Stuff I Talk About

by Christina Ledbetter


At our gym they did this thing where they made us do these four lifts twice a week for months on end.

Back Squats:

Back Squat

Dead Lifts:

Dead Lifts


Shoulder Press:

shoulder press

Bench Press:

Bench Press

After, like, 55 weeks of this business, they set aside a couple of days for us to test our new strength. (I needed no test to prove to myself that I wasn’t any stronger, but I went anyway.)

Here’s the verdict:

Back squats: I actually went down in weight. Bummer.

Dead lifts: I didn’t go down, so that’s good. Didn’t go up either.

Shoulder press: Again, at least I didn’t go down. Who’s countin’ anyway?

Bench Press:

Okay so here’s what happened with bench press. My pal Holly was my spotter. They make us have spotters so that before we die, we can at least stare in the eyes of a friend before we go. And then the friend gets to keep the dead person’s water bottle as a commemorative token of our life.

I like Holly for lots of reasons, but one reason is that she knows I don’t want people screaming in my face when I lift. (“Lift” – that makes me sound so hard core. You even lift, bro?) Another reason I like Holly is because one time this guy was complaining about getting married and she was like, “Nobody’s holding a gun to your head making you get married so why are you complaining about it?” and I was like, “AMEN, sister!”

So it’s the last lift. Up to this point I have only proven to myself that no matter how much I try, I am not getting stronger. But this lift will be different.


I put five more pounds on the bar. Five pounds more than I’d ever lifted. And then I laid down on the bench, determined to change the course of my life.

I pushed the bar off the rack and held it above my head.

“You got this,” said my dear Holly, standing over me like an angel.

I brought the bar down, down, down, and almost,

al . . . most . . .

came SO close to touching the bar to my chest before lifting it up again.

But it didn’t touch. It didn’t count.

“Good job,” Holly nodded as I reracked the bar.

I stood up. “I didn’t touch my chest though,” I said. “I don’t think it counts.”

“It counts, ” she said.

I stood frowning.

While Holly and I are similar in lots of ways (like, say, we both live in Houston), one way we are not similar is that I generally took the same body I had before puberty with me into adulthood. We were just so close, you know? Why part ways?

But Holly? I’m pretty sure photoshop people use a picture of Holly’s body to slap over celebrities who’ve gone downhill in efforts to make them look beautiful again.

And then Holly spoke words into my soul. She said, “If you had my boobs, it would’ve touched.”

And that’s why I love Holly.

And that’s how I got a one rep max PR on my bench press.

DISCLAIMER: Holly gave me permission to write this, I swear.

Categories: Lifestyle

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