“Pretend there’s a landmine on your chest, and when the bar touches it… BOOM! It explodes upwards!” – Words from my trainer, Ross Church, as he spotted my first real benchpress in over three months.

That quote is but one of the many remnants I’ve accumulated in only this week’s training so far. Like Neo, my body feels as if it’s been awakened (through shock therapy), as if it’s never been used before. Of course this isn’t the case. I have been an avid gym-goer for the best part of three years now. I play football once a week, and I take the occasional run.

However, this familiarity was my downfall in late November when I nonchalantly decided to end my lunchtime gym sesh with a deadlift – a deadlift with a new max weight. Without much focus, and probably nodding along to the track on my iPod, I bent down to lift. Before I knew it, I had dropped the bar and was slouched over with my hands on my knees, unable to straighten up. I had never felt such pain before – except when I read about Blink splitting up (don’t even get me started). But even a broken leg in varsity I considered to be more of an annoyance than painful.

Three months, two physio sessions, three chiro visits and almost R3 000 later, and I’m ready to get back on the horse, back in the game and be better than before. As a striker on the footy field, there’s nothing more spirit-crushing than sitting on the bench not getting my goals.

So here we are, MH Staff Challenge 2015, and I am amped! My back is coping well so far. I still and will continue to religiously apply an icepack to it, morning and night. Do my stretches, and take special care when bending to pick something up – be it a barbell or a blanket.

I am ready. Takedown MMA Fitness Academy will be my home from home for the next 12 weeks. Functional fitness (or, ‘the sweat fest’ as I discovered last night) three times a week with Ross, and Muay Thai twice a week with Gary Barrett – owner and head coach at Takedown.

Had a FF class with Ross last night and it was real. Salty liquid still signed my forehead on the drive home, while my arms struggled to maintain a ’10-and-2’ position. Today, my body demands that every movement is accompanied with a fine. I’m limping around the office like a pimp without my stick, it’s all my legs will allow today. And you know what? I love it.

It ain’t a limp, it’s a swagger!

After my recent self-inflicted layoff, I have truly missed this feeling of negotiation between my body and myself on how far and how hard we can go.

We going a long way, boy! We going a long way.

Till next time, peace out and keep the sweat pouring!

Image: Flickr (MFMarcelo)