I faintly heard “Let’s go AB” along with rattling and clanging of the 45-pound plates while I attempted to reach the proper squat depth. Once my legs were at a 90-degree angle, I exploded up let out a victorious holler. My face was bright red and my eyes were a little blurry from the straining but I had just squatted 425 pounds. My buddy congratulated me and I triumphantly strolled to the water fountain to consume some high quality H20. As I walked, I immediately felt a sharp pain in my knees and severe tightness in my back. A pain that not only forced me to stop moving but forced me to ask myself a simple but essential question, “Why am I doing this”?
The days of roaming the deep middle third as a starting free safety for Villanova University were long gone and the 20 plus carries a game at running back for Kecoughtan High School were a distant memory but for some reason I was I still lifting as if I was getting ready for an upcoming season. I was routinely complaining about my back being tight or my shoulders hurting but still training in accordance to the Bigger, Stronger, Faster model that I had followed for so many years as a football player. The fact was that I didn’t need to be Bigger, Stronger, or Faster anymore.
As I analyzed “Why am I doing this” I came to the conclusion that it was all I knew. It was the way that I had been taught to lift and the way that I had lifted dating back to my freshmen year in high school. It was engrained into my mind. It was my comfort zone and I never thought twice about it until that day. I eventually realized that this style of lifting wasn’t beneficial to me anymore. The pressure and stress it was putting on my joints was becoming detrimental to my well being as I inch closer to my 30’s. By questioning, “Why am I doing this” I saw that I wasn’t lifting this way to serve my best interest but because it had become more of a tradition, norm, or ideology that I just accepted.
I am grasping the necessity of examining the things I do and asking“Why am I doing this”? Am I doing this because of tradition, societal norms, learned ideology, my mother said so, my father said so, the pastor said so, it’s what everyone is doing, it’s what black people do, it’s what men do, and so on? Or am I doing it because after questioning, analyzing, and observing it is something that is going to be beneficial to my peace, joy, and well being? I am becoming like a 4-year-old child and constantly asking why. Hoping that it may continue to stop me from repeatedly putting heavy weight on my back.