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A Support Network Is Crucial to Success

BarbellI originally intended to write about a CF support network. However, after I named this post, my mind flashed through a dozen different networks that assist people in succeeding.

Businesses need a customer network and a sort of mentor network.

Doctors need a network of specialists to refer to or people referring to them.

Parents need dozens of networks because it takes a village to raise a child.

People who want to get out of debt and change their lifestyle need support to minimize falling back into old patterns.

Most definitely, people attending AA or any of the 12-step programs need a network to have the strength to change.

You need a network

Yesterday, I was reminded of how incredible my friends and family are. Undoubtedly, my greatest cheerleader is Beautiful. She’s always looking out for my (and our) best interests with a perspective that makes me evaluate situations better. When it feels like no one else understands me, if I spend enough time using 3,000 words to dump everything that I feel onto the table, she can sort it out and still loves me when I am a walking mental contradiction of myself from one day to the next.

She was in support of every healthy move I’ve taken in the last 2 years: being compliant, gaining weight, crafting my schedule around taking care of myself, and the list goes on and on. With the walking, she went out with me every day until I had it engrained as a habit. When I said I wanted to really start lifting to gain muscle mass instead of water this time around, she was in support of that. Then I over-stepped her comfort level with my gusto – my network sent me a warning signal.

Her younger brother is 12 years younger than me, and he started to really get into weights about 2 years ago. We’ve seen him gain about 20lbs of muscle and generally looking like one of the healthiest people you can be. He said his asthma symptoms have pretty much gone away, too. Beautiful said over dinner last week that he an our ex-marine friend lift in the garage; maybe I should lift with them. I asked when they lift and got an invite to go yesterday.

The network kicks in

What I didn’t expect was for Beautiful to have concerns since she suggested lifting with them in the first place. Concerns that:

  • I’d overdo it trying to be manly (definitely a warranted concern)
  • I’d be too worn out lifting 3x per week
  • I’d take too much time away from work lifting at 4pm
  • When we have our first placement, I’d be gone when she needs me around so she can make dinner

When I thought about it more Sunday night and Monday, I knew she was right. I thought about letting her brother in on her concerns and telling the other guy that I’d done enough if he pushed me too far. I met her brother at his house to drive over together and something amazing happened: he was also concerned, but he did it in the most proper way possible.

He said that he didn’t know how to say what he wanted to say without “being my mom,” but that he was also wondering if I was going to be pushing myself too far. Talk about family understanding! I ended up doing one set when they did three. I was doing between 1/3 and 1/2 of the weights they used and felt puny doing things so light, but it didn’t matter – when I struggled to get the last rep out, they gave me the same positive feedback they gave each other.

I’ve decided to lift once per week, going on “arms day” for a while and then switch to “chest/back day” in a few weeks or some week I feel really good and my afternoon is open.

It’s harder to truly fail when there’s a network in place to push you when appropriate and to save you when you need to be reined in.

How are your networks? Which one helps you the most?


  1. Megan Murray says

    Awesome post, as always, Jesse! I’m so glad that you have such a wonderful network in place to help you as you get used to lifting. Your friends really sound motivational!  My networks are definitely my family, my friends, and my CF family.  They all help me in different ways and depending on my struggle, one network is better than another for me.  Ultimately, my family network is the one I turn to most often since I rely on my husband for any and every challenge that comes our way.  

  2. Jess logical well thought out as always. Remember stress and rest, nutrition fills the gaps. Heck in my early 30’s I was benching with 130 pound dumbells now I use 35’s or 40’s. Does it look like a small weight, yes but I use great form and feel the muscle work. Slow concentrated movements, and my muscles feel just as worked as they did with larger weights. Stay within your ability, but use the progressive resistance approach, may take longer but you will be better off for it. MOST IMPORTANT….breath! Never ever ever hold your breath, the gurgles will happen otherwise.

  3. Ronnie Sharpe says

    My family is my strongest network. They motivate me without saying a word! Great job on starting a weight lifting routine, don’t worry about looking stupid (as per my blog today) 🙂