Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Get Away From Zero

A high school history teacher of mine used to impress upon his students the need to "get away from zero." What he meant was that partial credit, half credit, whatever it took to get away from zero percent was crucial to one's grade. A fairly obvious statement, it may seem, but it stuck with me throughout my academic career and is now a big part of my lectures to my students.
In the same vein, my immediate plan, a day-to-day sustaining plan, is to get away from zero. While I will obviously be staying away from calf raises, running, and the like for a while-the doctor has thrown on six months from the surgery date as a target date-I want to feel like I am in some increasing strength.
One of the things I have missed the most during my convalescence has been the ability and the freedom to work out, to lift weights. Until today, I had not lifted weights in a little more than five weeks.
There is something in the thirty-year-old psyche that sees any "day off" from exercise and strength training to be a loss. There is no neutral in the thirty-year-old plus psyche. There is only reverse, and a day that does not feature a machine in Drive means a step backwards.
As hard as it is to gain strength and definition at my age, these five weeks off have clearly shrunk my muscles. We have the human need to stave off the spiderwebs, to start that line on the graph in its proper trajectory-up and to the right, baby!
That's why, today, "Storage Wars" on in the background, it felt so dang good to do sixty reps with the left, sixty reps with the right, a simple military press. Yes, the dumbbell was fifteen pounds.
Fifteen? It's more than zero, right?

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