I was feeling frustrated with my stalled pull-up progress. Many people I spoke with at my gym (well the three ladies who can do unassisted pull-ups) all said it took them about a year or less to do unassisted pull-ups with consistent training. That was my first mistake. Comparing my progress to others.
What is wrong with me, I wondered? Is it taking me this long to do one unassisted pull-up because I’m that weak? I am at the stage where I really want it and want it now. On Friday, I was also on the verge of giving up. Thinking this was all pointless, maybe I should devote my time to another gym goal. A more feasible goal that is within reach. Then I thought, but I really want this. A pull-up to me would be a true testament of strength. I thought back to when I was in junior high. I had to do a speech in front of my entire class for speech arts. This was mandatory. I am terribly shy when it comes to public speaking and the thought of speaking in front of an entire class with all eyes on me was terrifying. The fear was so crippling that I wanted to play hooky from school and just fail the project. My mom showed me a verse in Samuel chapter 17 in the Old Testament that evening as I practiced my speech. It was about David facing his opponent the giant Goliath and defeating him in battle. I still read this passage today when faced with an intimidating situation. Whether you believe in Biblical stories or not, David’s hubris and bravery cannot be denied. It makes any obstacle seem possible to face. My mom assured me that if young and small David faced and defeated a giant, I certainly had nothing to fear and to remember this before my speech. To make matters worse, the speech was about wolverines. I mean why? We could research and speak on any topic. Why I chose wolverines I don’t know. The speech had a few bumps in the road, and I’m pretty sure Peter Alexovski in the front row of desks was falling asleep during the hunting habits of the wolverines. (Funny, he kind of perked up when I got to the mating habits part). I completed the speech and got a B- for my efforts. After all was said and done, it wasn’t as terrifying as I expected.
Today I had another Goliath to contend with. The pull-up bar. Standing beneath the bar it looked cold and unwelcoming. I felt as tiny as David looking up at the bar, like my symbolic steel giant. Time to face my Goliath. I pushed a secure bench under the bar and stood on the bench. Placing my hands on the steel about shoulder width apart, I gripped firmly overhand. With a deep breath, I pulled myself up…..about an inch. Yes, that’s it. I inched myself up and dangled there for about 10 seconds before releasing and stepping down on the bench.
A success? Um no, but the bar doesn’t seem so scary anymore since actually making contact with it. Now is not the time for a defeatist attitude. This is all about baby steps because one inch today might be two inches tomorrow. Let’s face it, I have one helluva obstacle to face.
What “Goliath” are you facing in your goals if any?
Artwork of David and Goliath by Von Glitschka