I got my first gym membership, at LA Fitness, almost two years ago at the tender age of 36. That feels late to me. It’s not that before that I was out of shape. I was fairly athletic through high school and one year of junior college basketball. Growing up I also played baseball and ran track. In my twenties I slacked off a bit. I was married with kids. You have to work 10 hours a day, pick up the kids, the kids like to eat, then you got to go to Ikea, then you really need to do this, you got that thing all next week, and then there’s blah, blah, blah blah…
Either way, when I hit 30 I began to start moving again. Pick-up basketball, martial arts and P90 X all helped me lose about 40 pounds gradually between the ages of 30 and 32. In the summer of 2015, looking for something new to do, I decided to get a gym membership at the LA Fitness across the street from my office. I’d always wanted to lift weights, but if I was being honest…the weight room always intimidated me…..stop laughing!
I went to Broad Run High School in Ashburn, Virginia and graduated in 1997. The school is over 40 years old, and when I went there it was undergoing one of many rounds of renovations. During my freshman year, the athletic facilities were “spartan” at best. The weight room was small and rusty, had terrible lighting, and smelled like copper and sweat. The school colors are maroon and gold, so the shitty lightning and heavy use of maroon decor made the whole thing feel dungeonous. Yes, I sound like a (fill in the blank), but I was a kid and the concept was completely foreign.
For the most part, only football players and wrestlers lifted weights back then. Weight training in basketball was just becoming a thing when I was in high school and some coaches just didn’t incorporate it, or were old school and thought it would adversely effect your shot, and quickness. The time I spent in the weight room was minimal. I did leg presses and extensions occasionally during mandatory preseason programs. There was nothing voluntary about it.
Plus, the weight room was full of aggressive and confident people, and I was neither of those things. Then, you had “Coach” – we all had a “Coach” – who walks around the weight room like Joe Pesci in Goodfellas, with his size medium Bike shorts and tucked in short sleeve collared shit – complete with pocket. He’s buzzing around crushing that piece of nicorette and fixing techniques before he stops, hops on the bench and bangs out 10 reps of 225. The guy was 57, smoked a pack a day and was ripped. He scared the fuck out of me at the time. Today, I’d call him a badass but at the time the whole thing intimidated me.
Today, weight training is a key part of my overall fitness plan. I like lifting weights, and over the course of the past year and a half, I’ve seen a lot of changes in my body. More than anything though, lifting weights and working out provides me with a mechanism to release all of the extra weight that my shoulders accumulate during the course of the day. For me, it’s almost meditative. Playing basketball gives me the same type of feeling. You’re locked in and focused. Nothing else matters and you can escape for as long as your body can endure. Your brain is releasing hormones, and you feel good. And, that feeling lasts. For me, typically until I fall asleep hours later. It’s awesome.
Joe Rogan and Dr. Rhonda Patrick had a great conversation about the non-physical/cosmetic benefits of working out back in January. The whole podcast is great. As with most of what Joe does, I highly recommend it. A lot of great information related to health and nutrition.
Be happy and healthy. Peace