Ego - let it work for you

Without ego I do not think one could survive this chaotic existence called life. My ego has encouraged me to procreate, strive for a certain lifestyle, and teach my beliefs and ethics to my children. Unfortunately, ego has also cost me relationships, time and money. Many of us have experienced similar outcomes, however, until the last eighteen months I was unaware how my ego was stunting my fitness goals. I, like most men, view my strength as measure of my manhood. In order to look strong, I was very conscious of the poundage I was lifting. To facilitate this strongman illusion, I had to sacrifice range of movement and technique to move heavier weights. I was stunting my progress and it became apparent by my lack of muscular growth. As a non-athlete (never participated in any sport) I have been unable to develop any leg strength, thus, training pants were my cover for bird legs. I needed to change that.

What I hate is that not many people admit to having a big ego, but you have to - and there's nothing wrong with it.
― Marina and the Diamonds

My son played multiple sports, and he has strong muscular legs. Baseball and football at a young age developed a foundation for him that I did not naturally have. I was able to leg press 350 pounds (by cheating the movement) but still resembled a knock-kneed old man. My son suggested it might be genetic, but he has my genes and looks great. My upper body has been developing, so it was time for self-analysis. My ego convinced me that I should, as a man, be able to deep squat a minimum of 135 lbs.

Well, unlike my son, who played a catcher from 8 years old, squats were a daily requirement for him and totally foreign to me. My body never developed the tendons, musculature, or neural connections to allow me to do a deep squat. If I tried, the pain in my knees was excruciating, so I wrote it off to old age. My 350-pound leg presses were 25 percent movement at best. Like I said about 18 months ago, I came to terms with my ego, scrapped the idea of how much weight and went for range of motion. After ten years of consistent training, I had trouble free squatting my body weight to a horizontal thigh position. It was embarrassing, and really pissed me off. My ego kicked in to motivate me to improve this weakness. I am currently deep squatting 145 ponds for 5 sets of 6 reps. My advice to you is to examine your ego and use it to motivate you to the success you desire. I don’t believe in “checking your ego at the door”, rather be honest with yourself and your weaknesses and channel that ego to become stronger and fitter than you had imagined.

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