No? I'll give you a hint; it's about my benchpress.
Still no? Well, maybe because if there IS a pattern... it's way underneath.
These are the days between my benchpress PRs.
Sept 12, 2017 130.0 Oct 10, 2017 132.5
Dec 6, 2017 135.0 June 28, 2018 137.5
Aug 3, 2018 140.0
They are all the same icrements - 2.5#. But some came as quickly as 28 days after the previous best, and some took over 200!
If there is a a pattern... it's made of 2 things. The usual 2 things.
Yes, another Powerlifting/Work Life analogy.
I am very close to benching 135#. Lifters know that this is less arbitrary than it sounds, as it means that I will be using a full plate on the bar. It’s a milestone! And in a sport based on tiny incremental progress, these milestones are major. And it’s very likely within 3 months or less from being achieved.
Some things that have struck me during this last bit of effort towards my big lift:
1) It’s on my mind. And it’s going to be the same incremental progress when I hit it. I go up in 2.5# increments every time. This will be the same. And yet… it’s different. Just like other progress, we often celebrate what seems like progress, but not recognize all the other exactly equal steps we took to get there before.
2) I’ll miss a few times before I get it. Because it’s really at the edge of what is possible for me, I won’t know if I can do it until I try. So I will, inevitably, fail. I have already. And I will again. In fact, even after I get it the first time, there are no guarantees that I can the second, because for that moment, I am playing at the edge of possible. And if I chose to wait until I knew for sure I could do it without fail… until I was strong enough to make it certain? Well, then for sure it would happen way later than it will by trying whenever it just might be possible.
3) The best version of me will be needed. Again, because it’s on the edge of impossible, when I try, I have the best chance when I had a good night sleep, and have been eating clean and feeling focused.
It’s this last one that really sticks with me. It’s very clear to me that to deliver this lift, I need to be at my best, and that comes not just from my intent at that moment, but what I have been doing in the hours (even days) prior to it.
And that makes me think about my other endeavours in life, especially at work. For sure most of my job is not playing on the edge of impossible. It’s certainly not a walk in the park, either. So when it’s not easy…. The very best me ensures the best outcomes. And the best me does not just come from that moment, but the moments leading up to it, including what I eat, how I sleep and how I recover and play.
So the next time I am at the gym, or resting, reading, or eating optimally, I will remember that what’s good for me is good for the best me at work too…and taking that time and effort is an investment in work as much as it is in life. And not doing it? Well that’s just not an option, now that I know, is it?
First ever un-spotted 115lbs #benchpress. I’m pretty sure I have never NOT used a spot on anything over 100lbs.
It’s not that I can’t safely move the weight. But I let fear prevent me from trying without a safety net.
I would stand there at the bar, trying to reason with myself that there was no need to be afraid. And even though I knew it was true I could not convince myself. So I would ask for a spot.
Today I tried something different. I figured since I wasn’t going to be able to reason myself into NOT being afraid... I’d just do it no matter how I felt. And the results.... you can see for yourself. I wasted a lot of time trying to reason with the part of my brain just doesn’t reason.
I’m done with that.
....and I shouldn't of left you (left you).... .But I actually HAVE had a dope beat to step to.
Forgive the Aaliyah reference....but it popped right outta my head.
Anyway, I have not stopped writing or thinking.... it's just taken a different form in the last bit. Some training I was on with work had us doing some prompted journaling, and I have a book that's got me thinking, and a girl that ALWAYS is good for a soul-and-brain-conversation. That's kept my heart and creative spaces pretty occupied. We also have a move on the horizon, so there has been some extra work, which has created extra naps. So time has also been a bit tighter.
But this blog remains my main place to think about my practice, my body and what I have gained and learned on that journey. And there is news there, so... HERE I AM!.
Well, to be honest, there is no news yet. It's just brewing. It's been brewing for 17 months or so since I hit that 100# bench press for the first time. I remember the feeling. 135# is on the horizon. It's been a slow climb. After 100 there was some quick gains, but the last year has been truly one of those turtle vs hare things. Progress has been real. Just super incremental with lots of time between.
And now I am pretty sure that I'll put that plate on in October and have a good solid TNG. So STAY TUNED!
The chart mostly speaks for itself. But I also told Jerimiah that I'd really like to be a bit brave on a last attempt in 2018. Not that the last on any of these above were guaranteed, but they had been done before a few times.
And we aren't currently setting a date target other than "next year". We'll just work on progress and keep checking in and when it seems within reach, sign up for a meet and to a 3 month (probably) prep cycle.
I said the same last year, but by November was desperate to get signed to a meet to have it firm. I'll try to exercise patience and remember that more meets are added regularly and I won't miss out. Then I can try to be a bit more organic with the planning, which may be helpful given my travel schedule can be hard to have any long term insight into or control over.
HERE WE GO!!!!
Some smart ladies have been telling me the same thing lately: it's coming from multiple places,.... that it's not events that make up your story, but rather it's the narrative that you make of those events. And that is the story of YOU... that makes you who you are.
It's a powerful notion. And I have been practicing. Jessica recently said when we were having our ritual Pho...."It's interesting that you would frame your story that way".... and it was a punch in the gut. She was right. I was undermining an accomplishment by the way I framed it. It took some thinking to figure out why I would do that, but the greater win for me was that now when I tell a story, at least sometimes, I hear Jessica's voice.... "interesting way to frame it", and then I consider whether the story I write serves me. And while being TRUE is the most important, there are ways to be truthful that still lack honour. Everyone has blurted out something ... out of a feeling, perhaps. And for that millisecond it was true, but.... it was not really TRUE. But you've said it... it can't be unsaid. I am practicing writing my story in consideration of this reality. Practicing that requires that I check my initial story to make sure that I am honouring the deeper truth. The text message with Jerimiah, above, is an early example of my new practice.
My life. My story. My choice.
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.
I watched a new buddy hit PRs at the gym today. Well, I watched the video. Nowadays I think that's nearly the same, right?
Anyway, it's pretty amazing. It's a bunch of stuff. It's all of the work and commitment it takes to get the groove. It's the headspace you have to find to even try those big numbers....
And yet despite the obstacles ....the numbers are there for the record. Not an opinion, or a "like" or a pat on the back. Which I am sure will also be offered in spades. But something even better. Even if there weren't the video evidence, this moment is another reminder....proof, even, the body is an amazing machine and it can accomplish magic when given a chance.
Tomorrow is the first day back at work in 2017... all of the festivities and extra free time over. Back to routine.
I almost hesitate to use that word. Routine sounds so ...routine. Hum-drum. In a rut. Same-old. It just sounds so unintentional.
And I don't think of it that way at all. As I prep lunch, planned for work and the gym, it's all very intentional. I'm not just going along with the flow, but taking charge of what I do with deliberate action towards concrete goals.
So yeah, back to routine. But don't get the impression I am just floating about with no special reason. See what Google tells me above/left? Let's call this one a noun.
A nice little "accessories" workout to finish 2016. I'm gonna get me some pretty shoulders. :)
As I was putting the workout in Liftium (app) I got a nice little smile from myself on Decembers consistency. When asked (usually the question is "Do you go to the gym every day?"), I tell people I hit the gym 6 days a week.
And looking at December... seems about right or at least close. But wait! I did 21 of 31 days. That's 67% (I'll spare you the decimals but rest assured I checked). If you pace that against a 7 day week...it's NOT EVEN 5 a week.
I'm not complaining. It's just a little reminder to at least sometimes consider quantifying from fact vs feeling. If you are going to believe a number.....get it from somewhere.