The Two-Headed Monster

The Two-Headed Monster

Oct 7, 2016

unknownThe Two-Headed Monster

By Josh Hunt

Years ago when I was busy writing terrible poetry and contrived short stories I came up with an idea that I still like today. This idea is that the day and night is a two-headed monster eating away at our lives and we must face this monster constantly. It is a battle that will end only when we pass on. I think about this concept quiet a bit, because honestly it feels like time evaporates. There is mist and all of a sudden Monday is Thursday. The sun and the moon keep revolving and the monster eats away our time here on this blue green sphere. I am very guilty of trying to fit thirty-six hours of events and goals in a normal diurnal cycle. Which means I always feel like I am running out of time. As we all know there is no such thing as more time. We don’t discover three extra hours hiding behind the corner, nor do many of us create efficiencies so great we can get everything done that we want in a twenty-four-hour period. This is a hard concept to deal with when we think about who we want to be as people and who we want to be as athletes.

Anyone that picks up a bar competitively wants to be the best they can be, often times they dream of being the strongest in the local, national, or international areas. These are all wonderful goals to have, because if you aren’t pushing yourself and growing are you really living? But, there is a time constraint that a lifter, or any, athlete has to take into consideration. Becoming good or even great at any sport will not only eat up time during the week, but will usually take years. Strength and technical precision are attributes that often take decades to hone and develop. Unless you are a genetic freak these gifts aren’t just handed to you, they are created through a great deal of time and effort in weight rooms and garages around the world. When I am in my crusty gym hitting my reps I usually don’t consider the time that it takes, I just try to get through my two to three-hour workout the best I can. The concern about time hits later when I get home at 7:00 pm and I have been away from the house for over twelve hours. This is when I start to think about how I can better combat the monster.

Getting home late is an issue for me because my Fiancé and I don’t really get a whole lot of time to spend together, especially during the week. Which means twenty to thirty minutes really counts. When I get home at 7:00 pm and have to clean out the car, prep my gym bag for the next day, wash up, feed the dogs, and prepare dinner, I am not sitting down with her to eat until 8:30 pm or so. This would be cool if we lived in Spain and the normal is people eat around 10:00 pm, we’d be the early bird special kind of people. But, here in the Metro East of St. Louis this is pretty late. Then we have to walk to dogs and try to get a few things done that we want to, for example I try to get a few lessons of Spanish in. This is compounded by the fact that I get up at 5:00 am and need to be in bed no later than 10:00 pm, which happens less often than I’d like. Getting to bed this late is suboptimal for me because it is less sleep than I should really get, especially when I have to consider recovery. When it comes down to it I often feel as if I don’t have time to relax or accomplish ‘normal’ day-to-day activities like vacuuming and doing the dishes during the week.

Because I can’t get to errands and honey-dos during the week, I am bound to do them on Wednesday (my off day) and the weekend. But this creates frustration and ire for me because running to the store and mopping are not fun, particularly on your ‘day off’. I have to devote my days away from the office to the mundane and who really wants to do that? Most of us want to binge on Netflix, play that new PS4 game, go to a museum, read a book, or work on that hobby, this includes myself. The two-headed monster is taking away from the things I want to do and my recovery because there is never enough time. As many of us know it seems like Friday afternoon becomes Sunday night in the blink of an eye, and as I age time does speed up.

I hope I am not coming off a whining about something I cannot change, because I could make different life decisions. But, I find many things important and in some cases intrinsic to whom I am. Lifting is an important outlet for me, but is very time consuming, not only the time in the gym but the recovery time, the planning time, the prep, the commuting, the travel, and so on. Most of us know we should be doing more mobility work, or cardio, or yoga, or getting more sleep, but with the demands on our time we can’t get to these important things in regard to our lifting careers and physical well-being. I love spending hours in the gym (most days) but the time away from family, friends, and other obligations takes a toll. I cannot get upset at my Fiancé when I come home and she is angry with me because I didn’t have the time to complete a task I promised I would. I have to deal with missing out on events that friends plan because I had to get the reps in or I just couldn’t get off the couch after a hard workout. I have to decided what cool concerts I am going to have to pass on (that’s you If These Trees Could Talk), I know that getting my house in order will take me longer than other people because I often haven’t made the time or have the energy.

These are the sacrifices I am making to be a powerlifter, and right now they are worth it to me. As my life progresses I do get concerned about how I will make time when and if kids come into my life. I also think what would happen if my job gets more demanding. It seems as if I don’t have any time. Right now I am trying to knock this out before I jump on a plane, and the minutes on the clock keep marching on. Most of us know how it is, cram as much in as we can, then wonder why are we so tired and where did the time go. But what is the alternative?

The impetus of writing this is that I believe we all deal with not having enough time. We have to prioritize our workouts be it what we can get in from our templates in a fixed amount of time or the priority of hitting the gym over say going to a kid’s baseball game. Sometimes we can get everything in, we can make it to every event we want to and have amazing workouts. But, sometimes everything falls apart and we let people down as well as have horrible workouts. It is important to think about how we spend our time, because it is the most valuable thing in the world. Getting strong should not be the only goal in or lives. It is really easy to get lost in the process of being a competitor. Often times the easiest solution to getting to where we want to be is to ‘work harder’ and ‘devote’ more time, but this is a fallacy. We can’t magically create more energy to expend under the bar, nor can most of us budget time away from other obligations so that we can spend more time in the gym.

We should do what we can to get to where we want to be both in the sport that we have chosen and in becoming the person we want to be. But, if the two-headed monster is eating away at our lives we should really consider our lives holistically. We need to support and be there for those who support us. If I spend too much time in the gym and not enough time on my relationship, then I won’t have a supporter. Our friends like to see us and spend time with us and we shouldn’t blow them off. We have things to do not only around the house but also in our communities and neighborhoods. There are things to hear, see, touch, and experience besides the knurling of a barbell. As cheesy as it sounds every minute is precious because you are not getting any more. With that in mind think about the worth or leaving the gym fifteen minutes late on a regular basis, or doing two and three a days. I am not saying don’t chase your goals, what I am saying is that there is important stuff to do no matter where you look. Make your choices for your overall wellbeing, sometimes that means thrusting yourself into the gym, but other times it’s staying at home on the couch next to someone you care about. The two-headed monster is going to beat you in the end, but you can put up a great fight if you plan and execute wisely.

– There always was a reason
That we were never meant to be left alone
This feels like never-ending – The Dillinger Escape Plan

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