Never Too Old TO Start Weightlifting - Weightliftingwoman

What is age, really? 

My husband posted a video yesterday to facebook of a 63kg, 40-yr old woman who just bench pressed 325 lbs…more than most well-trained men can even do!

At the age of FORTY, this woman is accomplishing great things. I’m not even 30 yet, and I’m bewildered.

Let me ask you, how does knowing that this 40 yr. old woman has accomplished something so awesome make you feel deep down inside?

Do you feel astounded?

Do you feel regret, or perhaps jealousy that you yourself haven’t been able to accomplish such a feat?

Do you feel a sense of doubt? – “I’ll never be able to do something like that!”

Do you feel offended…that I’m here rambling on about age and what people can do and what not, and I’m still in my 20’s?

OR,

Do you feel a sense of…hope? A sense of…”wow, this woman set a goal and accomplished something, so why can I at least give it a shot and see how far I can go?”

 


Are You Really Too Old to Start Weightlifting?

For this short mini post of today, I just want to mention what age really means to me, and why I’m glad I got into weightlifting when I did…even though I’m one of the older in my weight class competing at these national competitions every year and I know if I started when I was much younger that I would be much more developed. This is NOT a sciency article about the physical adaptations of your body with strength training and age, or about length of recovery…etc. There’s plenty of posts out there for masters weightlifters. Here’s a book by Catalyst Athletics.

Let’s talk about the motivational and inspirational stuff.

There’s a lot of talk about there about age being “just a number.”

Yes, and no. It IS a number…but it’s not a number that defines X, Y, and Z about who you are and WHAT you do specifically.

Age IS a measurement…of how long your body has spent doing the exact same stuff for the last X amount of years.

AGE is an accumulation of ALL of the time that you have done the same repetitive activities, whatever ways of eating, number of minutes you’ve spent sitting, standing, running, lifting (or not lifting), talking with people, sleeping, working, reading, walking, cooking, sitting on the floor, sitting in a chair, sitting in a car…

So, in all of that time, think of what your body has become used to because of the amount of seconds, minutes, hours, and days accumulated doing those same exact same things?

And we wonder why, as we get older, why our bodies will “not do things as they used to”?

Because we spend so much time doing activities or being in the positions that are NOT what we want to be able to do.

For these athletes who seem to accomplish such amazing feats of strength, or racing long distances, or what have you…think of the amount of time, training, and effort they have put in to bring their bodies to where they are now. AND…consider how much better they might even be if they started even sooner or where they might not be if they decided to start later?

The problem is, we think that because of our age — our “number” that we have defined ourselves as — that we are not capable of reversing all of these seconds, minutes, hours, days, months, and years spent of doing non-strengthening, non-active things.

But you can’t change what has already happened.

You can only change what you do this second. And the next second. And an hour from now. And tomorrow.

And you know what?

Today is day #1.

This is moment #1. From this initial moment, you have two directions really…you can choose to continue along the same exact ways and path you always have been going along and nothing will change.

Or, you can choose to take a different path. Try something different. Pick up some weights, learn to lift, teach your bones how to be strong again and how to adapt to extra loads.

 

I may not make any world records at the age I’m at. But then again, 6 years ago I didn’t even know what a squat was, and the idea of lifting 220# over my head was never even a destination on the journey I was on at the moment.

 

Today…is day 1.

Don’t think about how long it will take you, or all of the weeks and months and years of “grinding through” to reverse everything and to change yourself for the better.

You can be better today than what you were yesterday

And as long as you keep making TODAY better than YESTERDAY, that’s just one more day spent and accumulated working towards the person you want to become.

Some days you’re physically stronger than what you were yesterday. But other days, you’re mentally stronger, or emotionally stronger. Whatever stronger it is and whatever form it takes, choose to be stronger than what you were yesterday.

 

“Stronger” may not always mean being able to lift 1lb or 1kg more today than you did yesterday. Sometimes, stronger just means that you made a better decision on how to better your future self.

 

My life definitely could have taken a lot of directions years ago. I could have continued being a triathlete. I could have even just continued on the path of desk-job graphic designer who runs on a treadmill at the gym for 30 minutes 3 times a week and huffs and puffs with every stair I climb and bag of groceries I have to carry around the store. Or I could have been a professional violinist with all the time I spent practicing that in high school.

But I made a decision to try out lifting, and now it’s redefined who I am right now. In less than 1/6 of my life, I have redefined me as a person…as a stronger, and more able person than what I was before.


So, are you really too old to start weightlifting?

Never.

It’s not about “setting records” or doing the unbelievable.

It’s not about feeling that you have to be able to pick up the same amount of weight as your best friend or as that other woman (or man) older than you in the gym right this moment.

It’s not about being better than your 20-yr old self, or than some other 30-yr old person.

It IS about being a better and stronger YOURSELF than what you were yesterday. If that means starting with a training bar (like I did) then that’s what it means.

And — It’s about being able to share this newfound strength with your peers, with those older than you, and with those younger than you so they can follow in your steps and believe they can be something better than what they were yesterday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Be Inspired be the Inspiration - Finding Motivation - Weightlifting Woman

This post is for those of you who feel that there’s no way you can achieve the same things I have done, or there’s no way you can be as disciplined, as driven, as accomplished…you feel so overwhelmed with change (yet you’ve always dreamed of having a much better lifestyle than what you have now).

Sorry if this is a very ego-driven piece. But of course, I know despite all that I myself have accomplished…I also look up to people who have even grander accomplishments than I – those who compete internationally, or who have won Nationals, or who made it to the Olympics.

There’s NO WAY I’ll be able to get there either (or can I?)!

So we see these “polished” people who seem to have everything—they seem to have it all put together. We compare ourselves to them and believe we can’t ever make it there.

So why bother?


This post is less about weightlifting technique, per se, and more about finding drive and motivation to accomplish the goals you want to achieve.

When I first started my journey towards getting in shape, towards running marathons, getting involved in crossfit, and competing in weightlifting…I did it because I was inspired by others and their accomplishments – I was inspired by what my friends, colleagues & peers were doing and what they could do, and the goals they achieved.

I started simply by being inspired by a co-worker who was training for his first half-marathon, and decided heck, I’ll try that myself…what do I have to lose other than feeling better about myself each day for trying to work towards a more positive goal. Even if I wasn’t the best “runner” ever, or ended up finishing in the bottom half of all racers, I was working towards a positive change each day.

And well…one thing leads to another

and that brings me to where I am today.

But, I see a lot of you also wanting to make change in your lives…wishing upon being healthier, being stronger – and it seems too steep of a mountain to climb.


How can you possibly be inspired by someone who is already well polished and accomplished?

