Progressive Overload

IMG_3159There’s a style of lifting called Progressive Overload. This consists of doing heavy weights with low reps. A good example of this is Strong Lift also known as 5×5 program. 5 reps for 5 sets. It’s three exercises to be performed three days a week and over time the weight increases.

Ex. Day one

  1. Bench Press- 85lb 5×5
  2. Squat- 110lbs 5×5
  3. Barbell Row- 75lbs 5×5

Next time revisiting these three lifts together:

  1. Squat- 115lbs 5×5
  2. Bench Press- 90lb 5×5
  3. Barbell Row- 80lb

Eventually overtime a person builds a ton of muscle and strength.

IMG_2504So what does this have to do with widowhood and grief?

As widows grieve and learn to adjust to life after loss, I feel this is an emotional version of progressive overload. A lot of times, widows, especially after their first break up cannot handle the realization of rejection. I was like this 110%. When I went through my first break up after George died, I did just about everything to numb the rejection– Run miles, swim miles, bike for miles, drink hard on weeknights, incapacitated on weekends. Yeah, did the abuse the body inside and out. But, the hurt and pain subsided, and I got back on my feet and kept trekking forward. Also cleaned up my act quite a bit. Gave up the booze because I felt it made me more unstable than I already was. I still feel I am so I don’t drink much in present time either. But what matters most is when the next rejection came a few months later I skated on by like it was nothing. I see this as a version of emotional progressive overload.

Grief makes us vulnerable, and with rejection on top, a person is bound to shatter but then get back together. Stronger than before. It doesn’t take a lot of reps or practice to build up, and that’s why this ensures emotional fortitude and strength.

My fiance is currently on a 2 week business trip and this is the 5th little hiatus we have had in the last year. This is not including the 6 months he was deployed. That wasn’t a little hiatus. That was a straight-up life adjustment for awhile. These 2-5 week TDYs are inconvenient but they don’t rattle me too much anymore.

Losing George has made his TDY and deployment much more manageable for me. And I chalk this up to the style that makes Strong Lifts so effective, and why I am applying a lifting style of Progressive Overload to dealing with widowhood.



feature photo cred: Suzanna Wasserman

About J.

Fitness professional, fitness & nutrition writer, widowed at 28. Writing about getting through grief through self-care, physical activity, and the ​constant feeling of being uncomfortable.
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