A Disappointing Threesome, Ass To Grass, & 43 Times Round The Earth…

So I had a 3-way this week… exciting isn’t it? You’re riveted to your screen right now aren’t you? I mean, come on, when a guy has a threesome, decides to write about it in his Blog, and confesses that it was disappointing… that’s gotta get eyes transfixed to a screen, right? Why is that? Well I guess, like a great cake, it’s all down to the ingredients, and the ingredients we seem to crave are exciting tales of debauchery and admissions of disappointment or failure. It makes us all feel connected and not quite as messed up as the next guy. “How could any 3-way be disappointing?” I hear my male readers ask… well it’s simple really. All three people in the equation were ‘Me’… never a good combination. One of ‘me’ is difficult at best, two of ‘me’ is as Otis would say “hard to handle”, and three of ‘me’ is just plain “Hulk Smash” territory… let’s haul ass back to Tuesday when my dreaded menage a trois occurred.

So I’m in the gym; it’s Squat Day; and I’m on my last set – 90kgs for 5 reps. Not bad for a guy who’s weighing in at around 70kgs and is just off the back of a ten day water fast. Every rep up until my last rep was sheer “ass-to-grass” military precision movement… and then came the last rep… and I just lost my nerve… and choked halfway down. I tried not to lose my shit but I could feel the old rage bubbling away… and then I heard a little voice utter those pathetic words: “aw shit, 90kgs? Dude! 90kgs?! Wtf?! Two years ago you were squatting 150kgs!”. I recognised the voice right away. It was an old unenlightened prototype Ross – he was retired due to his constant lingering toward the past. Thankfully Rosco Version 3.0 replied quickly with “I was on a shitload of supplements and had a completely different diet back then… plus I was lifting solid for over a year leading up to that point.” Then came the lightning retort from my old prototype nemesis that made his voice seem louder than his 3.0 improved self: “Ah, it must be the Vegan diet. You can’t build muscles and strength on a Vegan diet you pussy.” Rosco 3.0 went for the deflection and counter attack… and that’s when it happened… up popped another voice…

“You’re 43 on Friday, man. I guess you were wrong about that whole ‘I can grow stronger and younger with each birthday instead of older and weaker. I can turn the clock back.’ balony, eh?” What? Who said that? Ah, another old retired avatar trying to resurrect himself. I was getting tag teamed. Jeez, these guys are like Cyborgs. They just don’t know when to die.

So, version 3.0 is under attack from two old, angry, bitter, retired earlier versions. I’m feeling bad enough at not making my reps, I’m feeling like I just want to crawl into the sauna and meditate this shit out and get under that ice cold shower to shock the nonsense out of my system, and I just want to go home and get ready to go back and make the bar my bitch tomorrow. Three voices in one head, it sounds weird, I know. The truth is that there are often a lot more crazy voices rattling around inside my noggin. It gets super crowded in here at times. A whole plethora of citizens shouting for their chance to be heard in the crazy arena, over the roar of the lions and gladiators. We all have them, no matter how weird it sounds or how unaware of the fact you are. We all have them. The paradox of the whole enlightenment trip is that while you become happy, fulfilled and more peaceful, you also become more aware of those voices that have been with you from conception… because you’ve learned to quiet your mind and you’ve learned to listen more and talk less. A ten day water fast, as I’ve just found out, will really go a long way to quietening your mind even further. So what do you do when those voices that were always in the background, and that felt like small parts of one big voice, start separating and coming at you from different angles? How do you cope with the clarity and separation? That’s easy – you listen to the voice that is the quietest, the calmest, and sometimes the faintest. You listen to the voice that feels more connected to your gut than your brain. Did you know that your gut has it’s own brain? Your gut has over 100 million brain cells dealing with all things gastrointestinal. That’s around the size of a cat’s brain. When people talk about ‘a gut feeling’ they are actually referring to something that’s scientific and not something that’s just reserved for us ‘new age hippy mumbo jumbo lovers’.