I mean…it’s overwhelming, right?

Wouldn’t you rather be motivated and inspired by someone who literally started at your level, with a similar background, experiences, lifestyle, physical ability…yet went on to achieve these major, inspirational goals?

At times, I see people envy the lifestyle of others who seem to have it all…these people seem to stay on top of their health and nutrition; they’re strong, fit, dedicated, and always seem to be working towards bettering themselves. They seem to have it all put together.

Yet we feel we can’t possibly ever do that. No way we’re that disciplined to get to that level.

But what we don’t realize is that these people DO have the stories and the struggles behind them that motivated them to get to where they are now, and they’ve been working at it for weeks, months, and years building up these better, healthier habits…slowly polishing themselves shinier each day.

And as each day passes by where we tell ourselves, “nah, I can’t ever do that,” they spend each day continuously picking at working towards a more positive change, climbing higher. It comes through just small tasks each day – just making it to the gym; making the right nutritional choices one day at a time; just getting out on that 30 minute walk; just taking the time to do it. And in the end, all those days spent turn into weeks, then months, and then years of constant progression – and then they’re suddenly at the top of the mountain when we’ve still stayed at the same starting elevation because we didn’t believe that one small change a day could get us there.

The thing is for some of youyou can’t be inspired by these people who seem to have it all put together.

Literally you can’t. It’s too overwhelming.

So my advice to you: Don’t wait for people to inspire you.

Instead…do it because you want to inspire others.

If you’re having trouble finding inspiration to make change because you’re looking for people who share the same struggles and lifestyle as you…

…then BE THE PERSON AT YOUR LEVEL WHO MAKES THAT CHANGE AND INSPIRES OTHERS.

Because honestly, there are other people out there just like you, on your level, who are looking…waiting to see change happen from people who are just like them. So why wait for them to do it? Do it yourself. Be the change you wish others to see.

But remember, change doesn’t happen instantly.

It happens over just doing one thing each day, no matter how “easy” or trivial that may seem (because some days you find you won’t want to do it but you need to), and consistently doing that one thing each day until you don’t even have to think about doing it anymore.

You just do it.

Stop waiting for things to suddenly be drastically better. While you’re sitting there, sitting in the same place, pondering what you need to do to be better, I’m over here doing one more small positive thing each day to move myself further up the mountain. Somedays, I only move one or two steps, but I’m at least further up than where I was yesterday.


Be the Change You Wish Others to See - Motivational Quote - Weightlifting Woman

So I ask many of you, who are trying to find the motivation to stay on top of your health and fitness no matter what stage in life you are – maybe you’re hoping to compete in a meet soon, or just looking to make it to the gym 3 times a week at minimum…or hoping to just feel healthier about yourself:

Who do you want to inspire?

Who is one person whom you know looks up to you for what you do? Who do you want to be an idol for?

Is there someone out there who doubts you…who thinks that you’re unable to take on and accomplish the challenges you’ve always wanted to face…but you want to prove them wrong?

Is there someone out there who you know WILL be looking to you for motivation because they care and trust you? A friend…a child…a loved one?

Perhaps that someone is…yourself?

I know…I know…some of you are thinking, “I shouldn’t be changing because other people want me to…I need to do this FOR MYSELF!

But sometimes, “for myself” is not what motivates us all. Some of us need to feel that others are watching us, waiting for us, learning from us in order to feel motivated to change themselves. Some of us are naturally obligers and need that outer accountability and outer expectations of us in order for us to be motivated for change.

I do have a list of names…of people whom I know – friends, family, colleagues, who I wish would start to make more positive change in their lives – who I know complain constantly about their lifestyle, or complain about not being able to be “as awesome as so-and-so” and wish it was better all the time. And well, I have to accept that if they want to change, they have to find the turning point and the motivation on their own. There’s only so much that I can do on my end to help these people out…and that is just be human, be positively encouraging, and be an inspiration.

I’d rather be someone who demonstrates constant positivity and effort rather than the person who “just kinda goes with the flow because life controls her.”

No. I control my life and how I react to my life, and I want you to know that you have control too.

If you’re still looking for that turning point in your life…a reason to commit to change for the better and to start making new habits for yourself – then start doing it for the people in your life whom you want to be a positive role model for.

Actually, don’t focus on doing this for a lot of people…that’s too overwhelming. Too much pressure.

Just for now, focus on doing this for just one person.

Whom are you really doing this for?

Be inspired…but be the inspiration. 

 

Get Motivated - Exercise as a Chore or a Passion - Weightlifting Woman - @powersofthesnow

I wrote this for many of you who find that some days, the motivation just isn’t there to get into the gym – seeing that New Years is coming up and many of you are considering making some changes or resolutions.


 

I used to think exercise was a chore.

I remember the days where I dreaded “working out” – the days when I wasn’t in shape, strong, or good at anything at all. This wasn’t too long ago…probably about 5 years ago when I was in college (and all throughout middle school and high school). Running down the block made me feel winded and ready to hurl. I somehow managed to walk for 4.5 hours on a golf course once a week when on the time but was definitely drained at the end (and still chubby and overweight).

I felt burdened by the idea of “moving for the sake of moving” to stay healthy.

But for a minute, lets talk about CHORES!

Chores…UGH! Once we feel like we *have* to do something we sort of don’t want to do it.

I hate the feeling of being obligated, or tied down to something when I don’t see the immediate benefits of doing that thing RIGHT NOW (having people over, for example).

…like, can it wait?

Laundry, dishes, cleaning the bathroom, taking out the boxes to the recycling bin, reorganizing the tupperware so it doesn’t spill out when you open the cupboard door, etc. etc. Chores seem like such a hassle because they take away from all the other cool stuff we could be doing and we hate the feeling of dealing with the mess.

BUT when you do get those things done though, you feel like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders –  it’s like there’s this invisible blanket of stress and anxiety that just flies away, and suddenly everything seems a bit lighter, clearer, and you can breathe.

It’s never until after we’re done with the chore that we feel the happiness and satisfaction of getting it done in the first place.

I feel exercise is the same way to a lot of people…it seems like such a “chore” to get done.

“Ugh, I feel tired, I’m sore, I could be doing other things that give me short term satisfaction, I have to work to make money.”

Exercise might seem like a chore…unless you have a different mindset about it. What if you could turn exercise into a passion, and into a part of who you are?

Back in high school when I was obsessed with sitting at a computer at home all day and loathed running, I remember one of my friends who was on the cross country team tell me “running is fun once you do it a lot and once you’re good at it.”

