Posted on November 13, 2018
by Steve Janowick

It was Tuesday morning.

Pull day.  I had developed this push/pull/leg split routine a month prior and was headed to my gym to show those 45-pound iron plates who their boss was.  But something was a little off. Something inside me just wasn’t feeling it. I had gone the entire month without missing a scheduled workout, but today, I felt a slight tug of apprehension, and it got worse as I got closer.  “Here we go again”, I actually mumbled to myself. And, by the time I parked the car, that apprehension had evolved into full-blown dread at the thought of going into that gym. Physically, I felt kind of blah, nothing too unusual though, and certainly not enough to skip the workout. Mentally and emotionally I was okay I thought, at least before I got in the car.

So, what was the deal?  Why all the sudden this internal battle?  I knew if I didn’t get my ass in there, and at least give it a shot, I’d regret it and would be riddled with disappointment in myself and even anger.  I knew it would set the tone for a horrible day. A day in which I’d question my fortitude and will to be the best man I could be. A day that would be filled with reminders of how I was weak and how I gave in to that weakness.  Of how I could possibly jeopardize all the hard work and dedication up to this point. By skipping this workout, I would open the floodgates to all the negative thoughts that I was able to keep in check and dormant for a good while now.  “You can do this! Get in there!”, I proclaimed to myself as I pounded the steering wheel.

But seven seconds later my car was in reverse and I was on my way back home.

This ugly pattern that had plagued my life for the last decade was rearing its ugly head again.  It was coming on me like a slow-growing wave moving to shore. I imagined this tiny, man-looking, bug nestled in the folds of my brain, sinisterly laughing as he trips the wires in my cortex one by one.  Anticipating the moment that his end-game was complete-a full-on relapse of the depression I’d been battling lately in my life.

But I was prepared.  I was ready for a fight.

I immediately turned off the talk radio and turned on my iPhone music, and let it come loudly through the speakers of the car.  I put on some James Brown and let The Godfather of Soul do his thing. He began to wreak havoc on that bug in my brain. I started to immediately feel my endorphins firing and my mood becoming more positive.  I rolled down the windows to let the cool air envelop me. I inhaled the autumn winds into my lungs with three long, slow breaths. I forced my thoughts to go to a happy time when my children were born.

I felt it working.

And when I got home I had the mental and physical energy to put my pull-up bar in the door frame and pound out 100 reps in the next half hour.  My workout routine was still intact, and I was feeling good again!

Taking action for our moods and realizing it’s our choice whether we’re happy, sad or even depressed is a concept that I’ve tried desperately to ingrain into my life recently.  I’m still not totally there yet, because it’s hard as hell and takes tons of patience and practice. I know some men are chemically disabled in their heads and unable to, but for most of us, applying simple, practical strategies when we’re feeling down or just off a bit can seriously improve the quality of our lives.

And pump up our brains to be on par with our biceps!

Would you like to sponsor a CMX post like this one? If so fill out this simple form to let us know you're interested and we will get in touch!


Get Your Dose of Machismo

Subscribe and receive musings from one bad-ass to another. You won't regret it.