Why I Couldn't Lift 100lb. Dumbbells & How I overcame it!


I’ve been going to the gym now for the past four months about four to five times a week… It’s not been an easy transition but has been enjoyable. I’ve found something new in my life that works to help me balance the tensions I feel. These are tensions I experience throughout the day with regard to living life in a slew of human relational dynamics. Yes, it can be complicated… yes it can be tiring… but i love it!

Back to the gym… I noticed something the other day and it stuck with me. I have been working on chest exercises, specifically called dumbbell training or “dumbbell chest presses”. I’d developed enough muscle over the past four months to try the 90lb. dumbbells and was now ready to attempt to press the 100lb. dumbbells. So, I prepared to lift and when I went to push the weight by body quit on me.

I hit the hardest and most defined psychological wall I’d ever encountered in my life… and it was clear this was psychological.

I just lifted 90lb. weights 10 times so 100lbs. should not have been a problem to lift. But it was. It was a huge problem because when I was looking at the weight I didn’t think I could do it, then I believed I couldn’t, then… I didn’t.

This scenario is all too common in life. We come across a situation that looks too big or “too heavy” and something in us… just… quits. In that moment we “give up” or “break down”. We start to develop a narrative that propagates the psychological barrier… keeping… us… trapped... in that particular cycle.

If you want to learn more about overcoming psychological barriers I found this article in Psychology Today helpful, read here.

Want to know what I did?

I went back one week later… prayed…. And I put up 100lbs. four times. (Take that psychological barrier!)

What I noticed this time was that I had recognized my barrier and treated it with respect. Then I crushed it. Haha! No, I had to be careful and know that I was at risk while believing in my capacity to lift the weight.

What does all of this have to do with you?

Simple. Since I faced this barrier, I’ve been asking myself “What other barriers in my life have I not been able to overcome?” If you know me, you know that I don’t handle barriers very well… so I tend to overcome them quickly and definitely. I push myself and those around me very hard and together we achieve much. I’ve found success in many arenas of life but have also run at a fast and hard pace.

Let me also say, I am not without my weaknesses.

If you don’t know me you should know that I’ve been dealing with being overweight for most of my life. I’ve lost and gained 85lbs. three times in my life. I am now working on losing it again... this time for good. I’ve taken my time and have been slowly changing my life so that I can sustain the change. That being said, as an overweight person I fully recognize there are psychological barriers associated with losing 100lbs. or more. It is a significant mental hill to climb for me and I am looking forward to the climb.

Spiritual Stuff…. As a pastor I want to make sure I tie this to some spiritual significance. If you believe in Jesus you can find yourself at times taking big steps of faith and at other times small consistent steps of faith. Sometimes after being in the church for awhile you become ready for “the next challenge” or “the next assignment”… then you go try it and find that you've hit some psychological wall… This is where you need God to help you. Maybe you don’t believe you can disciple others or go on a mission trip or start a non-profit organization to change the world. These barriers present themselves in a variety of ways.

We all have reasons as to why we do or don’t take these steps of faith. Today I want to encourage you to make sure these are not psychological barriers that are stopping you from doing that “next thing” in your faith. Like me and the 100lb. dumbbells, I needed to stop, think, pray, plan and prepare. Today I want to encourage you to do the same. Saavy? I hope so.  Let me know if you have any questions in the comments section.

Also, I’ll be recording myself lift the 100lb. weights next week, so if you want to see it you need to follow me on facebook (Assad Saif) or Instagram @assadsaif.

Until then my friend!

Assad SaifComment