The barbell never lies. Ever.
But, are you paying attention when it’s talking back to you in your lifts? You should…
This is me the other day trying to get a PR in my 1 rep max Snatch. One of my best attempts at triple extension, if I do say so myself. 😉
I have to be honest, in the past year, I’ve completely slacked off in my lifting. I definitely did not do nearly enough strength and skill sets as I should have been.
What I did do is “maintain.”
The sad truth is, I am Deadlifting and Snatching the exact same weight I was a year ago. Why? Because of all of the lifts, those are the two I hate the most. They are my weaknesses, and just like any other human being, my natural tendency is to avoid them whenever possible.
But, after my big breakthrough in the CF Open season, I realized that the Snatch is the perfect representation of how I’ve dealt with my life for so many years. I worked up to a weight that I was comfortable with, and then once it got hard, I stopped progressing and just stayed at that plateau, and made a lot of excuses for it.
Somehow, I was okay with staying in the same place.
For many years, I worked hard to get to a certain point in my life, and then I would just stop progressing and would maintain a level of “good enough.”
I got by in life.
I got just enough good grades for the honor roll in high school. I did just enough to please the teachers and keep them off my back. I did just enough on my SATs to get accepted to college. And, I actually only applied to one college. That’s how little I thought of myself. It was totally a safe situation, though, because I knew I met all of the requirements. I went with the “easy route.”
I originally majored in Occupational Therapy. But, then it got hard. Really hard. And, just like the Snatch, I suddenly stopped progressing and made excuses. I got scared. I didn’t want to face it and put in all that work. It was just “too hard.” So, I eventually quit OT, and went into Psychology. Psychology was “safe.” Another “easy route” for me to take. And, even there, I did just enough to graduate with decent grades. I can claim to have graduated with Psi Chi Honors, but in all honesty, I just barely met the minimum requirements for that.
After college, though, I did grow up some, and eventually took pride in something I did, which was being a summer swim coach in San Rafael. I coached the team for six years, and was Head Coach for the last two. It was the first time in a very long time that I actually went above and beyond the call of duty, took great pride in what I did, and worked really hard. I invested my heart and soul into that team. For once in my life, I actually felt fulfilled and accomplished. But, then, unfortunately, the volunteer board members my last year of coaching had ulterior motives, swept the rug from under my feet, and I suddenly found myself betrayed and left out in the cold.
It was a heartbreaking experience, and it only validated the reasons why I hadn’t tried so hard in the first place. I hate to admit it now, but it left a bitter taste in my mouth, and made me step back into my old bad habits again.
As an elementary school teacher in Corte Madera, I was thankfully surrounded by awesome people, which in turn, motivated me to be awesome. Unfortunately, though, it didn’t trickle down into any other areas of my life. So, I was a super awesome, hard working teacher, but then the second I got home, I was mediocre at best at everything else.
Then, I found CrossFit. It was just like everything else in my life – I started out strong and motivated, worked really hard, was even asked to train with the team, and then I reached my plateau. I stopped progressing, I started making excuses, and I missed my opportunity to go to Regionals and the Games with the team.
When Spencer and I opened our box in 2011, I was reinvigorated and ready to take on competition again. But, right at my peak, I suddenly got pregnant, which obviously put things on hold for a while.
So, this all leads us now to the last two years of my training. After I had Bailey, I trained like crazy for the Open 2013, and I was actually doing really well. All of my hard work was finally paying off.
But, then in the 4th week of the Open, I managed to get a horrible stomach flu that left me depleted and dehydrated for a week, and I was barely able to even get a decent score completed. I was like 500th overall in that workout, which yanked away my chances at Regionals.
It gave me flashbacks of my summer swim team being taken away from me. Now Regionals was being taken away from me. And, again, I fell back into that “feeling sorry for myself” mode.
And so, I trained hard this past year for the Open…But, definitely not like crazy like the previous year, and honestly, I did “just enough” most of the time.
Deep down, I was holding back due to fear of it being taken away from me again.
The barbell was telling me this the entire time. My lifts were not increasing. The Snatch felt foreign to me most of the time. I wasn’t making gains and getting PR’s like I should have been, and the barbell let me know it. But, instead of listening to the bar, I made excuses.
About six months before the Open began, I finally did something for myself that I should have done a long time ago – I started going to therapy. Therapy is just like CrossFit – It only works if you have a good therapist, just like CrossFit only works if you have a good coach! Thankfully, I have a great one!
Through therapy, I was able to finally face some demons and deal with my past. In dealing with my past, I was able to start taking things head on. But, when that happened, it was already too late for the Open. I still did really well overall, but I didn’t qualify for Regionals.
That’s my fault, and mine alone. Bad habits die hard. Change takes time. And so, the Open became my breakthrough therapy session, rather than an actual competition.
I was fighting for myself…not for a high score.
I was qualifying for life…not for Regionals.
I was certainly heartbroken that I didn’t make it to Regionals, but the difference this time in my life is that I am NOT left with a bitter taste in my mouth, nor am I feeling sorry for myself or wanting to retreat.
This time, I want to try harder. I want to be better.
For too damn long, I floated through life and ducked from every punch thrown at me.
Now, I’m the one throwing punches.
Lately, the barbell and I have had a different relationship. A better one. A stronger one.
Last Thursday, when I was going for a 1 rep max Snatch, it was the first time since August 2013 that I attempted anything over 125#. And, I didn’t just add a few pounds, I went for 135# with gusto! Unfortunately, after about 7 or 8 attempts, I failed to complete it. However, I did get under that bar every time, and the fact that I kept trying was a huge deal for me, personally.
Then, yesterday, during Competition Training class, we did a Clean & Jerk ladder. It started at 65# and went up by 10’s. I made my way to 185#. I missed the Jerk, though. So, I tried again. Missed again. Tried one more time. Just barely missed the Jerk, again. But, each time the Clean felt stronger, and the determination in my kept grew (Rather than diminish, like the old me). So, I went for a 4th attempt. Cleaned it well, again, but missed the Jerk. Oh well. It was another successful experience for me still, because I was finally going hard and fighting for things.
The barbell is a beautiful thing. I really have learned a lot from it. Because, even though I have made huge changes in my life recently, and I am finally moving in the right direction, it’s still going to take time for other things to happen. It’s not all overnight! I have to keep working hard at it. And so, even the barbell reminds me of this fact with my recent Snatch and C&J lifts.
So, the next time you’re lifting that barbell, listen to it. What is it telling you?
What does the barbell say about you?