I don’t have the mental stamina that I used to either. My 20s were almost wasted because of chronic illness, and honestly I barely survived. In the end I experienced what I could only call, for lack of a better word, a complete nervous breakdown. I just couldn’t deal with the pain and fatigue anymore, and I fell apart as a person.
There’s no way I could survive another ten years like that. The belief systems that kept me going were shattered.
I might have sounded a little arrogant with my “no pain, no gain” pep talk in the above posts, but it’s not just braggadocio. It’s just necessity for me now. Every day when I go to the gym I remind myself that, even if working out sucks, the alternative is far worse. A little pain in the gym is much better than the pain of chronic illness.
I’m totally with you about making gradual improvements, and I love your story about how you trained to do barbell squats. That’s exactly what I’m talking about. Set a goal, do what’s necessary to achieve it, and then enjoy how your body adapts to the new challenges. You could have given up when you realized your shoulders were inflexible, but instead you solved the problem by gradually improving your fitness. That’s awesome, and you should be proud.
I still get some DOMS from squats and deadlifts, but it gets easier the longer I do the exercises. For the first couple months of squatting, I’d limp for a couple days afterwards. Now the effect is relatively minor. And I agree that doing some cardio the same day and the day afterwards is also helpful. The body can adapt to practically anything.