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Surprising yourself

Wes Yeary

Level 2 Valued Member
My apologies if this has previously been covered, but I did something tonight that I never imagined I could do, and it got me to thinking.
I've been doing Mass Made Simple for a while now, and I'm on workout 11 of 14. Tonight, I needed to do a "max double" bench press. My previous max double was 130 lbs, which was a couple weeks ago. Tonight, I loaded up 135 and easily got 2. I put on 5 more lbs, and that was pretty easy, too. I put on 5 more lbs, and that was my max double. But seeing as it was 145 lbs, I thought, "I know I can get 150 lbs for one." And I did. It did have a sticking point, but it went up pretty smoothly. I never in my wildest dreams ever imagined I could bench press 150 lbs.

I know these numbers are paltry compared to many of you, but they're not for me. I was 15 yrs old before I ever weighed 100 lbs, graduated high school at 115, hit 120 at about 25 yrs old, and until this program, had never weighed more than 140 lbs. I'm 5'9", so average male height.

So, in light of that, what's one thing fitness related that stands out to you, something you've accomplished that made you say to yourself, "You know, I didn't think I could ever do something like this"? Doesn't have to be a pr or anything, just something you surprised yourself with doing.
 
Congratulations!

My recent celebration was; being able to execute a not so bad form chin-up to the chest. Chin ups and pull ups are not my weakest link, but still I felt like I have almost zero strength in between the range from chin to chest. And I have done it with surprisingly little amount of time investment but with consistency in two, three months.

Another one is, being able to do again a not so bad toe touch, modified pigeon stretch.

Being proud of small personal achievements that once seem impossible is a great feeling :)
 
I pulled 184kg at a weight of 80kg on my 50th birthday after a couple years that began with a max of barely 50. I was proud of the strength I’d achieved but so much prouder (and pleasantly surprised) that I’d stuck it out and played the long game after having been pretty flaky as a younger man

Getting to 10 pull-ups was a close second and probably harder
 
Last week was changing out the jug in our shop watercooler. Was telling a coworker I changed one out once with one hand, without placing elbow on hip or any contact between upper arm and rib cage.

"Like this" and the jug floated right up and stayed there. Didn't think I could still do that.
 
I pulled 184kg at a weight of 80kg on my 50th birthday after a couple years that began with a max of barely 50. I was proud of the strength I’d achieved but so much prouder (and pleasantly surprised) that I’d stuck it out and played the long game after having been pretty flaky as a younger man

Getting to 10 pull-ups was a close second and probably harder
When you begin a couple of years ago, were you coming back from a few years long lay off or a long sedentary period?
 
I’ve been doing 5x5 reload and weights that felt heavy last year are feeling stupid light now after grazing over the same weights again for a 5x5. I’m training smarter and just listening to my body to pay attention to my bodies signals to back off. Recently I decided to pick up a 215 pound atlas stone that before I had struggled to get off the floor and I was able to pick it up and stand with it with relative ease.
 
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When you begin a couple of years ago, were you coming back from a few years long lay off or a long sedentary period?
Neither. I spent my 20s-early 40s alternating between running, cycling (and nursing injuries sustained while running and cycling). Started lifting in the winter to become better at those sports but within a year or two, I fell in love with strength training for its own sake
 
Neither. I spent my 20s-early 40s alternating between running, cycling (and nursing injuries sustained while running and cycling). Started lifting in the winter to become better at those sports but within a year or two, I fell in love with strength training for its own sake
Btw I did not recognize you are already a “certified instructor”. I think you are a great example of the damaging (in your case lack of damage) effects of being sedentary. Although your sports were not directly related to lifting weights, you were not sedentary and hence I believe is one of the reasons of your quick progress. It is still inspiring, very soon I hope to overcome damages of sedentary life and I believe my beginner gains will last longer than normal as a result.

Ps: One positive side of the damages created by a sedentary life is, they are usually reversible unlike some serious injuries. (Trying to motivate myself and beloved sedentary friends, indeed yes some of the sedentary life damages could very well be irreversible after certain level)

Congratulations again.
 
