At the gym the other day I noticed a pair of women deadlifting at one of the platforms. They must’ve been attempting new PRs (personal record or personal best) because they were completing one-repetition sets in increasingly heavier weight.
At one point, the weight this young lady was lifting must’ve been meaningful, because her friend proceeded to take up a position not far away with her camera to record what happened next. From afar I watched as the young lady stepped up to the bar, set her feet, grabbed with a firm grip, got her torso in position, and then proceeded to lift the weight like it weighed half as much as she was expecting.
As she set the weight down, her arms shot into the air faster than the *clank* of the weight touching the floor dissipated from the air. She jumped up and down as her friend approached to give her a congratulatory hug. Together they celebrated and watched the video of her accomplishment.
Witnessing it, I couldn’t help but to feel the corners of my mouth lift into a subtle smile. Apparently the contagion of joy doesn’t respect social distancing. I was happy for her. I knew that she was going to walk out of that gym feeling accomplished and more confident in her life than when she walked in. I knew that experience would make it easier for her to come back the next day, and the day after that.
I don’t remember what the weight was, and it doesn’t even matter. It was a good reminder of what actually matters. Increased strength and better health are important, they make life easier and more enjoyable. It contributes to longevity and quality of life. Those are worthwhile goals. Even more so, the confidence and self-esteem that comes from seeing yourself work and accomplish a goal, in having to do the work without any shortcuts, and in learning to trust yourself—those are the real impactful benefits.
How much weight you lift doesn’t matter. Knowing that you worked hard to be able to lift the weight is what carries meaning. Being healthy and strong gives you the means to live your life, but confidence is how you’ll make the most of it.
If you’re on the fence about recommitting to your health, consider this a reminder of what’s at stake. Don’t lose the forest for the trees.
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