From the moment I realize consciousness, I am keenly aware of the pain in my chest and triceps. It’s that good burn that comes from having pushed myself, that same burn that makes the warm bed you’re laying in all the more appealing. I take a deep breath and am relieved to not feel nauseous. Having consumed 3000 calories the day prior had left me bloated after every meal, and even disoriented when I finally collapsed into my bed at 1930 hours.
Before the excuses can take root, before the duvet can embrace me in its loving touch, I am up and out of bed. My feet hit the cold steel of my quarters, and I am alert. I splash water on my face from my nearby sink and stare at the man in the mirror who always looks a little older first thing in the morning, with deeply etched lines around my eyes. It’s not as easy to push myself anymore. I don’t let that deter me.
I’m at the gym and warming up. 38 minutes of hell coming for my legs. I will persevere. I will be victorious. I will not stop when I am tired – I will stop when I’m done. Beast Up!
My legs give out during a Bulgarian split squat. I fall, embarrassed and angry, to the gym floor, 40 dumb bells dropping from my grip. I growl at myself and push back up. The few others in the gym at this ungodly time of the morning back off, seeing I don’t need help. I finish my set and find the pace again. Inwardly, I berate myself. My mind controls my body, not the other way around.
I am finished. I sit on the floor. You’re supposed to always keep moving after a workout. I can’t move. I take deep breaths but my legs tremble uncontrollably. I feel vulnerable, and I detest that feeling.
I can stand. I make my way to the change room and find renewal in an invigorating hot shower. A regular speaks to me as my head hangs down, my eyes closed, my arms resting against the wall as the water pours over me. “You look amazing, Roc. I don’t know how you do it.” I try to chuckle, but all that comes out is a half-hearted grunt. “I don’t give myself a choice. That’s all there is to it.” He nods at me, but his eyes have that same troubled look of those that simply don’t understand.
Anybody that says they enjoy working out is a liar. We only enjoy the results.