Find That Joy


Celebrate your victories; live in them. Celebrate where you are, even if it doesn’t feel like victory yet. Today I hit some big Personal Bests, and I am so, so happy and grateful .  Two of the events for 2016 Nationals are the axle deadlift, with about a 12-13 in pick height, and circus dumbbell. Today Chad had me work up to 1 Rep Maxes on those two lifts, as well as Floor Press (a chest press variation). After this training session I realized that a few things have changed in my training this year, and they are subtle; both physical and mental, and I am really glad I am learning these lessons relatively early in my lifting career. But first, numbers!
The dumbbell went okay, and my best rep was 95 lbs on my right, though I couldn’t quite get it on my left. I was satisfied. I have hit 100 lbs for one on my right in competition, but that was my heaviest training rep ever.  I also hit a solid 90lbs on each side, my PR weight at Nationals last year. 
The floor press I did last, pressed a solid but slow 150lbsx1, followed by a somewhat assisted 155lbsx1. That was after the deadlift.
One of the many benefits of having a coach for something like Strongman is that I can relinquish the burden of knowledge a little. It’s easy to psych yourself out when it comes to big numbers. So when I pulled 375lbsx1 for a huge PR, I had no idea what I’d just done, and went on to try 390lbs, and really WENT for it. It was not to be, but when I asked Chad how much I HAD pulled and he answered “375,” I yelled “WHAT??!!”  And proceeded to run around and whoop like a drunk fratboy. 

I advocate ridiculous joy. This was after last week’s deadlift session.

It was awesome. I laughed, whooped, nearly cried. So I was riding my happy PR feels, and reflecting on the fact that I have been finding the joy in training in a big way lately and that is because of those subtle changes I mentioned above. I can break them thusly:

-I’m progressing better because I’m eating more appropriately and thus recovering better and getting stronger faster. This is clearly very gratifying. The linked article goes into this more indepth, but in short, I got really honest with A) What I wanted and B)what I was actually doing to get there. 

-I have totally surrendered to the program. I trust Chad completely. I do what he says, and I try to run any extra assitance work I do by him for approval. I’m NOT extra intensity cardio or heavy lifts. I surrendered to the program, and my progress anxiety has disappeared.  Obviously it is helpful to have a coach, but I think you could acheive a similar effect by, once you’ve decided on a program, really swearing to stick to it. For a minimum of 6 weeks. 8 is better, but most of us have zero attention span, so 6 might be more realistic. Most programs will get you stronger. If you DO THEM.

-I slowed down. It finally sank in that I am not on a timeline to success, or heavy lifts, and I have to relax and stop comparing myself to the champs (including my very accomplished lifter friends). I can let them motivate me, but ultimately I have to be in this FOR me, to feel, savor and enjoy every PR, every training session, and every day I get to be active, strong, and healthy. 

I am feeling very grateful for the many successes I have had this year, and for the most part the best ones have come when I relaxed, trusted the people I have chosen to rely on, and trusted myself.

So I say this as much to remind myself as others; I can reread this the next time I get frustrated about a failure. There is no rushing the best types of growth. Don’t compare yourself. Your experiences of this life are utterly unique. Enjoy them. Learn in them. Breathe into them, don’t push past. Open yourself into them, don’t blind yourself with false ideas of where you “should be.”

You should be right here, right now. 

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