard, really hard back there. You did a good job." I thanked him, I knew I did a good job, I overcame a huge fear, I am no longer afraid of hurting myself again.

I met Roy today and we did the same thing, he changed the foot stance a bit, but I was not phased, it's old hat now.

I think I only have one fear left, and its not one I plan to work on overcoming.



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