Personal Musings

The Next Time You See Me I’m Going to be Totally Ripped — Maybe

In an effort to hold myself accountable, and possibly to look back on in six months at my personal failure of holding myself accountable, I am going to declare at this moment my public commitment to strength training in 2024. This isn’t a New Year’s Resolution. Subconsciously I may have avoided January 1 because I’m fairly certain I have never successfully resolved anything I set out to resolve in the New Year based on a New Year’s Resolution.

Whenever I’ve dropped a bad habit and replaced it with a good habit, it was spur of the moment — in like June or something.

Here’s my plan and it’s a simple one at that: lift weights. Mainly dumbbells and a slam ball I bought off Amazon six years ago when I said I was going to get in shape six years ago but never did — until now. Yes, now. This very moment.

If by some stroke of luck I am still lifting weights in six months, I am going to upgrade my personal space. I would do it now as a way of proving to myself how committed I am, but I’m worried, as I rightfully should be, that I will spend a significant chunk of money on equipment that will gather dust and clutter an already cluttered room where I will be lifting said weights. This was my dad’s favorite pastime growing up: NordicFlex, Weider Full Body Home Gym. We had them both at one point in time in my childhood. Did your dad?

It’s like I’ve done this before or something. But this time is different. I swear. And no this essay isn’t satire. At least as I type this it’s not. In six months it may be or will I be an absolute shredded beast by then? Only time will tell. If you see me in July and I’m wearing an American flag tank top, you’ll know the answer.

Why I’m going to get ripped

The main reason I am transitioning into beast mode is because I’m getting older and I feel like my body is rebelling against me and I need to be kind to it. I have legitimate medically diagnosed, MRI proven back issues like herniated discs, sciatica, spinal stenosis, and disk degeneration. That’s been going on since I was 19 years old when I injured myself carrying a 40 ft ladder because a 40 MPH wind gust come out of nowhere and yanked me backward, contorting my body in a way no body should ever be contorted unless you work for the circus. This past year I had to use a cane for a week it got so bad.

I can’t reverse Father Time and go back and be easier on my back. Aside from the construction injury, I grew up playing basketball on a blacktop court. Shoutout: Phenix! When I realized I could dunk one day, I lived in the air. Actually it went more like this.

// Me flying through the air with my head near rim level //

My cousin Kevin: Just dunk the ball already! Stop laying it up.

Me: I can dunk?

Kevin: Yes.

// dunks ball //

Me: Holy shit! I can dunk.

The impact of jumping so much took its toll on my back years ago. I had to unofficially retire from pick-up basketball two years ago because I couldn’t stop throwing out my back. It had gotten ridiculous.

My goal is to strengthen my core first and foremost. Lifting dumbbells, if you do it correctly, does this. It strengthens your lower back. It strengthens your arms. It may even help me develop a chest — something I haven’t had since I worked in construction and carried around siding boxes and aluminum for eight hours a day — and that makes my old ass feel self-conscious about even today.

Read: Put Your Shirt On. You’re Making Me Self-Conscious

Will I succeed? Will I fail? You may think with this mindset of uncertainty I will most definitely fail. It’s possible. But what if I do it this time? What if the next time you see me — give me at least six months — that you say to yourself, “Are you on human growth hormone you muscle bound SOB? And where’d you get that tank top?”

And I respond, “No, just hitting the iron. And Target. I got it from Target.”

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