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Stop, Calm Down, and Take a Look Back

By Matt Foreman


One of the best things you can do in your training life is stop and take an honest look at where you’re at.  We’re all busy people, and our workouts are probably just one more component of a hectic schedule.  We’ve got a variety of things to keep us jumping…jobs, families, school, friends, etc.  Sometimes it seems like we move at 100 miles per hour from day to day, trying to give the best performances we’re capable of in all these areas.

Your training is a big deal to you.  For crying out loud, you joined a gym and committed a lot of your money to this thing.  The longer you pursue it, the more it becomes a major part of your life.

And you’ve got goals.  These are the things you want to accomplish, and they’re often very different from person to person.  Some people primarily want to improve the way their bodies look.  Others are obsessed with lifting big weights.  Regardless of what your main objectives are, the one thing we all have in common is that we spend big chunks of our lives fighting to get them.

There are time periods when you don’t feel like you’re making any progress.  We all go through those, trust me.  You get frustrated because you feel like you’ve hit a wall and nothing is moving forward. It makes you cuss, cry, second-guess yourself, and…possibly…think about quitting.

At that point, I think one of the best things you can do is settle down, get your emotions under control, and take a big-picture look at how far you’ve come.  You might find you’re in a situation where you feel pissed off at your lack of progress, but then you look back and realize that everything you’re currently doing is better than what you were doing a year ago.  You’ve talked yourself into the belief that you’re not getting any better.  But when you take an honest look at the last 1-2 years of your training life, you realize that you’ve made a hell of a lot more improvement than you thought.

For example, let’s say your best back squat is 185 lbs, and it’s driving you nuts because you’ve been stuck at that weight for what feels like forever. But then you stop and realize that your highest back squat a year ago was 165 lbs.  In other words, you’ve improved 20 lbs over the last year.  That’s damn good work, and you should feel proud of it.

Don’t misunderstand what I’m saying. I’m not telling you to get complacent or satisfied with where you’re at.  You should always be impatient for bigger lifts. Patience is highly overrated.  But before you check into therapy because you think you’re worthless, take a look back at how far you’ve come over a long period of time.  You’ll probably be pleasantly surprised.