Be better than you were during your PRIME.
Over the last five years, my own strength training has traveled through various spheres of influence. When I was done competing, I spent quite a bit of time being “lost” in the weight room. My motivation had dwindled but I KNEW I needed to lift weights. Strength training has always been my form of meditation. Fortunately, I kept hammering away and just enjoying my time under the bar. From a half-assed version of powerlifting, bodybuilding to general fitness work, I have tried it all. Finally, I realized that floating around from fitness sphere to fitness sphere is what actually made me happy...as long as I continued to push the weights in some way, shape or form.
Four Kids and Big Arms
Although I was meandering around the fitness world in my training, I knew there were a few keys to my strength training happiness that I had to continue cultivating.
1. I needed to be less fat so I could live longer and enjoy my time with my children.
2. I needed to have big arms to boost my ego.
3. My strength levels had to be high in at least ONE lift.
4. Movement is key. Meaning...I just need to move to feel good!
These goals are what kept me rolling from program to program. Understanding the simplicity behind them made motivation easy to come-by. Working in a gym also has a serious impact. People believe that working in a gym means you literally are just working out all day. I argue the contrary, sometimes working in a gym makes it even harder to remain motivated. That is if you feel sorry for yourself and let yourself have continuous negative thoughts, leading to decreased motivation.
I knew I wanted to continue training but my work schedule started to get more and more populated. Meetings popped up continuously, having up to a dozen meetings a week along with over 30 hours of coaching makes it very difficult to get the weights clanging. But that was just an excuse. There were key emotions that I was looking for, key feelings I wanted to feel and specific aspects of training that still make me feel as though I am contributing to my athletes.
⇨ I needed to be able to get a full blooded pump in my arms. That makes me feel good, it makes me feel like serious work got done and my session was productive.
⇨ I needed to be able to test various exercises to ensure they were effective before passing them off to my athletes.
⇨ Occasionally, I needed to feel the aggression, the high, the emotional expression that lifting big weights can provide.
Training on a random ass schedule.
The biggest downfall behind my training has always been the randomness behind my schedule. Meetings go long, sometimes I have to leave to get my children, occasionally an athlete needs more attention than I planned to provide, whatever it may be my schedule is not cut and dry. That leads me to my first lesson.
⟹ Train whenever you can, whatever you can. If there is a 20 minute time slot during a day. TRAIN.
With a random schedule, I started to worry that I wouldn’t be able to make those gains. How would I achieve my lifetime goals if I wasn’t following a periodization plan?!?!?
⟹ If I am feeling it on any given day, I am going for broke on my timeslot of training. If I don’t feel it, then I take 30 seconds rest and just stay under attention as long as possible.
Another worry and excuse I caught myself making was how to ACTUALLY train with only 20 minutes time?
⟹ I’m the weirdo who sometimes warms up in meetings. If I know I have a slot between meetings, I stand up, loosen up my knees and hips and then when the meeting adjourns, it’s go time. Play games with rest periods. Do sets of 5-7 reps with only 45-60 rest over 20 minutes and I can assure you that you will gain strength.
Over the last 6 months, I have traveled to FIVE different continents. FIVE! I have flown on average, every 11 days for six straight months. I have traveled around the world TWICE in a matter of two weeks. Travel destroys me, it makes me feel sloppy, fatigued and just beats me up in general. How do I handle it?
⟹ Bodyweight exercises work, walking works, hotel gyms work, jumps up stairwells work, doing pull ups on tree branches work. Don’t sell yourself short, get creative and just MOVE!
Setting goals is extremely important for my own sense of accountability. Another MASSIVE positive has been our Garage Strength Cultivation group on Facebook. It has helped me state my goals publicly, gain positive support from a strong community while continuing to strive toward my lifetime work.
Recently, I pulled 662lbs on the deadlift. This was a MASSIVE PR for me and one of my lifetime goals in strength. I had set out to achieve this by August of 2019. It happened in November of 2019. Was I upset it took an extra three months to hit the goal? Maybe at first, but then I have to remember...What is my current priority in life? It’s my business, it’s my family, it’s coaching and THEN it’s my fitness. That doesn’t give me the right to eat piles of shit and miss workouts, it just provides me with a checklist of priorities that I use to hold myself accountable.
The biggest lesson behind goal setting is making sure that every single day has a small goal. When I set daily goals that are achievable, I hit those daily marks and slowly creep toward my long term output. While I keep moving forward, my pace may be slower than I would prefer but my goals are still getting accomplished, I feel good mentally and I feel strong physically. This creates a snowball effect of positive and productiveness that continues to build over a long period of time!
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