According to Merriam-Webster, a pipe dream is a hope, wish or dream that is just not possible or practical. Today on my walk home from the gym, I wondered, is achieving an unassisted pull-up my pipe dream?
As a child, *Sandra (a friend from my past) wanted to be the next Julia Roberts. As teenagers, we loved Mystic Pizza. We took Mr. Hook’s drama class in high school, and Sandra usually got the leading roles in his theatrical productions. The always precocious Sandra promised that as soon as she turned 21, she was Hollywood bound. On her way to Tinseltown to become the next leading lady with luscious curls and a big, white smile. I lost touch with Sandra when she went away to university to study drama and English Literature. Recently, a mutual friend of ours sent me a friend request on FB. I asked this friend about Sandra. Did she ever pursue her acting dreams? No, the mutual friend responded via a private FB message. Sandra is 42 with three children, on to her second marriage and works in accounting. Odds are that Sandra is not going to hop on a plane to Hollywood and make it as the next Julia Roberts at this stage in our lives with three children and a pending marriage.
That’s the funny thing about dreams. We can have them, but who’s to say they will come to fruition? We are told the old cliche of working hard and believing and it will happen. Surely though, we can work hard and pray and believe, but will it always happen?
This is how I feel about my pull-ups now. Maybe it is just not in the cards for a body shape such as a T-rex. Yes, weights have made me drop a lot of weight while transforming my body, but I still am genetically prone to having a larger lower body and a smaller upper body. A cop out? Perhaps. I wanted to do 20 on my toe push-ups, and I made it happen. I progressively saw improvement. Starting with wall push-ups, then onto elevated bench push-ups, to on the knees and then on to toes. Same thing goes for planks. I wanted to do a 2 minute plank, and I made this goal happen. When I look back and think I could not do a plank for more than 20 seconds, I can’t believe the gains I have made. It feels incredible.
Naturally, I want this feeling in my pull-up progress, but it’s not even close to happening. I have received excellent advise from seasoned lifters of which have helped me immensely in many ways, such as building upper body strength and I truly am thankful. I am working, but I am starting to question the believing part. To be honest, I kind of feel a little foolish for putting it out there on my blog that my goal of one unassisted pull-up will happen, because I truly don’t know that it will. My palms are calloused and swollen. But for what? Okay, maybe for a nice tapered back that is starting to develop and better posture. True enough.
I am beginning to resent pull-ups. What I used to find fun and challenging, I now find daunting and intimidating. I don’t want to resent strength training because I love the sport and what it has done for me both mentally and physically. So, I have decided to let go a little bit and scale back in the demands I make on myself. I am not going to outright give up, but I am not going to give myself a time limit or be so hard on myself. I want to bring the fun back!
So, my very supportive brother-in-law Rick has made me a fun challenge I can’t refuse. He has put a pull-up bar in his basement, and we are going to work on our pull-ups. He wants to do 10 in a row, and I want to do 1…..when I’m ready. There will be no time limits and no more comparing to the countless women who can do pull-ups without assistance. Exercise should be enjoyable, as well as challenging.
It is never something I want to come to resent. I love it too much.