I did squat 150kgs not so long ago. I even managed to unrack and walk out 160kgs not so long ago. I was making big gains and loving every minute of it. Then life happened, (as it tends to do) and I slipped out of the hardcore routine I was in. No excuses, I just lost my commitment for a while. I did undergo a major change in my diet – switching to a fully plant based diet after spending 42 years as the world’s most committed carnivore will play havoc with you for a while until your body adjusts to the shock. I took loads of supplements like Creatine, BAAC drinks, pre-workouts etc etc back then as well. Now I’m back at the gym, slowly getting back to my routine and loving every minute of it. I have to look at any failure as not a failure but a step towards getting back to lifting heavier weights. I have to remind myself that I do this for fun, and for mental health & strength as much as physical health & strength. I have to keep focused on MY path and that’s the path that leads forward not backwards. I have to find that feeling of excitement about lifting weights with zero supplements and zero animal products. I have to get excited to prove people wrong when they say “you can’t build muscle on a plant based diet.” I get to enjoy focusing on form rather than weight. I get to learn something about myself yet again and I get to listen to those voices and choose to hear them, acknowledge them, and quietly chuckle at them. I get to be aware that they are a part of me and maybe always will be. I get to exercise my resolve and learn to stay focused on the prize even when the bullets are flying…

As I closed down my Jim Wendler 5/3/1 App and locked my phone, there on my home-screen was my Great Grandfather, in all his military splendour, looking at me with unparalleled stoicism. Handsome, dashing, and dressed in a hero’s uniform. He never made it to his 40’s. He died a young man’s death, a hero’s death, at The Battle Of The Somme. There he fell and from there he gently whispers “Take courage son”. He doesn’t rebuke or ridicule me for my insignificant little mind battles. Heroes don’t take that road. I keep that picture on my phone for a few reasons, one of which is to remind me how easy my life is on occasions when I feel the need to whine, complain, or give up.

I like to enjoy every Birthday. Hell I like to enjoy every day in general. I’m not a fan of the whole consumerism mindset that accompanies Birthdays and other such days but I do like any excuse to get together with friends and family and have a good time. I also like to take stock of what I can do now that I couldn’t do on my last birthday. I was struggling a tad this year to be honest – that damn 90kgs really did a number on me. My eldest daughter reminded me tonight that the past year has been pretty big by all counts: I switched to a vegan diet, I completed a ten day water fast, I grew a huge beard and then shaved it off on a whim, I started a Blog, I started writing a book, and this morning I knocked out 85 pushups. (I’ve started the 100 Push-Ups A Day Challenge – my little birthday gift to myself. 42 year old me can suck my b***s).

Every victory, no matter how small or trivial; every accomplishment no matter how fickle or seemingly insignificant; every attempt at bettering yourself, regardless of the outcome, is something to celebrate and take courage from. Back at the gym I had a choice: listen to the two voices who were offering zero progression towards a positive outcome, or listen to the quiet one who (while tired and turning slightly green with rage) was guiding me towards the light of the simplistic “Shit Happens – Get Over It” brand of Zen that I love so much. We all have the voices and we all have the choice.

I never thought I would live to this age. I never thought I would see 21 if I’m being honest – and I’m always being honest. Even with the “do I look fat in this?” minefield, I’m always honest. Honesty isn’t a virtue at all – whoever said that had a poor view of humanity. Honesty is a simple, basic, pre-requisite for anyone who wants to be remotely human. The reason being if you’re not honest you’re not genuine, and if you’re not genuine you can never be happy. Anyways, where was I? I don’t know where that little micro rant came from. Ah yes, I didn’t think I would see 21. Simply put: I always had one finger hovering over the self destruct button. I now know that self destruction was just a way to hide from the demons instead of facing them head on. I now know that living is difficult and worth every growing pain and scar that it leaves you with. I now know that dying is too easy. I now know that happiness is a state of mind and is within everyone’s grasp.

So here I am, having sailed round the big old Sun 43 times. My goal for 44? To be able to knock out Muscle Ups like a boss and to get back to squatting 90kgs for a warm up before some real lifting. To still look at my Great Grandfather’s picture with all the gratitude, pride and respect that I feel now. To still do all the crazy shit that my daughters take notice of, sometimes laugh at, and hopefully admire and draw inspiration from.

42 you were great; 43 you’re gonna be even better; 44 – I’m coming for you like a hurricane. *I think we’ll go with strong arm emoji*

Namaste

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