It was with some sadness that I said goodbye to my barbell yesterday. My daughter, Cassie, adopted it because she can give it the love and attention I no longer can.
I remember the day I bought that barbell in June 2008. I felt so he-manish when I walked into the sporting goods store and handled the 20-pound curve bars. When I found one that felt good, I had no idea how to add weights, but the sales associate (Doug…very cute…very nice) showed me a variety of attachable plates and how to use them. I bought six of them, two of which I kept attached to the barbell.
When I brought the barbell, with its two attached plates and four unattached 2½-pound discs, into Cassie's house, Claire was thrilled to see HER “wheels.” She always played with them at my house, so she was super excited to have them in her house. I told her they were for the barbell and she told me, “No, Grammy, they are wheels for my car!” Who am I to argue with the imagination of a 2-year-old?
My barbell. It challenged me and sculpted my shoulders like no other hand weight or machine ever did, and I’ll miss the emotional high I got watching myself lift. And before you write that off as vanity, I totally believe it’s empowering to watch yourself work out. It also helps you catch flaws in your form. It might feel weird at first, but for me, seeing my body working from all angles helped me – and still helps me – see my body as it really is and not 20-170 pounds heavier I usually imagine it is. Besides, there’s nothing wrong with checking out your buffness. Be proud of your definition! Show it off, even if you’re the only one looking.
The reason for this change in barbell custody is that, as I wrote in my last Refuse To Regain blog (see “I Can’t Want To. I Can’t Like That.”), last week my doctor confirmed what I’d suspected for awhile: my arms are hypermobile/hyperflexible. This means that weight lifting with free weights and machines ultimately caused – or at least accelerated – the damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments in both my shoulders and biceps. Therefore, I’ve traded my hand weights and barbell for Thera-bands and will continue to strength train under the supervision of a physical therapist.
BUT…you won’t catch me boo-hooing. No way! I was afraid I’d have to give up strength training completely and watch my arms waste away and turn into sticks. Besides, Thera-bands kick ass. If you don’t believe me, get yourself a 3-foot length of the blue or red stretchy bands and check it out. While Thera-band won’t prepare me for powerlifting competitions, that was never my goal anyway. As long as can pick up my grandkids and keep my bones healthy, I’m as strong as I need to be.
Last week I started giving away some of the tools that helped me throughout my weight loss. The first was “Pure & Simple Stretch” with Karen Voight. This week, in memory of my barbell and hand weights, I’m giving away a four-pack of Dummies stuff. Two DVDS: “15-Minute Workouts for Dummies” and “Shaping Up With Weights for Dummies,” and two books: “Weight Training for Dummies” and “Stretching for Dummies.” The only criteria is, if you win, you either pass them on when you’re done (if you’ve found them helpful and can part with them) or keep them and donate a non-perishable healthy food item to your local food shelf. That’s it.
So post a comment or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to enter your name and I’ll draw a winner on Friday!