‘Tis the season for roasting chestnuts on an open fire and sharing a plate of Christmas Eve cookies with Santa Claus.

Thankfully, Mr. Cringle is immune to the coronavirus, according to the World Health Organization. Sugary treats, on the other hand, is a different story.

Jolly Saint Nick scarfs down enough snickerdoodles during his global breaking and entering spree that even lugging around a trillion pound sack, filled to the drawstrings with PlayStation 5s and Lexus Sedans, doesn’t begin to burn off the excess calories.

I think it’s safe to assume that Santa isn’t too concerned with his physique. But for the rest of us, Thanksgiving and Christmas can be a devastating one-two punch that KO’s the most disciplined Whole 30 Carnivorous Vegan, leading to gluttony and embarrassing questions like “when’s the baby due?”

Without getting into the mechanics of how food babies are delivered, there are two common responses to a growing holiday waistline:

Self-acceptance and body positivity. My worth will not be defined by the number on a scale or your definition of beauty. I’mmmmmm every womaaaaaaannnnnn!!!

Self-loathing and extreme New Year’s resolutions. This is me, doing the walk of shame from a debaucherous season of binge eating to strict deprivation.

Next year, my diet will consist of celery juice, cardboard and chia seed smoothies, and bathtub-sized salads with a thimble’s worth of Italian dressing (filled only to the halfway mark).

Dessert will be a sweet circuit workout using every machine in every gym within a 50-mile radius. By January 3rd, I’ll have lost a thousand pounds.

My core’s gonna be so chiseled that Superwoman will beg me to hand clean her cape on my washboard abs.

Elon Musk will launch the first SpaceX rocket to Jupiter from the ridge of my massive upper chest. Then, I’ll hoist the entire globe on my back like Atlas, and perform 10 sets of Earthquaking squats.

…and this is where the record comes to a screeching halt. I’m missing a leg. I can’t actually squat 🙁

***

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.”
— Henry Ford

Holy sweet paradox Batman!

Apparently, Mr. Ford discovered The Secret long before Rhonda Byrne produced DVDs about making bicycles materialize by harnessing the power of belief.

But as they say, with great power comes great responsibility.

Belief is a double-edged sword that can either slice through the impossible or cut ourselves short and reinforce limiting beliefs.

Guilty as charged.

I’d been robbing myself of glorious quadricep gainz for nearly as long as my seventeen-year-old son has been alive.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve, I stumbled upon @pegleg_puddle_pirate’s Instagram page. A choir of holy seraphims sang as I watched a video of him complete a set of barbell squats.

He wasn’t just splashing around in the kiddie pool either. This brolic adaptive went deep with over 400lbs on his back, then resurfaced effortlessly, with the grace of a water-treading mermaid.

A new seed of belief was planted that day, which would later germinate into my barbell squatting 45 lb plates. It’s a far cry from the Ursula weight our powerlifting Little Mermaid was moving, but much better than my last Personal Record (PR): 0 lbs

So call me Neil motherf#%king Armstrong! After racking that weight, I was over the moon.

One small squat for man, one giant PR for mankind!

After discovering the pirate, I found other amputees who worshiped in the House of Gainz and proved that limitations are nothing more than waste products of our imagination.

Meet @bionic_body, a bilateral amputee who could drop the People’s Elbow™ on The Rock without breaking a sweat.

And @that1legmonster, a powerlifter so yoked that the pillars of Olympia tremble every time he slams down a loaded barbell.

But what if I’m missing an arm, Mr. I believe I can fly? What then, huh!?

@1armarrowflinger has an innovative deadlift setup, and @havoc_sebastian performs t-bar rows in his laundry room while the rinse cycle is washing that smug look off your face!

No legs, no arms? No prob. @nicksantonastasso is more buff than a waxed Corvette, thanks to a mechanically consistent diet — he eats bullsh!t excuses for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

And of course, anything they can do, she can do better! This gainz train is also fueled by girl power.

Exhibit A: Liner Wand’s own @melissadechellis, a CrossFit shero who slings weight like a Colombian cartel boss and coaches other adaptives through her non-profit foundation @adaptivelyabled

Meanwhile, @truesdaleamy is literally kicking a$$ in Taekwondo and has qualified to rep the Cobra Kai dojo in the 2021 Tokyo Paralympian games.

And although @adaptivewithjar has taken a leave of absence from Instagram, her timeline remains evidence that the human spirit of resilience is undefeated.

For every circumstance you can imagine justifying a belief that something’s impossible, there’s an example of someone on a Tom Cruise mission, doing that very thing while cinematic explosions light up the background.

“Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it”
— Chinese proverb

***

My New Year’s resolution is to eliminate the entire concept of “can’t” from my vocabulary. To redefine what’s possible, crush unrealistic goals into little compactor cubes of accomplishment, and co-star in at least one blockbuster film with an A-lister Scientologist.

What’s yours?