I never believed her until I actually followed through with it and stuck to trying to run further and further, and trained for my first race. The first couple weeks obviously sucked really bad as I felt constantly tired, incapable, and felt that my breath was hard and out of control. But when I finished that darn run (even if it was only 20 minutes), I felt so accomplished for the rest of the day.

So….how do you find motivation? How do you stop thinking about exercise as a chore then?

1. If you’re finding yourself unmotivated at the moment, stop thinking about the way you feel during the exercise, and instead, start thinking about the way you feel after the exercise is completed.

I think that’s why most of us get turned off by the idea or get unmotivated from wanting to workout in the first place…because that’s probably the first thing that comes to mind when we think about “exercise.” We feel incapable, tired, fast, full of heavy breathing, sticky and sweaty, discomforted from muscles feeling the burn, impatient waiting for a clock to slowly tick down until you’re done with the sprint. BUT of course after you’re done with any workout (whether it’s that small 10 minutes you were able to sneak in, or a long grueling 2-hour long training day) you feel SO accomplished and SO satisfied with yourself…and yay you can go to bed knowing you did your chores today!!

You’re only one workout away from a better mood.

Sometimes, I just feel bogged down and tired and “don’t want to do it” but it’s not until I just say, “you know what, let’s just go” and I get to the gym that I’m extremely glad I got off my butt and went in.

I don’t know about you, but it’s definitely rare that prior to going to the gym I’ve felt so much overwhelming amounts of energy that I’m bouncing up and down the walls dying to “workout” to get rid of that seemingly infinite energy, unless I’ve just tapered for a huge competition.

Wish I could feel that way every day…but then…

 

2. Regardless of where your current fitness level is, start to consider yourself an “athlete”

I never considered myself to be in shape at all or in love with exercise until I considered myself an “athlete.”

I, of course, wasn’t a very GOOD athlete by all means when I decided to label myself in this way (probably lugging miles along training for my first official 5k race or half marathon). But I kept telling myself that I was an athlete of some type that was looking to be better, stronger, faster, more powerful and more energetic. And you know what eventually happened? I stuck with it, set some goals, made some goals, made MORE goals, and now I can’t imagine my life without doing any of this!

Because I thought of myself as an athlete, “exercise” didn’t exist anymore. What used to be “exercise” turned into “training sessions” and “workouts” and “benchmarks” that would eventually get me to a goal. An athlete doesn’t necessarily have a goal to just “look good” (which is why I felt exercise used to be a chore, because I used it as a means to lose weight and look good).

An athlete has goals to obtain physical feats – to lift a certain amount, or run a certain speed, or win a game on a team, or finish an obstacle course race, or to advance to higher levels of athleticism or achievements in their sport. Looks don’t necessarily matter as much – what you can DO matters. Set a GOAL! Now the workouts each day becomes all the steps it takes to get there.

(along those lines…I consider “having people over” a GOAL…and boy oh boy when I schedule a day to have people over and the house is a MESS then YOU BET FOR SURE those chores will get done. Same thing for athletic goals, except you really can’t procrastinate on those 🙂

Once you stop thinking of daily activity as “exercise” and start thinking of it as part of your life – as the pathway to certain physical feats and goals at the end of the road – and part of who you want to be…then it feels less like a chore and more of a passion and a hobby.

3. Start searching for the hobby-like aspects of exercise:

  • Are there people who share the same goals and passion as you that you can team up with? (I ended up joining a running team when I started my journey to becoming an “athlete”, and currently train once a week with a weightlifting team).
  • Can your workouts become gateways or exit doors that take you away from all the other stressors of your life momentarily?
  • What if working out became that time where you could focus on yourself, and do something for yourself?

Once exercise becomes a passion, and not a chore, and you feel like you might be somewhat of an athlete…you won’t feel “chained down by it” – you don’t feel like you HAVE to do it or else the chubby, energy draining muscle atrophy gods will curse you for the rest of your life, (which is probably a shorter amount of time because you choose to not be in shape.)

You’ve got to say “Yes, I want to be that person who is strong, and capable, and fast, and powerful, and full of energy…because that’s what I do and that’s an integral part of my life.”

“I push things aside so I can train. Not exercise…train.”

If you’re struggling to feel motivated – then take the “chore” out of exercise and focus on the benefits, the end goals, and the “afterwards” results…keep your mind away from the actual doing of it and just go do it!

 

Independent & Dependent Goals - What Makes You More Satisfied in the End? Weightlifting Woman @powersofthesnow

You all,

I have another philosophical rant for you about….goals

(again, really?)

I was just reflecting on what types of goals make me the most satisfied with myself in the end – and what types of goals I set (that I don’t make) that make me feel like I can’t ever get there.

Well, it just occurred to me there there are two different kinds of goals or standards we can set for ourselves…and well I don’t know if this theory has been stated or written up elsewhere but I promise this is all from my head and I have no references:

  • INDEPENDENT GOALS (Meeting or matching a definitive measured number…a.k.a. quantitative). Examples:
    • lift a certain amount of weight on the bar (Clean & Jerk 2 Red plates, for example)
    • Run a 6-minute mile, or complete a 5k in under 25 minutes.
    • Have blood pressure measured at a certain level
    • Meet a certain number on the scale
    • Eat X number of protein grams per day, or successfully not drink any alcohol for 30 days.

Basically, Independent goals are goals that give us a definitive target regardless of who-else is out there. If you take everyone else out of the picture (other athletes, competitors, candidates, friends, family, etc), independent, quantitative goals will still be there for you to match or not.

Think of independent goals as getting a “Yay! You Participated!” Medal at the end.

  • DEPENDENT GOALS (Qualifying for or meeting a certain criteria dependent on the performance of others…a.k.a. qualitative) Examples:
    • To qualify for Crossfit Games “Regionals”
    • To finish on the podium at a sport/athletic competition, such as at Weightlifitng Nationals,
    • Qualifying for the Olympics
    • To back squat more than your best friend, or that “guy/gal” at the gym
    • To get accepted to a certain school/college/program/job

To summarize, dependent goals are goals in which your ability to meet that goal depends on the performance of everyone else around you also trying to meet that same goal. Whereas a medal won after an “independent” goal can be obtained by all those who have put in the effort, a medal earned from meeting a dependent goal was *given to you instead of others* because you accomplished something others couldn’t who were also striving for that same goal.

Now, there are some goals that do slightly fall in between the two (but I’d call them more “Semi-Dependent” goals because they are somewhat determined based off of the criteria others have set) Examples are: The current Clean & Jerk record for your weight class in the region, or even in the world; The qualifying total needed for the American Opens, or for the Boston Marathon; Fitting into a “Size 4” dress (lol! but it’s true – our standards of dress sizes change with generations, measurements and geographical location).

