Today I Failed

IMG_0630The Chin-Up Challenge Post Show

I have grown stronger, but I have not grown strong enough. I set out three months ago to do 10 chin-ups. Very quickly I realized this was a lofty goal and though I didn’t change it, I knew that if I could manage to do 1 chin-up, I would be happy with that even though it would still mean the failure of this challenge. This is the closest I have ever been to doing a chin-up, but I still did not do a single one.

Today I failed.

Those who have followed along won’t be surprised by this. Some might be: you might have thought I was improbably going to pull this off; you might have rooted for me; you might have seen a fellow underdog make an attempt at something; you might have even seen yourself in me about that one thing you want but have been too scared to try and have. I set the bar high and I went for it.

Today I failed.

This is the first challenge that I have failed and it’s important. It’s important because it’s easy to set goals that don’t push you or make you try harder than you have ever tried before. If you don’t fail – if you don’t fail ever – then you aren’t trying; you’re coasting. There may be nothing wrong with coasting, letting the status quo take you through your life, but if you want something more, if you want to be more, to accomplish more then you have to fail. Nobody likes this idea, but it’s true. If you keep coasting you will never know what you are capable of. There is greatness in you, but it’s up to you to find it. Whatever that may be.

Today I failed.

No one likes to fail and I am certainly no different. I don’t like being told I am not good enough, but I can accept that at this moment in time about this particular challenge I am not good enough. Perhaps I never will be, but perhaps, one day I will. That is entirely up to me. When you fail, it’s life asking you if you have what it takes to try again. It’s asking you do you care enough to try again? Are you strong of heart? And if that answer is no, so be it. That’s where you settle. That’s where you begin to coast. The thing about coasting is that you will always, eventually, come to a stop. It’s easy to give up. It’s easy to say this is the way it is. It’s easy to point to any number of obstacles and say it’s too hard.

Today I failed.

There are many reasons why – some are excuses, some are fact, and some are interpretations of commitment, dedication, and perseverance. But none of them matter. What matters is what comes next. When you go after something and you don’t get it, it’s not the end unless you let it be. You have to ask yourself, is this it? Do I quit? And I hope, whether it’s a trembling, uncertain whisper or a resounding NO, that you do not accept that it’s game over. Every time you fail and pick yourself up again, you are becoming someone who is more powerful than you were before. Don’t let disappointment or frustration make you forget that.

Today I failed.

Tomorrow I may fail again.

But that won’t stop me from trying.

Chin Up Champ Wannabe     IMG_0630

^ Day 1                                                                                         ^ Day 94






Chin-Up Challenge Day 16: The Dork and the Prom Queen

It’s morning. I’m feeling good. The bar hangs in the doorway and I eye it up like a nerd who finally grows a backbone, tosses his glasses aside and struts up to the beauty queen while showdown by the Electric Light Orchestra pumps over all other sound. He doesn’t just ask her out, but tells her You. Me. Saturday night.

Except that it’s me and the chin-up bar and we’re not going out. No. The impossible odds I’m trying to overcome are not those of a dork winning over the lady at the top of the social pecking order. I’m going to slowly lower myself to the full hanging position. Bad friggin’ ass, I know.

I grip hard. I raise my chest to just beneath the bar. I clench my biceps. Flex my shoulders. And take the step.

It’s no 4 second decent, but it is controlled. Oh, and did I mention I tied an extra 5 pound weight around me? Booyah! But, like the middle of any rise-of-the-dorks movie after the first 20 of these I was pretty much back to the slight-resistance plummet. Such a cruel tease… just like those damn prom queens. But, as you know, this movie ain’t even but a fifth of the way over. I’ll win her over in the end.


So. Those hanging leg raises. If I ever get to feeling like I’m accomplishing something, they’re always there to tell me I’m still nothing. Here is what the final position is supposed to look like, based on the workout I’m following:

Her leg raise

Here is what my final position looks like:


As you can see by my strain face, I clearly ripped a hole in my shirt from trying so hard. Clearly. And look at that form. Nice, tight and straight am I right? I’m not right. Now, in turning to the almighty internet, “hanging leg raise” returns a lot of results that look like this:




… and I’m still not even close.

montage leg raise 2


Today’s Workout

  1. Stick ups
  2. Assisted weighted pull ups with controlled descent
  3. Assisted pull ups (no extra weight)
  4. Bent over row
  5. Reverse dumbbell fly
  6. Hanging leg raises
  7. Turned out bicep curls
  8. Chest press
  9. Push ups
  10. Stability ball planks
  11. Dumbbell squat
  12. Stiff legged dead lifts
  13. Spider crawl
  14. Mountain climbers