Some of the improvement, I’m convinced, is the practice I get at failing. Heidi will ask me to lift things until I can’t anymore. She keeps me from crushing myself with barbells and I have a natural aversion to landing on my face, so that works out fine. The point is, I fail every single time. There will always be a weight heavier than I can lift, a new kind of pushups that make the floor loom up alarmingly, the ever-elusive pull-up.
Knowing that I’m going to fail gives me peace. I can laugh when the dumbbell won’t rise past my shoulder and my arm feels like Jell-O afterwards. I can rest in the knowledge that someone is there to catch the weight when I can’t control it anymore.
Which in turn makes it easier, somehow, for me to try harder. Knowing I’m going to fail could make me give up entirely, but instead it makes me want to go as far as possible before that happens. So yesterday I did fail at dumbbell presses, but only after I’d done more than ever before.
Who knew failure could be so fun?