Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What is Triumph?

When our favorite sports team wins the championship, we rejoice and sometimes celebrate their triumph.  And although we are enthralled to say that is our favorite team and they’re the champs, we really didn’t do anything that helped them achieve their success.

In reality, personal triumphs are much greater when we succeed in reaching a set goal.

I reached one of those goals.


While at Berea College in 1992, I met Brad Lewis at the local gym.  We became workout partners and good friends.  Our workouts at the gym were hardcore and leg day became his living nightmare.  Since my legs have always been the weakest place for me to gain size, I developed a regiment to put size on my legs as quickly as possible.  We worked legs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.  He cursed me every day.

After the second week of this, he came into the gym on Friday and was ready to work legs hard.  He said, “I was looking in the mirror as I was dressing, and I couldn’t believe it!  My legs have never had such cuts and size before.”

I kept a workout notebook and our goal was to eventually hit squats at 295 lbs.  I know, this isn’t much compared to the heavy power-lifters out there, but for us this would be a set goal we planned to reach.

Each of us had personal things going on that stopped us short of that goal.  His marriage.  My ex-wife, daughter, and college sidetracked us.  Soon after I met the woman that would become my life partner, and I moved back to Alabama.

But that goal haunted me.  I came across that old workout journal and saw the goal scribbled at the top of the leg regiment workout sheet.  Damn.  That was nearly twenty years ago.

Today in the gym, I looked in the mirror positioned behind the squat rack.  I did my warm up set of twenty reps at 135 lbs.  I felt good.  I slapped two more 45 lb. plates on the bar and did the next set.  Adding 50 more lbs., the goal suddenly came to mind as I finished the set and placed the bar on the rack.  Today’s the day, I thought.  I’m not getting younger, and tomorrow has been put off for way too long.

Adding twenty more pounds, I did three reps.  After placing the bar on the rack, I added twenty more.  I did three more reps and realized that I probably could have done that a long time ago.  Why had I resisted?  Perhaps it was the fear of hitting the goal and shooting beyond that?  I don’t know.  But I hit the goal and even went beyond that.

Were there people cheering me on?  No.  Just two other guys in the gym doing their workouts and not paying attention, which was okay with me.  I succeeded.  I surpassed the goal and was satisfied with my triumph.

What’s next?

Washboard abs sounds good.  We’ll see.

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