Daily Archives: November 10, 2009


I had a great workout this morning.  I bench pressed 285 pounds.  For most people, that would not be a significant milestone.  For me, it was huge.

The last time I bench pressed 285 pounds I was 17 years old.  This morning I was so nervous when I put that much weight on the bar.  I felt confident, because I knew I had done 275 last week pretty easily and I had two good workouts since then.  Yet after putting on that much weight I was unsure.  I paced back and forth staring at the bar.  I remember the last time I did that much.

I was a senior in high school.  I wanted to be the starting center on our football team. I wanted to get a good score on the ACT so I could apply for scholarships.  I wanted a certain girl to think of me as more than “just a friend.”  I wanted to join the 300-club.  I wanted my name written on the board of the weight room in that most exclusive club, but I had to get to 285 first.  I lifted 285 that day, but never more.  The football season ended.  I got a pretty good score on the ACT and won a pretty nice scholarship.  That girl and I were never more than friends.  I never joined the 300 club.

I’ve always said that I feel sorry for people that think that high school was the best time of their life.  I had a great time in high school.  I had great friends.  I had good grades.  I had the respect of teachers and my parents.  I achieved a lot, but that was not the peak of my life.  I have gone on and achieved more.  Yet 285 has always stuck in my head.  That was the highest I reached physically.  That was the strongest I ever was in my entire life.  At 17 I was no where near my emotional, mental, or spiritual peak.  But by at least one standard of measure, I peaked at 17 years old.

Today I am 32 years old.  I am still grossly overweight, but I have been determined to make sure that I would again be stronger than I was when I was 17.

Today in that gym as I paced back and forth, I was standing in front of more than 285 pounds of iron.  I was standing in front of my past.  I was standing in front of my youth.  As my heart started to race and my adrenaline started to flow I knew that I was standing in front of something heavier than 285 pounds.  I was standing in front of my future.  I was standing in front of a promise.  It was a promise I made to myself.  More importantly, it was a promise I made to my daughter.  “17 was not my best,” I thought to myself.

I laid on my back on that bench press and gripped the bar.  I asked my spotter for a lift and counted to three.  As I held the bar in my hands with my arms extended, about to bring it down to my chest, I thought to myself, “I have this.”

And I did.

As I put the weight back on the rack, I practically leaped off of the bench. I clapped my hands, flexed my arms and let out a little “YEAH.”

I still have a long way to go.  As far as overall fitness, 17 might have been my peak.  Or maybe it was 14 when I ran two miles under 15 minutes before basketball practice.  Or maybe it was 20 when I was a captain of my college lacrosse team.  Or maybe it was 28 when I ran a 5 mile race in St. Louis.  The fact remains, I weigh 316 pounds.  I have a lot of work to do.  I need to do a lot more cardio.  I need to work a lot more on my legs.  I need to make sure I get three workouts a week – not just two.  I need to stop eating crap before I go to bed.

Right now though, none of that matters.  All I care about right now is 285.  It was a barrier that lived for 15 years.  Today it is no more.



Filed under Fitness