It is amazing how sometimes the smallest and most innocuous event can be a source of great motivation. I was in the gym bench pressing 135 pounds, while next to me a young man was pressing 225 pounds.
I would never have taken notice so caught up in my own development, but I detected a sneer, and a derisive expression as he looked at the differences in weights each of us were bench pressing. The highest I had been able to bench press at the time was 185 pounds, and did not have any desire to really go any further.
Now, I must take a moment before relaying the rest of the story, the slight I felt could have been just a figment of my imagination, but since I had felt it, it was very real to me. What probably propagated the thought, and made it take on a life of its own, the song that was playing . . .
Blind to You
“Wha mi say . . . F$#$#n Haters, ya know, Eh!”
I’m blind to you haters
Can’t touch me war instigators
Mi say, where is the love lately,
Ask you how the world ah run so
Said I’m blind to you haters
Can’t touch me rumors creators
Mi say, where is the love lately, Eh!
Ask you how the world run so
When tings dey pop off
Dem a smile and dey laugh
Dem would ah love to see you fall by the way-side
Dem all dig up your past, pray for you downfall fast
Dem trigger mouth pun blast, like dem nah have nuh pride . . .
What came over me at the time was hard to explain, but I felt as if he and all of the gym’s occupants, were laughing and judging me. I became determined to obliterate my paltry bench press of 185 pounds.
It has always been fortuitous for me that when I desire a thing, it appears. This came in the guise of Steve Shaw’s “Beef Up Your Bench Press 10×3 Workout Program”
Steve’s program was straightforward and easy to understand.
Bench Press: 10 sets of 3 reps, adding 5 pounds each week, and eliminating a set when it could not be completed. What made the program so beneficial, it contained complimentary exercises that would assist in increasing one’s ability to bench more weight.
So, each time I went to the gym, I put “Blind to You” on repeat and became oblivious to my surroundings as I worked on improving my bench press numbers. The program encompassed 16 weeks, so I started at 145 pounds. 5 pounds increment each week for the program’s duration, I calculated, would have me at the magic number of 225.
The 15th week something strange happened. I was 5 pounds from my goal when once again, the young man was on the bench next to me. Perhaps he had been there subsequent weeks, and I never noticed. He was now struggling to bench press 275 pounds. So instead of increasing by 5, I chose 10, and with the strictest of form, bench pressed 225 pounds, while the last verse of song blared through my Air Pods!
Said I’m blind to you haters
Can’t touch me bullshit creators
Mi say, where is the love lately
Uno can’t tell me nothing Mr. Envy
Use the talent and di voice whe God a send me
Nuff people out a road, a chattin and a friend me
But behind mi back dem wan end me . . .
I’m blind to you . . .
My wife asked me noting my accomplishment, “what did I need to do all that for. Are you competing to become Mr. Olympia?”
Her query started me thinking. Now that I had bench press 225 would I be content to stop there or try to beat the young man to 300 pounds?
I then reflected on my FIT journey. It was her who had gotten me started in the first place. It is a singular and most gratifying feeling of not having to hide one’s distended midsection. To walk into a gym and not only have the knowledge of all the equipment, but mastery and control of each.
Will I rest on my laurels and be content with 225? Will I get any more satisfaction from benching 300. Perhaps my wife was right, I do not need to, but the competitor in me has to.
I’m back in the gym. Blasting “I’m Blind to You” through my AirPods. About to bench press 230 pounds, on my way to 300!
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