Early Friday afternoon I walked through the door at Anytime Fitness of Gilbertsville and it was business as usual. Just like any other Friday when I walk into the gym long before most people are finished their work day, the place was nearly empty.
After getting changed, I hopped onto one of the elliptical machines and set it for a thirty minute cardio session. A funny thing happened while my eyes were shifting from the TV screen to the parking lot, the gym was getting busy.
After wiping down the equipment, I headed into the weight room to begin my strength training session. Both racks and the Smith Machine were occupied. I was completely shocked. In all the time I’ve been a member I’ve never been in a position where I had to wait for a barbell station to open up.
Before starting to twiddle my thumbs (I like to do my big lifts first so that I have plenty of energy) I had an Ah-Ha moment. There is a rack in the Cross Training Area that would suite me just fine. I broke off and had the entire space to myself.
I had been looking forward to this particular session all week. It was when I would get to shoot for my next milestone, pulling a 315 pound Deadlift. Warmed up from my time on the elliptical, I loaded up the bar with a plate and began lifting.
Slowly I progressed towards my working weight. I easily pulled five reps of 135lbs. From there I pulled five reps of 185 pounds with slightly more effort. Five reps at 225 pounds was more challenging but easy enough. Five reps at 275 pounds required an alternating grip (tennis elbow has caused reduced grip strength) but I made it happen. Finally it was time to give 315 pounds a try.
Once the bar was loaded and I put myself in position, I gripped the bar and began to pull. Slowly the bar came up off the floor for the first rep. For one reason or another the first one is always the most difficult for me. The next four came easier despite pain in my hands from the knurling digging into my skin.
When the fifth rep hit the floor, I shook out my hands and my pride swelled. In the grand scheme of things three plates may not be a lot of weight but it shows tremendous improvement on my part. Not long ago I remember all too well the fatigue I felt pulling 225 pounds.
Back to business, I repeated the process for three sets. Each pull more was demanding and I’m sure I was making quite the scene as people walked past the door, peeking in to see who was banging weights on the floor and grunting like a neanderthal.
Hitting that milestone early in the workout really set the tone for the remainder of the session. I went on to push myself with each and every exercise. When it was all over I walked back out the door two hours after I had arrived, feeling a bit queezy and in need of some quick calories.