Posted by DmentD | Exercise,Links | Thursday 21 February 2008 9:03 pm

So, I’m about to begin my last set of squats… sumo squats.  I’m standing there with the bar across my shoulders, feet spread as far as the rack will let me go.  My legs having been already rendered near to jelly by a really good workout, and I’m wondering if I’ll make all the reps — or puss out a few shy of completion, when all of a sudden my iPod ticks over to Avenged Sevenfold: Bat Country.  The lead guitar rumbles out a chord that sounds like a Harley reaching critical mass as it plummets off a cliff, and the singer growls at me…

“He who makes a beast out of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man!”

Jesus… fuck!” I say as I start to dip into the squats, my body responding to the heavy, fast bass and drum line that follows.  My brain had nothing to do with it, it sat there useless, whining about how tired the body seemed to be.  I snapped out a few reps above and beyond what my goal was.

The music can make the difference, and put you in the right frame of mind — even for a few minutes.  Grant you, I don’t listen to what GonzO does when he works out… the kind of music that eats guitars and shits pure evil.  But I have some nicely fast paced, serious rhythm stuff in my arsenal.  Bat Country does it for me every time, and it has the side benefit of being (more or less) a tribute to Hunter S. Thompson — the weirdest sonofabitch to come out of modern American journalism.  The song is a nod to the book Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which opens with the same quote as the song, and does a pretty good job or representing the chaotic, drug induced roller coaster trip that propels the book.

And on that note, I’m going to drag myself along the carpet and get some dinner.  My legs seem to be experiencing technical difficulties.



  1. Everyone hates you.  :-)

    February 24, 2008 @ 8:23 am
  2. I’m sorry, I can’t hear you over the sound of how awesome I am.

    February 24, 2008 @ 8:56 am
  3. I’ve been there. I’m an old gym rat been power-lifting for longer than most of you have been alive. Motivation is a cruel mistress. I’m not trying to sound superior here only experienced. Believe me they are totally different. With all the years of heavy lifting I utilized many forms of motivation; music among them. I learned that there is a place deep inside all of us that waits for the mind to quiet so the body can act freely unhindered by the brain and its nagging doubts. It’s buried deep and takes discipline to reach it. I found it long ago when I was benching 2 ½ times my body weight. An older experienced lifter cautioned me away from that place. He told me, “I know where you are going with this. I’ve been there myself. You are reaching past your mind to a place of seemingly limitless potential.” He paused for effect the pulled his shirt off to reveal several long surgical scars crisscrossing his left shoulder and sternum. He then said, “It’s not limitless. The place you are reaching for is called insanity; and only pain awaits you there.” His point was well taken as I finished my chest workout where I just lifted a personal best of 565 pounds. During said workout I could feel the bones in my arms bending as well as my ribs and clavicles. I looked into the mirror as the roars of my spotter assaulted me ears seeing the newly broken blood vessels in my face and eyes and shook my head; knowing that the red spots placed there by the extreme exertion must be on the inside as well. I knew at that moment the old dude was right; I need to get off that train to insanity and listen to my mind. It might just know a little about a little thing called LONGEVITY. Now a days my motivation comes from an MP3 player and some well chosen audio books. Just a note, I can still out lift most all the young so called power-lifters in the gym now. I just keep it to myself and quietly do my thing.

    February 25, 2008 @ 3:09 pm
  4. Advice from you on weightlifting is sage indeed.  You have been lifting longer than most anyone here has been on this earth, so it would be a fool that that would dismiss what you had to say on the subject.  I don’t think I’ll ever be a power-lifter, though.  I know my body and mind well enough to know I don’t have the absolute discipline and single-mindedness it takes to get that strong.

    My goal is general strength and fitness, to make my body a more efficient engine to counter all the crap I have, and will, shovel into it, to make the fat burning cardio and other work I do more productive.  I also want a tighter shape that in no way resembles the tall, beaded amorphous blob I have been most of my adult life — I carry a lot of weight, even though I’m not shaped like a beach ball.  And, frankly, I’d be nice to have more practical everyday strength.

    I know that I do need all the little motivators I can heap upon myself, and frankly, I know I have the capacity to push myself a little harder that I usually do (not over the cliff… hell, not even the the cliff’s edge, but at least in sight of it).  The right music does help distract me from the muscle fatigue that comes from a normal, productive workout, and keeps me from making self-defeating excuses for not finishing a set, or not adding just that wee bit more weight when I know for a fact that I should be lifting more.

    I’m very conscious of the capacity for injury — from poor form or dropping a plate on my damn foot, all the way to pushing too far past the limit my body is at right then and there.  I’m downright paranoid about it, and I think that is slowing my progress a bit.  Frankly, I’d rather build muscle a little slower than shred it trying to show off and be a jackass.

    Oh, and damn if there isn’t a guy at my gym that looks just like you.  Every time I catch him out of the corner of my eye, I wonder what you’re doing there.  He’s got the same build, same graying hair, same mustache… everything.  Just freaky, man.

    February 26, 2008 @ 2:15 am

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