SO OK, what’s the point – why think of goals in this way?

Well, I guess I was trying to figure out which of these types of goals made me feel “happier” overall, or just more satisfied with my life – and which goals were just driving me down some endless cycle of constantly trying but never seeming to get there.

I don’t know about you, but I always feel more frustrated with my end performance when I set more dependent goals for myself, and don’t meet them. OR…try to train to be better than other people.

A few months ago our Gym set up a “Summer Goals” board – and I put on there that I wanted to Clean & Jerk 100kg, Snatch 75kg and finish on the Podium at Nationals.

Two independent goals and one dependent  goal.

I didn’t ever make any of them (and still haven’t to this day) – but now just wondering if my strive to meet the dependent goal (podium finish) took away from my ability to meet the independent goals (C&J + Snatch) – or the other way around?

Maybe my impatience on wanting to snatch and clean & jerk those numbers quicker (and doing multiple heavy reps when I shouldn’t be) took away from the greater progress of the podium finish goal.

So by not making my dependent “podium finish” goal – I felt like I left completely unsatisfied and wanted to make a drastic change to meet that goal…and in fact, something I’ve been teeter-tottering as well is the consideration of dropping a weight class in order to “perform better relative to others” in that weight class and perhaps finish on the podium (because my numbers I lift now would definitely get me a medal in the 48kg class) – but in the end my overall numbers would drop due to loss in muscle and I wouldn’t be close to lifting magical numbers like “100kg” anymore without putting in even more work. I’d be sacrificing an independent goal in order to meet a dependent one.


 

So with that thought in mind – is it more satisfactory to be weaker at something in general, but still better at it compared to others around you – or is it more satisfactory to drop that outer dependence of performance of others and just do it for yourself and yourself only? 

Meeting DEPENDENT Goals:

The Limitations & Downfalls of Setting & Obtaining Dependent Goals:

Uncontrollable Factors: The issue with dependent goals are factors that you cannot control – so the only way to really meet these goals is to study your competition, strategize, and train the best you can to perform the best you can in hopes that others won’t perform as well as you.

Comparative Nature: Another potential downside to setting and trying to meet dependent goals that comes is feeling that other people judge you based on your performance in relation to others. There’s usually a feeling of “I’m not as good” or “I’ll never be as good” because you’re always comparing your performance in the context of others.

Pressure: I don’t know about you, but when I feel the need to perform well in the eyes of others at that very moment well then I get a huge sense of anxiety and pressure that comes with that performance. I feel this anxiety and stress comes much less when it’s an independent personal goal that has no sense of urgency or a “must do it now’ situation.

 

The Upsides – What is there to Gain from Obtaining Dependent Goals:

Acknowledgement: Winning something, or beating a record, or doing better than the other competitors around you brings about acknowledgement and recognition from others – perhaps if you’re someone who’s been looking for this type of recognition your whole life to feel satisfied than meeting a dependent goal will certainly make you feel on top of the world.

Legacy: Getting yourself there means you got your name there written in the books to stay – and now you’ve given others a goal to try and match up to.

Pride and Boasting Rights for your Resume: Now when it comes to future competitions – being picked for a team or being the favorable choice, you now have this accomplishment written all over your resume as a way to convince people of your worth when faced with the pressure of others

Overwhelming Satisfaction: Um…you just did what a lot of others (who are trying just as hard) couldn’t do! You should be proud!

 


Limitations when it comes to meeting INDEPENDENT goals

The Limitations & Downfalls of Setting & Obtaining Independent goals:

No Context: How do you know if the quantitative goal you’re actually trying to meet is even good at all? Is it meaningful if it’s a number that’s just not as impressive compared to what others can do?

Lack of Urgency, Pressure or Motivation To Meet Inner Expectations: Independent goals are on your own timeline – and it really depends on if you have the drive to meet the inner expectations that you set for yourself. Sometimes, having an outer influence that pushes you to act faster can help you get to your goals quicker.

 

The Upsides – What is there to Gain from Obtaining Independent Goals:

You really are on a quest to better yourself just for yourself. There is no judgement, there is no comparison. You either meet the number or you don’t meet the number.

Feeling like you have complete control: Because this type of goal does not involve anyone else – it’s really all ON you, and when you do complete that goal…well it was all your effort, of course!

A sense of “wow, I can actually do this!” – Because usually (and I hope so) independent goals are goals we set for ourselves to hit that we KNOW we can accomplish because we have control. We may or may not hit those dependent goals sometimes (again, due to uncontrollable factors, etc), but we have complete control over our own independent goals and how far out we decide to set them.

Being strong and fit is a choice, just as being weak, out of shape and chubby is a choice. Just depends on which you really want more and how much work you’re willing to put in.

Overwhelming Satisfaction: Um…you just set a goal, and made it, and are now that much closer to where you want to be…congratulations you should be proud of yourself!


 

Now I end with some open ended questions:

Is it worth it at all to set some very high stakes, dependent goals for ourselves, knowing that they might lead to more dissatisfaction in ourselves if we don’t meet them? Should we just stick to only independent goals?

Is the satisfaction and happiness that we gain from a dependent goal really that much more worth it than meeting a bunch of independent goals?

Or maybe…does our strive to meet dependent goals prevent us from clearly seeing how much we’ve accomplished independently?

I’ll leave it there….but you know just something that just came to mind as I pondered why I compete at national weightlifting events or even compete at all.

 

The ABCs of Goal Setting and Reaching Point Z - Is there even a Finite "Z"? by Weightlifting Woman @powersofthesnow

I sometimes feel it gets increasingly harder to get better at something once you’re somewhat “experienced or good at it”

…and even harder to progress even further.


I decided to write on this topic today based on many conversations and encounters I’ve had with athletes at my gym – athletes who seem frustrated that they aren’t “progressing as fast” as they thought they would, or who look to others who seem to be way ahead and wonder…why can’t I also be there?

Wait for it…here it comes…my whole spiel on “goal” talk. wahphwahphwahph

One of the best ways to start getting yourself places and progressing to whatever that may be (have some muscle definition, have more energy, finish a certain distance of race, be mobile enough to do an overhead squat with the bar with full range of motion, deadlift a certain amount of weight, etc.) is to…set goals.

Hard numbered, data-backed goals that are specific, measurable, and attainable (with some effort required, of course) in an realistically indicated amount of time…by you. SMART goals…basically.

*Note that these goals that I’m going to talk about are “inner” expectations that you set for yourself, not necessarily “outer” expectations that others would expect of you, or that you *think* others expect of you. These come from the heart…from deep down. You might want to do these because in the end it’s for someone else, but not because you feel that they expect you to.

