At the risk of coming across as a mushy-feely post, I’ve realized many of us who choose to invest so much of ourselves in our (lifting) sport, don’t always stay on Cloud 9 with the barbell (or other lifting implements e.g. log, axle, stone).
It’s (dare I say it) like a big kick in the pants. Disappointing even.
To find yourself dreading those training sessions you had once looked forward to, and really, really rather be doing something else. Like catching up on much-needed sleep. Or actually sitting down to eat a meal (and not while you’re working in front of the computer. Or driving). Or wandering to unknown places. Anything besides lifting really.
You walk into the gym and instead of being filled with excitement to hit certain lifts, the opposite washes over you and hearing your peers jump in glee over PBs, you have to restrain and refrain yourself from punching them in the face. Because their happiness feels like it’s adding salt to your wound (not literally, I would hope but hey, they gym is a salty, sweaty environment..). You know you should be lifting because it’ll get you stronger, closer to that grand total you’ve been chasing. But you feel flat and you don’t know why the fire isn’t there.
It’s particular easy to sink into this feeling after rolling off a series of comp-induced highs. (But we all know it’s probably not the healthiest thing to be in back-to-back comps all year round. Tried and tested, can confirm that it is also a recipe for delaying #gains).
It’s like a relationship with a significant other – after the initial honeymoon period, there come days (weeks?) where things start to get a bit stale and you have to remind yourself why you’ve made the decision to commit so much of your time and well, yourself to this endeavor.
With less than 5 years under my belt in the realm of strength sports, I state my opinion on this as purely anecdotal (after having many chats to various lifters having gone through something similar), and sharing this really for anyone that is going through something similar.
It’s not you (and well, it’s not exactly the barbell either)...
It’s a phase that a fair few lifters go through in their lifting journeys, and as difficult as it is to admit, myself included. It’s a frustrating process, one that I would have rather preferred to not have gone through. Much of the frustration I guess is because it felt like I was letting myself (and lifting crew + coach) down; willingly putting in the hard yards months on end beforehand, and then suddenly walking into a period where I was over it, I had enough of gripping the knurling and doing rep after rep after rep.
Reviving (what felt like) lost hunger for the iron required more than anything else, shaving down the ego. Looking at lifting with fresh eyes again. Looking away from lifting. Not getting caught up in the (social media) race of PBs. Taking training a notch down from serious-bitch level and more to can-socialise-like-a-normal-person fun level. Get different training ideas from other lifters of all levels. Recognise that I don’t know it all (more toning down of the ego). (TL DR: Asked ‘why’ to figure out ‘what’ and ‘how’).
Sure there is the principle of linear progression in training/programming but I think the reality is that longevity in the sport is more undulating. Up, down, big up, slight down, mini up, massive prolonged down, slow climb up.
I hope you weren’t expecting a love story.
(I have to get back to training and love stories don’t exactly get me stronger).