As I sit here eating an entire “Gourmet Cinnamon Bun” platter from the Publix bakery while feeling sorry for myself after three solid weeks of getting my soul crushed by my training program, I want to let you know that you are not alone.
I’ll be the first to say it: training sucks. At times, it REALLY sucks. We spend weeks upon weeks lifting hard, squatting our faces off, and pulling until we’re blue in the face — not to mention all the other supplemental exercises you may or may not be doing (hopefully, you’re doing more than just snatching and clean & jerking every day…but that’s a whole different discussion). Why do we do it? Because we freaking love it. Because we hold out for that increase of a few kilos after all those weeks of hard work. But, sometimes that thing we love so much that is supposed to be something therapeutic beats us down and consumes us. If that ever becomes the case, here are a few mental notes that might keep you from throwing a barbell out the window.
You’re going to have more hard days than easy days. Sure, when you first start out, the PRs are flowing like wizard’s fire (points for anyone that can name that reference). But, the longer you’re in this sport, the more bad days you’re going to have. It’s just the nature of the beast. What is a bad day? Missing lifts, not hitting your prescribed percentages, missing your PRs by 10 kilos on a 1 rep max day, or flat out just feeling too beat up to train. This is the nature of the sport. We are very quick to remember all of our failures, but that struggle will make the great days REALLY great. Hold out and keep up your training. If you have a coach and/or a training program that you are following, there is always a method to the madness.
Be consistent. Show up for training, pay attention to your diet and sleeping habits, and most of all, work hard. If you have a training program, stick to it! If you don’t have a training program, get one! I’ve seen too many people jump from this program to that program (or try to combine multiple programs) because they don’t see the results they want in 2 weeks. Two weeks is a blink of an eye in terms of training stimulus — if you look at some of the elite weightlifters in the world (like we all LOVE to do on Instagram…), they only really peak or truly max either once a year or once every four years.
A little bit of patience goes a long way. Weightlifting is not a sport of instant gratification. There are a lot of ups and downs with training and competition. Sometimes, you’ll do well — other times, you won’t. It’s those times when you’re not performing as well as you’d like that you need to take a step back and remember where you started. Often times, you’ll beat yourself up for missing a lift at 80% when that number could have been your 1RM a year ago. Patience and perspective — never forget.
I hope none of you think that weightlifting is some insurmountable thing that no one can get good at because that’s not at all what I’m trying to say. With any sport, you have bad days. Those bad days don’t define you as an athlete — it’s how you deal with them that defines you. Keep pushing through and you’ll reap the rewards of all your hard work.
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