So this happened:

I went to the gym today with renewed enthusiasm. I was excited because I’d done some research and found some exercises I’ve never tried on the cable machine. I found them on an exercise video on YouTube by a Paralympic athlete and both of them looked like fun and were reportedly good for developing muscles needed for pushing a wheelchair at top level. I have adapted most of my exercises from just watching how non-disabled people used the machines I can access. Needless to say many that I watched don’t adapt to wheelchair users but a surprising number can be as well. I felt I had a pretty well rounded set but then, watching this guy’s video, he mentioned a couple of exercises that I’d never done and that would, apparently, make me a stronger pusher. Awesome.

So I got there excited and I decided that I’d go through my regular routine and then try out the other three. The first was hard but doable, the second, well, it looked easy when he did it but when I tried it at what I thought was a reasonable weight, it was simply impossible, I didn’t have the strength.

I kept lowering the weight to try and  find one where I could do the movement. I finally got down to a ridiculously low weight. My process of trying lower and lower weights was watched by a couple of guys who I see sometimes at the gym, they are so fit that even their poop has muscles, and, of course, as such, doesn’t stink. Anyways, they chuckled as I dropped weight and ended with one that was really low.

But once I got there, I did 30 reps and really enjoyed the feeling of my muscles doing the new movement. I understood in doing why this would be helpful to me as I self propel my wheelchair. They guys watching still found it funny, a big guy like me and a little weight like that.  I grinned to myself because I know something those guys don’t.

Where I start isn’t the same as where I finish.

I am here now but I won’t be here in three weeks.

Don’t laugh at where someone starts, be impressed that they start at all.

I finished all the new exercises and am now looking at how to fit them into my regular routine. The one that belongs to me and no one else. Some people need to exercise their kindness and compassion more than they do their biceps and triceps. What’s the point of big arms if not to hold up others, embrace others, and keep others safe? Isn’t that what we’re all in this for?

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