But when we reach these goals…well is that the end? Whoop-dy-doo we’ve hit the target, now we can stop and cruise, right?

Nah, I’ve never found that to be the case.

In fact, meeting goals has pushed me to further set even higher goals…ones that I wouldn’t have even considered before even setting previous goals. Or, perhaps I would have envisioned one day miraculously being able to achieve these higher goals but they were just a “dream” and not necessarily a real goal.

A dream is just a big goal at the end of a line of several smaller goals and benchmarks that set you up along the way, making the dream actually seem achievable and possible.

Comparing Goals to the Alphabet: A Personal Interpretation

Because I like using metaphors, I’m going to use the alphabet as a way to explain my way of approaching goals. We all start somewhere (letter A) and we all want to end up somewhere (letter Z). Now, we can approach this way of comparing the alphabet to goals in two different ways:

There is a finite “Z”

Z is the ULTIMATE ending where we *dream* we want to be someday (such as weightlifting in the Olympics…dang that’s a HUGE goal!) and steps B through Y will be all the little steps to eventually get us to Z. Think of “Z” as a little kid’s fantasy of one day becoming an astronaut or a firefighter. We might actually get to Z if we try hard enough and decide to drop everything we’re doing and put all our efforts towards getting us towards that one goal. Perhaps, at the end of life, we just end up getting to “P” or “Q” and being satisfied with that.

For many of you, this “Z” is the ideal – Z is a distant dream that may or may not be achievable (but it is achievable because others HAVE done it), yet you know that you’re definitely no where close to that right now.

There is NOT a finite “Z”

In fact, Z is always changing, because A is always changing.

Once you actually hit “Z”, you reset yourself, start back at A again and now are on a journey towards a new “Z”.

If you follow this interpretation of the “goal alphabet”…then you’ll make sure Z is always within close reach (still taking steps B through Y to get there). Z is perhaps just making it to the end of a 30 day nutrition challenge, or the end of a 4 week training cycle without missing any days of training. “Z” in this case might also just be making it to the end of the day without “snacking on any holiday treats” (and B through Y is every hour you have to deal with when coworkers decide to bring in glutenous cookies)

Z is always changing…and because it’s always changing, you never know where you’re going to end up.

 

Which of these theories – when it comes to approaching your goals in life – do you think is correct?

Are they both correct?

Well, regardless of whichever way of thinking you decide to fall into, we can’t argue that in order to get from A to Z that you haven’t go through steps B through Y. Now, that progression of steps may not necessarily be linear (for example, when you get to step K you realize you have to jump back to step D), nor are all the steps equally the same (Step B might be just getting in 8 hours of sleep per night, whereas Step “M” might be making all of your squat sets without failure). Regardless, you need to make it through steps B through Y in order to achieve your end point.


 

So, why did I just go through all this effort to compare goals to the alphabet? Well, it makes it much easier to analyze and make sense of why we do what we do, and why we “fail” (or actually, miss or skip a step) in our journey to reach the “Z”.

So now, let’s talk about some of the stumbling blocks – why might someone not ever make it to “Z”?

What gets in the way of us achieving the “Z”?

Reason 1: We start at “A” and see the amazing endpoint of “Z” but try to jump to Z too fast without considering or ignoring steps B-Y, or try to skip letters (from “C” to “J”) thinking it will get us there faster.

That’s where we get into problems – trying to skip over letters in the alphabet (or even worse, ignoring letters!)…trying to take the “short cuts” because we think it’ll take us to Z faster.

Examples?

  • Perhaps “Step D” is eating 5-6 handful servings of greens and vegetables per day, as well as a palm size of protein at each meal. Forget to eat your veggies and protein? Well, you might be lacking in essential nutrients and vitamins that give you the energy you need day to day, and you won’t have enough protein “building blocks” to build that muscle you’re trying to make with your workouts.
  • …Or perhaps “Step R” is doing adequate warm-ups before every workout to ensure you have best range of motion possible and that your muscles are prepped and warm to take on intense loads. Always try to skip over those pesky warm-ups? Those “10 minutes” or so of warm-up may not seem like much in the moment, but repeatedly doing them establishes a ritual and consistency for you at every workout that you can take with you to competition day, and they will overtime consistently establish (and maintain) adequate range of motion, better stability in the muscles and joints, and lesser chance of injury (we don’t wear a bike helmet just “occasionally” because we want to prevent injury – we do it ALL the time because we fear that *one time* when it will happen. Warm-ups are like bike helmets – they help to ensure – at least a little more confidently – less chance of injury.)
  • …Perhaps another example of “skipping steps” is jumping up in weight intensity too fast in the programming without considering the end effects of going too heavy too fast in the cycle. If a program is done well with a lot of thought, science, and data to back it up, then follow the damn program so you can at least stay consistent! I’ve definitely started cycles where that “70-75%” on the first week felt extremely light, but I know I have to hold myself back from wanting to go heavier knowing that the cycle will pick up quickly in the next couple weeks and I’ll regret going too heavy too quick (because I’ll have to deal with that load later when it really matters but my body’s already too fatigued trying to recover from that last load…oops!)
  • …Perhaps you’re trying to do a move that you’re not ready for (such as a complex yoga pose) because you haven’t built up the proper mobility to do it correctly and in good form without injury…or taking on a race or mileage you aren’t ready for because you haven’t build up the muscle endurance, stamina, or nutrition experience to withstand the volume. The experience of going through steps B through Y are just as viable and important as the end goal of step Z…and in fact, B through Y are “mini goals” themselves and not just steps along the way…they are benchmarks indeed.
  • Perhaps it’s trying to find some type of “miracle pill” or performance enhancing supplement that will give you artificial gains without you experiencing the true natural gains yourself or considering other factors necessary such as good sleep or nutrition (anyone rely heavily on “pre-workout” to feel like you have any energy at all? Feel like you HAVE to have a FitAid following a workout so you don’t lose those gainz?)

The other side of trying to “skip ahead” too quickly is getting frustrated and overwhelmed when you don’t meet up to the standards of the letters you’re trying to skip to.

DUH its because the other letters set you up to succeed at further letters down the line!!

 

Reason 2: We see “Z” but have no idea where “A” is

Literally, in order to start achieving goals you have to understand where you are currently at. You also have to be honest with yourself – do you have as much mobility as you *think* you do? Is your nutrition really as good (heh “80/20”) as you tell other people it is…and does your current lifestyle set you up to continue that?

