Of dumbbells and pain

When faced with no option but to take action to curb a bulging tummy, I found myself with no option but to revisit the gymnasium. This I was reluctant to do because my last experience in a gym left me with a painful body for more than three weeks after I had tried to skip stages and rush to advanced workouts before mastering the first levels (the lady instructor was partly to blame because my male ego was out to prove that I could not start low). Needless to say, after a one hour workout I never set foot in the Mutare gym again.

From that I derived the first lesson of life. One cannot start on a high gear. Even cars are known to start at zero and then go on to be measured by the power that carries them to reach 100km/hr at a specific time. The conception of the motion begins with immobility. I learnt from that painful episode that all gains are to be painstakingly worked for and that the progress is slow, painful but definitely gradual.

When my threatening tummy forced me to go back and face the treadmill, I knew I had to start properly (ego aside) and learn to progress in a painstaking manner. I knew I would have to submit to instruction and accept to crawl when I would rather be sprinting. I knew I would have to take lessons from someone more knowledgeable than me in that field and I knew that only fully compliance will yield more results.

That was my second lesson of life. Only full compliance and learning from those who have trudged the path will help yield results. My father’s favorite declaratory statement in resolving arguments was to tell me that I have never been his age but he has been my age!!

Gym is a laborious repetition of sets specifically meant to tone, strengthen, and sculpt the body and muscles. Wrongly handled, the result is torn muscles, strained biceps and tissue damage. Wrongly done it means the wrong muscles tensing and awkward developments.

That was my third lesson of life. The essence of life has to be properly balanced. No portion of our life deserves to be wrongly done, underdone or overdone. Overdoing, under doing or wrongly doing certain aspects of our life creates an imbalance that accrues into emotional strain, physical distance and at times loss of responsibility. Spouses who have partners who overdo business hours will attest to the strain that is caused by this at home and in the field of intimacy.

The painful part is that upon reaching peak you cannot retire and be smug like that cat that got the milk. When you reach peak you have to work hard to maintain that fitness otherwise all that muscle turns into flabby and unsightly fat. You have to do the maximum workouts with religious intensity otherwise all the 6 months work melts within a month and it will take a further painstaking 8 months to return to peak( I seem to use pain staking so much !!).

That was my fourth lesson of life. We have to work hard to achieve our ultimate best and yet continue to maintain our ultimate best by working harder. We work hard to main our integrity (which is so easy to lose by the way) and upon attaining it we have to work harder to retain it. During all this it is much easier to stop than to keep going. During this, it easier to try to flatter and overreach our capacity and actually find ourselves at a dead-end.

My gym sessions have taught me to plan, accept instruction, start slow and low, maintain achieved goals and retain peak fitness. Turning this to my daily life, this has taught me that my achievements in life will only be attained by a painstaking walk that requires intense discipline, discipleship, humility, patience, commitment and reserve energy to be called upon when the weights get tougher. Such is life.

Tomorrow, as the sun rises, weigh the weights in your hand. If overdone, do re scale, if underdone, up you ante, if wrongly done, seek tutelage and if on the peak, work hard to maintain it because once lost, it will take a double effort to regain it.

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