Lifting weights with my son

We’re back in the gym together. My 16-year-old son and I have been lifting partners before, but it’s a little different this time. (And, by the way, that’s why I’m writing this. But I also know you’re dying to hear how I’ve been doing since I wrote, “A Slave to the Scale.”)


What’s different?

For William:

  • He’s just moved back to the Seattle-area after five not-so-easy years in New York.
  • His older brother and forever-roommate has moved out for college.
  • He’s about to start his junior year in a brand-new high school.
  • His new high school will most likely be the same school as a bunch of friends he left behind years back.
  • He has yet to reach out to former friends and has been staying in the house alone.

For me:

  • I’m getting to know my son again after being separated for months as we completed the move.
  • I’m getting back to the gym after about two months away from my very structured workouts.
  • I’m closer to my body / health goals than ever before.
  • I’m a little unsettled over the unsettled nature of our recent schedule.

It’s important to call all of that out before I continue. There is a lot going on in our lives and what was missing was routine. That’s finally coming together with my wife starting her new gig at one of Seattle’s powerhouse newsrooms, and — after five of the greatest workouts of my life.

Working out with my son is great for a number of reasons. (Don’t worry, no more bullet points.) First, I’m pretty sure he’s proud of me and how far I’ve come in getting into shape since we were all under the same roof. Despite taking the past two months off of working out, I’m still pretty ripped for an old man. Sure, I’m lifting only about 75% of the weight I was able to back in June, but I can still see a little awe in his eyes when I slide the pin father down the rack of weights. Second, I love to mentor him. It’s one thing going through your routine just to get it done, but now I’m teaching him what I’ve learned since the last time we pushed around iron.

Growing up while working out
We’ve worked out together for the last three summers. The first year, as an incoming freshman, he wanted to prepare for his first year on the high school football team. That was a rough summer, with his brother diagnosed with a spinal disease, me being laid off from Microsoft (along with 18,000 others), and the fact he just had never exercised before.

The second year was better. He’d shot up about 6-inches in height and filled out his chest and shoulders, looking more like his father (IMHO). The household was much happier. His brother was recovering from surgery, but he didn’t want to join us in the gym yet. I was still out of work, but I had solid leads on two great opportunities — one of them offering us the possibility of a return to Seattle. We developed a rhythm and made some solid gains. However it wasn’t until he was back in school in the fall of 2015 that I started to really improve and creep toward my long-term health goals.

Monday, we walked to the gym and I gave him a tour (he had received swimming lessons there as a wee-lad, but he hadn’t been to the “adult” areas before). We got down to business with an aerobic warm up and then about 25 minutes of serious lifting. Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday followed. Each day a different muscle group; arms, legs, back/shoulders, core, chest.

It was a hard, but satisfying week. We are sore (he’s probably more sore than me, but not complaining). But I can already see he’s gaining confidence. Next week we’ll step it up. The following week, a little more. Then he’s back to school and I’m not sure what will happen. I’ve planted the seed that we could still workout when he’s back in school. I hope that happens. I love my son and spending time with him is a joy. Seeing him build strength and confidence is a blessing.

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