My Fitness Journey Part 3

It was the Spring of 8th grade.  My junior high days were coming to an end.  I had just finished track season and had a rare couple of months with no scheduled sport or activity.  I remember the number one song on the radio was Man in the Mirror by Michael Jackson.  I remember being at a crossroads in my own life.  I was in the middle of the boy-to-man transition.  This is a tough time for any adolescent.  It is a time of self discovery.  Really, for me it was a time in my life when I had to decide who I was going to be, what I was going to stand for and ultimately a chance to build my self-esteem.  Spiritually I was strong but needed to match that strength physically.

I would like to say that it was all about this deep physical and spiritual journey.  But like I said, this was a transition from boy-to-man and girls played a significant role in this process.  I decided that I wanted to get stronger and more muscular.  I wanted a better physique.  So in mid April, me and a couple of friends joined the local gym about a half a mile down the street from the school.  We would change after school in the locker room and walk to the gym everyday.  We strutted down the street like we were made of nothing but 300 lbs of pure, rock hard muscle.  We suffered with severe cases of what I call "imaginary lat syndrome."  This is disease that strikes many young men when they first start working out.  It is when you walk around with your arms puffed out like you are too muscular to hold them at your side.

We didn't have a clue as to what we should be doing that first week or so.  We would just do some bench press, leg extensions, bicep curls, or anything else that made us look cool.  One of the trainers there finally had enough and wrote us out a program.  You know the classic 3 x 10 split body part routine.  None of the movements we were doing had any functionality to them but we didn't know the difference.  As far as we were concerned, we were getting bigger, stronger and were going to impress the girls that much more.  We felt like we were separating ourselves from the average. 

That is what that experience was all about.  Don't get me wrong, we were getting stronger and more muscular but the physical transition paled in comparison to the change we were really making.  We trained to build our bodies but the strength we built was our self-esteem.  I went from being slightly insecure and unsure of myself to walking a little taller and being more confident to stand up for the person I was and was becoming.  I guess that song fit perfectly into what I was going through at the time.  For me to be happy and become the person I wanted to be, I had to first start with the "Man in the Mirror."

My Fitness Journey Part 1 & 2

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