Btw I did not recognize you are already a “certified instructor”. I think you are a great example of the damaging (in your case lack of damage) effects of being sedentary. Although your sports were not directly related to lifting weights, you were not sedentary and hence I believe is one of the reasons of your quick progress. It is still inspiring, very soon I hope to overcome damages of sedentary life and I believe my beginner gains will last longer than normal as a result.

Ps: One positive side of the damages created by a sedentary life is, they are usually reversible unlike some serious injuries. (Trying to motivate myself and beloved sedentary friends, indeed yes some of the sedentary life damages could very well be irreversible after certain level)

Congratulations again.
Thanks, Ege! You’re right that I wasn’t sedentary but I made a lot of mistakes because I didn’t think very carefully about my training: I just ran or rode hard until I got sidelined by injury and then I’d sit around feeling sorry for myself until I’d healed up enough to (as Brett Jones likes to say) “rinse and repeat.”

I credit Jim Wendler, Pavel, my coach Betsy Collie, and the rest of the StrongFirst community for helping me figure out that training is something to do thoughtfully rather than impulsively. Wendler’s 5/3/1 helped me get stronger and taught me the value of playing the long game. When I switched to KB training during Covid, my SF experience taught me how much I still have to learn about strength and effective movement. It’s not an exaggeration to say that my first kettlebell and Pavel’s ETK changed my life.

So I guess now my “wow” moment is to ask why the hell I haven’t thanked everyone on this forum before now!

Thanks
 
Mine was when I was redoing the gym. Years before when I had set it up, getting 2’x3’ rubber stall mats in was a chore, that wrecked me. I was switching them out for a thicker 4’x6’ and was prepared for them to just murder me, I was legit planning on getting them into the house one day then into the correct room the next. Instead I moved those sons of bitches with ease and was fresh after.
 
One day while messing around probably 13-14 years ago I decided to see if I could one-arm snatch a barbell with a big plate on each side. I did it without much issue and balanced the bar at the top with my one arm above my head for a few seconds. I think the couple people in the gym who saw me do it were as astonished as I was.
 
One day while messing around probably 13-14 years ago I decided to see if I could one-arm snatch a barbell with a big plate on each side. I did it without much issue and balanced the bar at the top with my one arm above my head for a few seconds. I think the couple people in the gym who saw me do it were as astonished as I was.
I used to do that in my backyard back in 2012/2013. I worked up to triples with 155. I stopped at some point, and have since learned how crazy that was and am too scared to try that again. ROFL
 
Bought a set of 4 grippers approx 1 month ago. When I bought them was able to close the first but not the second, seemed to be terribly difficult.. Now can do sets of 5 on the second one. Restrained myself and got plenty of rest days. Chuffed. Newbie gains is alive and well.
Are they the Captains of Crush grippers? I have a few of those. Used to be able to close the #2, but don't practice much anymore. Can still close the 1.5 pretty easily, though.
 
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My apologies if this has previously been covered, but I did something tonight that I never imagined I could do, and it got me to thinking.
I've been doing Mass Made Simple for a while now, and I'm on workout 11 of 14. Tonight, I needed to do a "max double" bench press. My previous max double was 130 lbs, which was a couple weeks ago. Tonight, I loaded up 135 and easily got 2. I put on 5 more lbs, and that was pretty easy, too. I put on 5 more lbs, and that was my max double. But seeing as it was 145 lbs, I thought, "I know I can get 150 lbs for one." And I did. It did have a sticking point, but it went up pretty smoothly. I never in my wildest dreams ever imagined I could bench press 150 lbs.

I know these numbers are paltry compared to many of you, but they're not for me. I was 15 yrs old before I ever weighed 100 lbs, graduated high school at 115, hit 120 at about 25 yrs old, and until this program, had never weighed more than 140 lbs. I'm 5'9", so average male height.

So, in light of that, what's one thing fitness related that stands out to you, something you've accomplished that made you say to yourself, "You know, I didn't think I could ever do something like this"? Doesn't have to be a pr or anything, just something you surprised yourself with doing.
@Wes Yeary, power to you!

-S-
 
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