Hiya! Happy Wednesday to everyone out there. This week is going by much quicker than last week, I feel like the weekend is already right around the corner. I took a look at our social calendar the other day and it looks like Steve and I will be pretty busy these next few weeks with birthdays, a bat mitzvah, Easter, buck and does, and more birthdays. My birthday is at the end of this month and Steve’s is 9 days later. Lot’s of good stuff to look forward to!
Before I dive into this post I wanted to address something really quickly. I’ve had some emails in regards to my training and food log and I just wanted to clear some things up. I don’t get a chance to post every single thing that goes into my mouth during the day. Some people are concerned I’m not eating enough in the morning and while I appreciate the concern there is no need for worry. My morning cups of coffee alone have around 75-100 calories each once you factor in the cream and coconut oil I add (I just googled coconut oil and found that the about.com calorie counter gave it a D- because of it’s high fat content. Just goes to show that you shouldn’t trust everything you read, coconut oil is full of good fat). Also I only lift heavy 3 days a week, typically Tues, Thurs, Sat. Sunday is usually a full rest day and on the other days I usually do some quick (5-10 min HIIT) and some light active recovery work with the prowler or sled to work on my knees or loosen everything up. I do not lift heavy and hard each and everyday, that can do more harm than good.
Ok, mini-rant over…..mooooving on.
One of my favourite blogs is Tara’s Sweat Like a Pig. I have been following her for quite some time and we’ve chatted over email a few times too. When I read her blog I find myself nodding along in agreement when she talks about fitness and nutrition. We have really similar training philosophies and I think both of us have a healthy attitude towards food with neither of us being afraid to indulge in things without shame or guilt. I have never actually met her but I’m pretty sure if we got the chance to meet in person we could talk for hours about anything and everything.
Ok so aside from me wanting to tell you all how great Tara is, she did a post the other day answering a question I had regarding her opinion on rest periods between sets. It’s a great read and sure enough I found myself agreeing with all of the points she makes. Anyways her post inspired mine today as I think it’s something worth thinking about.
Today I wanted to chat about being mentally prepared to lift. We all have days where it’s hard to motivate ourselves to get our workout in. Sometimes we’re able to push through and get in a great workout but what about the other times?
There are definitely days where I don’t feel like doing my heavy lifts. I may be tired, unfocused, or I just plain old don’t feel like it. Usually by the time I’m done my mobility work and the dynamic warm up I’m ready to go, sometimes it takes until after my first warm-up set for me to get in the groove. But what happens if you go through all those things and your head still isn’t in the game?
When you’re performing heavy lifts (think minimum 80% of your 1RM) it’s really important that you’re mentally prepared to do that lift, just as it’s important that you do your warm up sets beforehand. The main lifts (squat, deadlift, bench, military press) require great attention. All of these lifts have many technique cues that you need to be actively thinking about before and during the movement. Not only that but if you’re going for a 1RM or a new PR you need to be confident that you can do it. If you are second guessing yourself chances are you aren’t mentally ready to perform the lift.
You need to be able to give 100% of your attention to what you’re doing so if you’re thinking about what you need to pick up at the grocery store, a big paper you have coming up, or the heinous outfit the person next to you in the gym is wearing you need to re-focus. There have been times where it’s written in my program for me to attempt a new 1RM and I simply have to delay it. I know when my head isn’t in the game and rather than risk injuring myself I’d rather wait another week and give it all I’ve got. The times when my head isn’t totally into it are usually the times I’ll miss an attempt that I know I should be able to get.
If I’m going for a 1RM or a new PR I do a few things to get my head ready: I put on music that gets me fired up, I make sure I have a spotter (it’s hard to give all your focus to your lift when you’re worried the bar may crush you), I go through the technique cues in my head and then go for it. Some people don’t like to get psyched up at all, they simply think about the lift, approach the bar and do it. You have to find what works for you.
Don’t be afraid to delay going for a 1RM if you’re just not feeling it that day. Maxing out is taxing on your central nervous system and if you’re not ready for it there’s no point wasting that energy. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t try because you are afraid of failing, everybody misses lifts, I’m saying that if your head isn’t in it there is nothing wrong with waiting. You need to know your body well enough to know when you can push through, and when to call it a day.
I’m off to do some boring tax stuff, I’ll catch you guys later. Happy lifting!
P.S. Here’s a video of me doing some chinups and farmers walks yesterday: