I got really irritated this morning at the gym when a stranger said "no no no for god sake don't hurt yourself " and handed me 10 pound weights in place of my 17. 5s. I don't think he would've done it if I was a dude. But I also think he was genuinely trying to help. Is there a "right" way to correct a strangers form at the gym?
In an article on Linkedin, I talked about some lessons from powerlifting. What I have learned from powerlifting is a topic that often gains my attention, as it’s really changed my perspective on growth, community and a number of other important aspects of both my work and personal life. And today….. I put another one on Linkedin for the “books” (even if this is digital….). And it made sense to put it here as well, even if this platform is uusally reserved for 'fitness' and is introspective, while this one ends with a question.
A stickler will say that I should be using the word decrement to describe what follows. And while grammatically correct, it just does not convey what’s on my mind.
There is a lot of noise lately about innovation in general. And it is important. It’s exciting. It’s often FUN! But it does not replace improvement. I have made some major changes to my gear (not technically innovation, but from the perspective of me as the lifter) that have given me measurable boosts in a short period of time (I really love my SBD knee sleeves), but MOST of the gains have been incremental based on constant small improvements to mobility, strength, and technique. Even looking at a quarterly progress (chart above)…. There are no momentous moments here. Just incremental improvement. But it remains real material progress of which I am proud.
Here is the rub. I won’t get to stay here unless I keep it up. In fact, in order to consistently do what my current best is, I need to get better still. And if I take too long of a break from testing my strength by using it…. By requiring ALL OF IT it to complete the activity I’ve chosen to do…. I’ll actually fall back. Staying right exactly where is I am - stasis - is not likely. People don’t stay exactly the same; we change. So the odds are very high that I will either take an incremental step BACK, or get STRONGER. I am grateful that I have the choice. I am not going to waste that on incremental decline.
Enough about Bench Press. The same can be said about many areas of personal and professional development. My job is to take what powerlifting has taught me, and bring it into all that I practice.
How about you? In what areas do you continue to improve, and where have you gotten stale…. Even maybe started to increment in the wrong direction?
Deadlifts and I struggle to get along. Always.
I did have a 13# PR in July...at 198#...and was overjoyed. Hugs were even squished out to Jerimiah. But it was months before I got even close again. Partly it was just the way the programming block was built. But then even at the end...it was still basically the ceiling. Squeezing out 200# 5 months later gave me mixed feelings. Yeah, it was more. But the smallest amount. And that was really all I had in me. Was it that going to be it? And if it was, then what!?
And then at the beginning of February I threw my back out...doing deadlifts, of course. We were doing reps (and reps, and reps) and the fatigue was building and I lost form. It was pretty bad. Tears. Doctor. Meds. Physio.
So I didn't train for a bit, and then did but ensured NO stress to back. I missed squats but didn't miss deadlifts one bit. I felt like they had met me down. Or I had let me down.
Well, we started up again, and I screwed up my optimism and told myself to just do the work and trust the process. It was hard. It was a few sessions of back to basics and changing things up. I was all awkward AND had low numbers and didn't have the excuse that I was a #newb. But I kept at it ....with a slightly wavering faith that it would build up to...something different.
And it did. A 5# PR at 205#....With maybe a bit left in the tank. Evidence! Finally a little translation into the actual lift.
Let's be honest: even at twice the increase in the previous 5 months, its a tiny increase. But it's the encouragement I needed to remind me that trusting the process is not about blind faith, but rather about relying on what you know and who you trust ...and sticking it out.
I'm elated about the result, but even more so by this little gift of the encouraging reminder that progress comes ....as long as you keep at it.
We just wrapped on a vacation to COUPLES .... and it was such an amazing rest. We are not really much for "adventure vacations" per se. We already really enjoy our life/lives and aren't looking to a vacation to fill it up with parties, thrills or physical exertion. A real vacation for us is a rest. Not just the lack of daily obligations, but almost a mandate to just "chill out already". Garth already has that down pat, but I struggle. It would be easy for me to find stuff to fill the time. And for some, that might be just what the doctor ordered, but for me; a good vacation is a serious reboot; complete with some time just being....being. Still. Quiet. Sometimes listening to music, or reading. Or a walk. But mostly just a nice slow crawl, a slower pace in the brain, and a release of "need to be doing" for my heart.
And I sit here on our patio for the last 1/2 hour before leaving, feeling grateful for this opportunity, and equally thankful for the life we return to. There is not even a hint of wistfulness about leaving.
All of this leaves me feeling immensely blessed and grateful.
We ease back in tomorrow. Laundry. I'll go to the gym and train. Then back to work on Thursday; full steam ahead.
My meet is around 14 weeks out. I have a whole cycle to work through, and hypertrophy starts tomorrow. I am eager for the work, for the inevitable progress, for the opportunity to practice. For the endorphins. :)
And work is really humming. I love the product and it's shaping up to be a fun and challenging 2017.