Or on the other end…do you actually have more drive, more energy, and more willpower than you think you do at the moment? (are you constantly telling yourself you are too tired to do something when really you’re just trying to find excuses not to start and can’t see the immediate benefit of completing the task of B right away? Are you waiting for the days to pass by thinking B will “eventually happen” without just doing it NOW?)

Assess where you are…and be honest with the assessment. If you really have no idea where your “point A” is…well just jump in and start with something!

Starting somewhere (whether it’s the appropriate step B for you or not) is better than not even starting at all, because then at least you’ll realize whether you started in the right spot and can actually make the move to start in the correct spot if that didn’t work.

The cool thing is once you have made it to your “Z” (and if you’re picking your very first “Z” pick one that’s super easy to do) that when you “reset yourself” and make your “Z” your new “A”, you’ll never have to worry too much about what “A” is because you’ve already established that with each “Z” you achieve.

 

Reason 3: We try to adapt someone else’s “A to Z” thinking that’s the right alphabet sequence for us.

Literally one of the worst things you can do for yourself is trying to take someone else’s goals and make them your own. Ok, if you’re an Obliger-type and need to achieve something because your boss or workplace expects that of you…that’s a different story (because that’s an outer expectation that someone else expects of you, not an inner expectation that you expect of yourself).

We’re talking about inner, personal expectations.

Um…personal goals are supposed to be individually dependent and reflective of personal needs and experiences. You might have the same “Z” as someone else (first muscle up? 100kg clean and jerk?), but your “A” and your “B through Y” will undoubtedly be different because you have different genetics, a different schedule, different social expectations, different types of support, different experiences, different opportunities, and different everything.

So, there’s no “one size fits all” diet, programming, or what not. One person’s Step “Q” might be really difficult for them, but might be really easy for you and vice versa. You all probably have to take similar types of steps to get there, but the intensity and impact of each step will vary widely based on who you are.

Yet, you can’t assume that because everyone has “different steps” that they never went through the same steps that you went through, or that it was necessarily “easier” or “harder” – they probably did something similar at one point but just with a different flavor or interpretation that fit their individual needs. Your “Z” might be their “Step P” or their “Step D.”

The effort that it’s taking them to reach their next “Z” is taking just as much effort as it’s taking you to reach your “Z”

 

Reason 4: We get caught up and frustrated trying to achieve our current goals because we forget how far we’ve come.

OK, the one DOWNSIDE of going with the theory that there is no finite “Z” is that: because A and Z are always evermore changing, we forget sometimes where the previous Z’s and A’s used to be.

We forget how far we’ve actually come and how much we’ve actually achieved because we’re always constantly setting newer, higher goals.

It’s tough to be thoroughly satisfied (for the long term) once we achieve the “Z” – Perhaps momentarily once you’ve finished the race, or snatched that long anticipated weight that you feel some sense of achievement and a “yes I did this!”…but does it ever stop there?

We keep striving for more and looking for more challenges to keep us motivated because we rarely ever find satisfaction in just staying in the same spot. But with every new Z comes a whole new set of B through Y that may not take the same level of effort or experience. It’s not like you can continuously repeat the same B through Y and keep progressing at the same rate if you’re always resetting back to A for a new Z.

The new Step “B” that you are facing now is way, way, way much further down the line than the original Step “B” you first faced back when you started your journey. It’s not like A to Z resets like an infinite circle…it’s like a new step on a set of stairs that lead to infinite goals and infinite dreams at the end. You’re just a few steps higher than where you started, and higher elevation means tougher breathing, colder weather, and thus adapting to tougher conditions to get to the end (if there is an end?)..

At least with the theory of a finite Z, you can always look back and see where you were at point A, point B, etc.


 

So…when do we start the journey to “Z”?

Today.

Why wait until the “opportune” moment, or until the 1st of the month to start something? You can start picking away at steps B and C now so when you get to that “first of the month” you’re already prepped and part of the way there.

Perhaps you’re in between training cycles though and you feel like you’re in this “transition” zone…well in that case, you’re in a different A-to-Z where the Z will be the first day “back at it” and your current steps are simply putting yourself in the best position at the end of your “transition” period to hit the ground running at your new “point A” when you’re ready.

The worst you can do is send yourself backwards into a previous alphabet set so you have to take even more steps to get where you want to be…more or less just stay in the same spot.

Why is it taking so long to get to “Z”?

Well, either you set your Z so far ahead that steps B through Y are much longer to pass through, or you’ve just stalled on one of those steps in between and can’t figure out how to progress or get around it without “cheating the system.”

  • Perhaps one of those steps isn’t an obvious one that you can physically control and get results for NOW, but one that needs more information in order to solve – perhaps you need a bit more knowledge in order to pass a certain step that you don’t have at the moment, or a certain amount of muscle built up overtime (that can only happen as a result of growth over time) that you need in order to achieve a first pull-up or vice versa.
  • Not all steps can be instantaneously passed through quickly and not all steps and benchmarks can be achieved with the current knowledge, skillset, mindset or way of thinking you currently have.
  • Some steps involve some sort of risk…stepping into the unknown and into the unfamiliar, and some steps are just freakin annoying and you have to deal with it so you don’t end up stalling.

All I can really say here at the end is that…we all have our “Z’s” that we want to get to, or that we dream of getting to some day. But it’s about the experience of B through Y, and about the creation of new Z’s that come along that makes our lives exciting and what gives us constant drive to be better at something.

Don’t ever forget how far you’ve come, and how many A to Z’s you’ve been through to get to your current letter. Just know that it gets increasingly harder to create full complete sentences, paragraphs, statements, ideas, and thus “satisfaction” when you’re missing some key letters of the alphabet.

 

Pizza.

 

(gluten free slice for me, of course.)

 

Pumpkin Spiced Seasonal Weightlifting by Weightlifting Woman - Snow Charpentier
Really, I just wanted a catchy seasonal title to draw you all in, right?

 

(stay with me here while you drink your pumpkin-spiced latte or eat your pumpkin spiced munchkin…I do have a point)
 

 

Let’s thing about this for a moment: “pumpkin spiced” things are very seasonal.

 

Once fall starts, everyone seems to be obsessed with the flavor for a couple days, because it’s that “special time of the year” and gets everyone in the mood for halloween, cooler weather, and the cinnamon-ginger scent that seems to fill every office environment with 85% of employees’ Starbucks orders.

 

…and then it becomes absolutely overdone with everything in the world taking on pumpkin spiced flavors (coffee, donuts, ice cream, beer, doritos, car fresheners, soap, nail polish, windshield wiper fluid, you name it). Pumpkin spice this and that…it’s overkill and you’re sick of it by the time December hits. And then, enter “eggnog spiced” flavored things.

 

So what does “pumpkin-spiced anything” have to do with weightlifting?

