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Oklahoman writer loses weight, gains power

In week eight, Ken Raymond's weight loss total reached 20 pounds, and he lifted more weight than he has in years.

BY KEN RAYMOND Modified: May 30, 2010 at 12:06 am •  Published: May 30, 2010

/> I didn't plan on trying that much weight again for awhile. I told myself I'd use lighter weights — 125 to 150 pounds — until I got in better shape. I've got plenty of time to get back to 200, I thought.

On Thursday, a single thought took root in my head: What if it was just a fluke?

I couldn't shake it. Maybe it was a one-time thing. Maybe I couldn't do it again.

That night, I went back to the gym. I'd warmed up on the treadmill and stretched at home, so I was ready when I walked into the YMCA. First thing, I headed for the machine.

I draped a towel over the headrest. I adjusted the seat. My movements were ritualistic, methodical. I could have been a doctor setting out surgical instruments with rigid precision. I sat down. There were other people in the gym, a lot of them, but I may as well have been alone.

I pulled the peg out of the weight stack, letting my hand carry it all the way to the very bottom. Two hundred pounds is the whole stack on the machine. I slid the peg back in.

Until then, I'd been so focused that I'd been able to ignore my doubts. As I settled my gloved hands onto the handles, though, it all came rushing back. No way you can do this. You're still too weak. You were just lucky before.

My arms drove forward. The weights rose. I drew my hands back to my chest, pushed outward again. I was doing it. It wasn't a fluke at all. I did five reps, each one more difficult than its predecessor. After that, I released the handles and slumped back.

My arms weren't sore. They didn't feel terribly strained. I can do more! I thought greedily.

I was wrong. A sixth lift was impossible. I could move the stack a couple inches, but no more.

I've been telling myself I won't try to lift the stack again. Not for a good long while.

But somehow, I think that's a lie.

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