Lifting With The Mind, Not The Ego

For those of you following my blog you know that I’ve been in physical therapy for my knee. I’m not exactly sure what broke the camel’s back. I don’t know if it was walking for 12 hours a day in Vans without eating, if it was squatting down to low tables holding a tray and trying to keep my legs closed (because of my short uniform) all while balancing a tray of drinks, or if it was something else.

Now that I think of it, why did I think being a cocktail waitress was a good idea? Who knows.

Regardless of the reason my knee has been causing me severe pain since December. I would get a sharp pain that would shoot down the side of my knee that made it painful to walk. How would I describe it? Debilitating. It was a debilitating pain. I couldn’t walk down a flight of stairs much less squat and deadlift.

Coming back from an injury is difficult. It’s a constant battle between your ego and your mind. I’m slowly beginning to lift again but my ego doesn’t want to lift light weights. I used to deadlift 250, why am I bullshitting with 25 lbs dumbbells?? My mind has to fight back; I’m not fully healed, take it slow until I’m 100% better.

I find myself thinking, screw it I’m gonna throw some weight on the bar! I haven’t, but I seriously consider it. It’s a battle every single time.

I looked at myself in the mirror the other day and it depressed me. It’s stupid and vain, but it happened. I used to have glutes that people were envious of. What happened to my butt? I’ve lost definition in my legs too, especially my hamstrings. I haven’t lifted in over eight months and it shows.

I’ve purposely avoided long mirrors for this very reason. I knew that I would feel disillusioned if I looked. But I caught myself by surprise while searching for something to wear after the shower. I looked up and there I was. I couldn’t look away either. I just stood there scrutinizing every flaw.

Back to the ego and the mind. My ego is pissed that I don’t look how I used to and it puts me down. You don’t look good anymore. You’ve lost it. My mind tries to convince myself that I’ll get it back. You’ve been dealing with an injury. You pushed yourself too hard and went to the doctor too late. Let it heal and you’ll get back to where you were. In fact, you’ll get even stronger than you were before!

My mind is obviously the one I should listen to, but my ego has really been getting to me. It’s one of those things about being human, I suppose. We tend to not be rational even when we know we’re being irrational and that it’s ridiculous.

I couldn’t walk down the stairs the other day. It was my day off and I had been relaxing on the couch with my cats. My knee buckled as soon as I stood up. What’s happening? I’ve been going to physical therapy for months! Why is this still happening?

I thought about giving up and sitting back down on the couch. If I’m unhappy with my body I might as well continue to do so. But I decided not to feel sorry for myself. I told myself I was going to do legs even if all I could do was stretch. I was gonna do it!

I stretched my IT band upstairs, the way my physical therapist taught me, and limped down the stairs. It was painful. It was even painful to walk to the kitchen. But I did it! I put on my shoes and I stretched for about 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes I was feeling less pain. I did side steps and good mornings with my bands and the pain completely went away! I was able to do a light workout while keeping my ego under wraps. Yes, I feel great! It doesn’t hurt! But, I’m not adding more weight. Slow and steady.

I ended up feeling great after my workout. It was easy but I did it! Of course my ego tried to convince me to get the bar out and add some plates, but I didn’t do it. If I listen to my ego I’ll only injure myself further.

Remember that it’s okay to lose progress, just don’t lose hope or motivation! Getting back to it slowly is better than giving up!

I hope everyone is having a fantastic week and that you’re being kind to yourself! Thank you for reading!

-Ash

4 thoughts on “Lifting With The Mind, Not The Ego

  1. I can totally relate, I’ve torn both of my ACL’s from playing basketball in middle/ high school. It sucks, but I lift 6 days a week now and you will get back to your old self and where you were at eventually! I felt the same way about my body too when I lost all of my leg muscle from the surgery.

    Liked by 1 person

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