 

Seasonality.

 

Check it out – 4 reasons why “Pumpkin Spiced” has to do with weightlifting.

In fact…you can take all of the “pumpkin spiced” phrases in the headers below and just substitute them with “weightlifting” and you’ll get what I mean.


1. You become crazily obsessed with pumpkin spice for a few weeks, then when you’re deep into the season it starts to become obsessive and overkill. You don’t want to be around it anymore.

 

Weightlifting isn’t a sport where you can train at 100% intensity year round, or even for a few weeks at a time. In fact, a lot of sports are seasonal in this way – us humans can’t sustain always going at maximum effort all the time. We will just burn out.

 

So to cure my potential burnouts, each year I cycle back and forth through two seasons: Competition Season and the Do-Whatever-I-Want “Off Season.”

 

Competition season is stressful. It’s SO stressful. Not the competition itself, but everything I have to do and focus on leading up to those mere 3 chances at a snatch and 3 chances at a clean & jerk. Hours and days and weeks of effort just for those six lifts!

 

In fact, during Competition Season (pumpkin spiced season), I have to:
  • Watch what I’m eating 24/7, or at least feel in constant control of what I weigh and when, but also getting appropriate fuel for my workouts.
  • Hold back on doing fun “Crossfit WODs” because I know I’ll be sore for days and can’t train as effectively.
  • Resist going out or socializing as much, especially on Saturdays when I know Sunday is my “heavy training day”
  • Someone at work brought in cake for someone’s birthday? Nope, can’t have any…gotta make weight this weekend.
  • Reschedule things or decline things because my workout is scheduled for that day.

 

Currently, I’m in pumpkin spiced competition season now.

 

(actually on a side note, funny story. Nate just asked me the other day, “do you want to go to ______’s halloween party?)
First thing that goes through my mind (because I’m in competition season) is, “well, that’s on a Saturday night and we train heavy on Sunday, so I’m not sure…”

 

Then, I actually realized: “wait, last year we went to the halloween party, and then on Sunday I ended up PRing my snatch and clean & jerk, probably because I had some beer and a couple slices of pizza.”

 

So we’re going…but anyways, back to the point of this post:

 

Compared to competition season, the off season (going to halloween party without worrying about if it affects my training) seems so desirable. Eat what I want, train how I want, sleep how I want, etc. etc. because I don’t have to worry about an upcoming competition or making weight anytime soon.

 

During “off season” (no pumpkin spice)…
  • I can eat sort of whatever I want without needing to watch my weight! (sort of, I still feel guilt with being too careless with food)
  • I can train however I want without being “tied down” to a workout plan. Go hiking up a mountain before heavy squat day? Sure thing!
  • I feel less restricted to going out and socializing because it’s not like I need to be perfectly rested for “heavy training day” tomorrow.
  • Someone at work brought in cake for someone’s birthday? Sure, I’ll have a slice!!
  • My schedule is a little more loose and open because I’m not tied down to a “must-train” day.

 

Well, ok…why even go through this pumpkin flavored “competition season” at all when you can just live in the style of  “off season” everyday? Who wants to deal with that much compromise, restriction and discipline at any time at all!?

 


2. After not having it for so long, you start to crave pumpkin spice in the off-season. You can’t wait for it to happen again because you know how awesome the flavor is.

 

Yes, weightlifting as a sport is a constant cycle of “discipline” and “no-discipline” from competition season to off season…but strangely enough when I’m in the off season for long enough, I start to crave being in competition season again. It’s like once pumpkin spice season is over and we’re all sick of it…we move on to other flavors and other seasonal things. Pretty soon by September we’re craving pumpkin again! What gives?

 

Being in competition season and in “pumpkin spice” mode keeps me in my best shape, keeps me motivated, keeps my body looking good (yep, abs!), and keeps me constantly driven to be my best. Yes it takes a lot of damn effort (Watching what I eat, getting enough sleep, not missing out on any training days, compromising with socializing) but it’s those PR lifts and competition wins that makes it all worth in the end.

 

That sweet aromatic ginger-cinnamon-clove slice of 100kg clean & jerk at Nationals is totally worth the hard effort.

 

I do get to the point where it feels totally overdone (like pumpkin spice always feels after its novelty has died off), and I begin to reach the peak of overtraining and wish I was back in “off season” mode. Just the other day, there were a few Crossfit workouts on the board that I really really (no, really) wanted to do because I know I would beast them, but I had to restrain myself because I knew those workouts would reduce my energy towards my current programming. Why do 30 heavy clean and jerks the day before you are going to clean & jerk up to your max?

 

What happens when you start to crave other flavors that aren’t in pumpkin spice season, yet you’re still surrounded with everyone and everything just serving pumpkin?

3. Finding the right balance of how much pumpkin spiced stuff you have CAN maintain novelty and freshness of pumpkin spice during the season. It keeps you from getting “burned out”

Finding moderation within the season keeps us going and keeps us from going on an extreme vacation away from it all. Our central nervous system can get overstimulated too (even though we physically feel capable, our mental energy can burn out).

 

Even within the season of weightlifting, there are intensive periods where training builds up, but also weeks of deloading and “backing off” so you can refresh your CNS and body to jump into more intensity later.

 

Sometimes, you need a break from pumpkin spice in order to revive your excitement for it.  But, what happens when you start to fight the season and just don’t want to deal with it anymore?

 


4. Sometimes, even though the pumpkin-spice season is overkill and everything in the world you encounter or do with your life has to do with pumpkin-spice, you have to deal with it and put up with it until the season is over.

What happens when finally at the “end of the season” I get to the American Open and totally bomb out and don’t perform as well as I anticipated despite all my hard efforts and struggles putting up with the season? Do I still end the season and move onto different flavors?

 

This actually happened to me last year. 0/6 lifts at the American Open. 

 

I was furious.

 

Perhaps I just didn’t put up with the “pumpkin spiced-ness” of the competition season enough to perform well. Nearing the end of the season I was second-guessing if I was competing in the right weight class (53kg) and focused on seeing if I could be a 48kg lifter instead to have an advantage. I ate less, I caught a pretty bad cold, and I lost focus in my original goals because I got tired of the pumpkin and craved novel flavors. Not necessarily the “off-season” flavor, but other alternates to pumpkin that were still seasonal, like apple or turkey.

 

Thing is, I should have put up with the pumpkin til the end (as we all somehow put up with the pumpkin until December hits). If only I had stuck to staying pumpkin spiced 53kg weight class like my original plan rather than veer to apple spiced 48kg class (which I realize totally wasn’t for me anyways at the end) I would have done better.
Yes, the season becomes overkill, just put up with it. It’ll be worth it in the end!

