In 2011 my sister and I were perusing the streets of Buenos Aires and I caught a glimpse into a basement. Down in the dungeon was a gym – people were draining their energy on spin bikes, sweating profusely in the blistering temperatures, with only a single fan to keep the sweat from dripping into their eyes and mouth. I couldn’t understand why they would subject themselves to working out on such a humid, breathless afternoon.
But today – near six years later – I became one of the crazies.
With temperatures in the high 20’s and no wind, Wellington city was at its finest today. During the workday I gazed longingly outside at the sun rays trickling through the few patches of bare tree branches on the lawn. I desperately wanted to sit in the sunshine, but knew all too well that I wouldn’t easily return to my desk.
Once the clock flicked over to 4:30pm exactly, I made my way for the exit and down the hill to my apartment. But no, I didn’t get a beer from the fridge and watch the dripping condensation form on the bottle as I sat on the patio and watched the world go on below me. Instead, I ate a quick snack, grabbed my bag and was off to the gym.
And there I was in the dungeon of Powerhouse, with no direct windows to the outside world and only the sweet memories of the gorgeous day to reminisce upon as I set up the squat rack. My prescription for the day: sets of 12 at max effort. This, of course, in a gym with no air conditioning and just a few precious fans to conjure up a false breeze.
I felt faint on the second set.
Oh, how I wanted to pack up my gear and get outside to catch another glimpse of the sun before it hid behind the hills for the evening. But I didn’t. I went back to the bar and told myself that I would finish my training, no matter how long it took.
I thought back to those people I saw in Argentina that day – breathless, sweating, panting. And I knew why they were there, regardless of the lack of air conditioning or the beautiful day that passed outside without their presence. They were working towards a goal – and whatever that goal was, it was strong enough to drag them in.
I finished the squats, the Bulgarian split squats, the leg press and the core circuit. And when I arrived home at 8:00pm, fatigued and drenched in sweat, I knew that this is one day of many where I will struggle to get through a session, and it will only get easier if I stop pushing myself. In June I’ll be competing in my first powerlifting competition.
This is the goal that drags me to my dungeon.