I have been naturally lean my whole life, and really only started regularly exercising in the last five years when I started surgical residency. I noticed that if I operated for more than two hours straight, I'd develop excruciating back pain. I also felt like a hypocrite telling my patients they needed to exercise more when I myself rarely did it.
I started like most guys do, lifting free weights and using a machine or two, really focusing on isolated movements. I began to get bigger and stronger (relatively), and at times people complimented me on looking more fit. At the end of the day though, it wasn't translatable to the real world: I could curl more weight but it didn't really help me when I needed to do real-life things, like help a friend move. What was even worse was that my back still hurt and I was huffing and puffing every time I climbed a flight of stairs at the hospital.
About two years ago, I started doing research into fitness: reading medical journals, magazines, books on mechanics and programming; trying to figure out how I could get stronger in a usable way, improve my cardiovascular fitness, and reduce my back pain. I joined a gym that had barbells and a rack so I could do compound movements (squats, deadlifts, etc.) and offered high intensity interval training (HIIT) classes. After about a year there, I came to the conclusion that no amount of reading replaces having someone actually show you how to lift properly, and I was way too intimated to ask anyone at the gym for help. Plus, I wanted to join a gym that was a little less crowed and a little more personal, where I wasn't just another member.
I had heard about Social Mechanics, but never thought of going there until I moved to the neighborhood. Walking by, I noticed that people were sweating and working hard, but they looked like they were actually having fun (which seemed so foreign to me). On a whim, I decided to try it. The first time I walked in, I admit I was intimidated, but everyone was friendly and encouraging. I also liked that workouts were personalized to match your fitness level. After about a year here, I still consider myself a beginner, but I have challenged myself in ways I didn't think were possible, have learned a lot about correct movement/mechanics and how it applies to everyday life, and significantly improved my back pain. Most importantly, I have joined a family and have met people I can truly call my friends.
FAVORITE WORKOUT MOVEMENT:
Strict pull-ups - such a simple move that involves so many muscle groups and is challenging to do with correct form.
"If you don't like something, change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude." - Maya Angelou
- Master the power clean
- Deadlift twice my bodyweight
- Row a 500m in around 1:30
FAVORITE CHEAT MEAL;
There is nothing better in life than a really greasy cheeseburger.