 

Following my poor performance at the American Open last year I wanted to keep training and actually prove to myself I did get stronger and that I could snatch and clean & jerk what I had trained for, so I took a couple weeks off through Christmas, and then got right back into pumpkin spiced competition mode again and competed at local events twice more in January where I ended up making the totals I wanted and setting new records. It wasn’t a “national” accomplishment, but at least gave me the satisfaction I needed after veering away from the true pumpkin flavor.

 

That only worked because I took those few weeks off and didn’t try to jump back into training right away. I gave myself a quick break from the overwhelming sensation of competition so I could come back in slightly refreshed and the taste of pumpkin spiced barbell would feel slightly novel again.

 


So in the end, I don’t really know what the point of this post is. I think I was just trying to find a way to play off of the whole “pumpkin spice” craze and tie it into something I’m passionate about and make it meaningful. How did I do!? Would love your comments below.

 

I’ve been debating a long time what my first ever post topic for this blog would be about – what could I write about that is SO important it needs to be addressed now?

I’ve decided that the most biggest thing I could possibly ever write about is about…

…the little things.

The small, minuscule, insignificant things. But first:


 

The world would be much more awesome if we could get instant results with everything we do, right?

 

For example, you start up a new 5k race training program or a new squat cycle and in 2 days you’ve already shaved 1:00 off your mile time or added 15# to your squat!

Or how about this example: You decide to start eliminating all the processed foods, gluten and refined oils from your diet and magically you lose 5 lbs in the first week (not to mention that weird skin condition you had just cleared up too)!

 

Wouldn’t that just be amazing? 

Yeah, I know what you’re thinking…things don’t happen that quickly. DUH.

Or, if you do happen to get instant results they are usually much smaller, more subtle and quite insignificant looking compared to what other bloggers and people on our facebook feeds seem to be posting about their successes.  So therefore, those minor teeny-tiny bits of progress really don’t count because they are so small.

 

But is that really true?

 

How many times have you visualized yourself already at the end goal?

You have a goal in mind, and I’m sure at times you’ve definitely visualized how great you look, how happy you feel, what feat you are accomplishing (or have accomplished), who is with you and supporting you. Yes, taking a moment each day to visualize this end goal is incredibly uplifting and inspiring to our mindset and emotions.

But often times, we forget to visualize the process of what it takes to get there – how we will feel, what do our daily actions look like…what are we eating? What work are we putting in to eat the meals we want to eat? What does the heavy lift actually feel like? What types of discipline, self-control and hard effort are necessary to get us to where we want to be? We get so overwhelmed by the bigger goal at the end that we overlook the small subtle progresses that we make along the way that really can add up.

And what happens when we overlook these small, minuscule, almost insignificant feats of success? We tend to push aside the small things we need to attend to in order to hit our bigger goal. We being to think “nah, I don’t have time for that, it can wait” or “one extra handful of fries or nuts isn’t going to hurt my diet.” Yet, it’s the accumulation of all the small, little, insignificant things all together that we do to get us closer towards our goal that actually add up to our success in the end.


 

It might help if I give you an example:

I’m training for the American Open in Reno, NV coming up this December – in which I hope to hit some lifts and new PRs that I haven’t done yet. I wish I could just wake up randomly tomorrow and be able to clean & jerk 215 lbs while weighing in my weight class! However, following my wedding this summer and a month of “off season” non-focused training, I’ve lost a bit of strength and gained a couple pounds. I’m definitely not at my peak of fitness and need to build back my strength and watch my diet a little more closely to get back down to my weight class.

I DO envision myself on the platform making that podium-finish C&J and hitting 3 white lights – but at the moment even lifting only 90% of that seems to be heavy for me during max-effort days, and I’m sore, fatigued and stressed from everything else happening in life with work, graduate classes, coaching, long commutes, and finances.

Don’t ignore the little things – they really do add up.

It’s one thing to just get into the gym the 4-5 days a week and be able to do the programming to get to where I need to be.

It’s another thing to be able to have all the energy, focus and strength to be able to complete each training day’s work – and I certainly don’t get that energy just by following only the program (the major thing). I also have to focus on maintaining my diet, getting 8 hours of sleep, doing my morning mobility routine each day, keeping my stress under control, keeping the apartment neat and clean so I don’t stress about clutter and messiness, etc. etc.

It all adds up. One small thing (such as not getting enough sleep one night, or binge eating some extra tacos when going out) can throw me off my training cycle and I end up having a bad day of lifting at the gym and lose valuable progress.

When the going gets tough and we are short on time or energy, we end up cutting out the small, little, insignificant actions we need to take in order to get where we are and only focus on the larger things that seem to have more direct and immediate impact on our progress. There’s definitely moments where I’ve left out “farmers carries” in my programming because I simply didn’t have the time at the end because I had to run and coach my crossfit class at 5:30 – and really “farmers carries” don’t seem as cool or as significant as back squats do.

But, THEY DO MATTER as small or as insignificant as they seem because they help develop my core and grip strength when I consistently and repeatedly do it over and over. Over time, my body will respond to that load and build the strength and muscle needed to carry a couple kettlebells 50 meters – and over time that weight will be easier so I can then carry even MORE weight. I don’t want to be up on that platform on competition day saying “I wish I did those farmers carries” or “I wish I did this, I wish I did that.”

I want to have done it and succeeded because of it. As small and as insignificant as it may have seemed in the moment if I trusted the process I would be much better off in the end.


Trust the Process.

So let’s talk about how this might apply to you. Perhaps you’re not training for a big competition but you’re trying to start up a new nutrition routine that will allow you to lose fat / gain muscle and just feel healthier. You probably already have a perfect plan laid out for you with the portions you need to eat, the type of food you need to eat and how often.

So, at what point is it OK to deviate from that plan and still get the results you were looking for? How many times can you “cheat” or “have a little something extra” or “forget to take this vitamin” before it starts to take away from your end goal – or pushes that end goal further and further away from you?

Let’s even look at the non-nutritional things that aren’t even in your eating plan. What happens when you don’t get enough sleep and are groggy, stressed, tired, and wanting that quick sweet cookie fix to make your day temporarily better? What happens when you don’t get to the gym to burn off those extra calories you needed to for that day?

Ok, so having a little slip up here and there will happen. But the more you can control how often those do happen by addressing all the little variables and things (resisting those sweet tooth cravings or that extra drink you want when going out with friends, getting to the early gym class like you intended to even though it means forcing yourself to get up extra early), the more those little achievements and success will add up to a better you in the long run.

 

Trust the process. Focus on doing the little things – because they really do matter.