Bad + Neutral = Somewhat Less Bad

You’re lifting. The day isn’t going well.

This is typically where attempts at trying to save the session go something like “UGH THIS IS SO STUPID” or “WHY IS THIS HAPPENING” *kicks the bar* *kicks the plates* *kicks the coach*.

If you have found that this coping strategy works for you, by all means, continue. But more often than not, instead of improved lifting or at least an improved attitude, the outcome ends up being panic, despair, and desperate texts messages to a coach about whether “this is for me” and “I’m not getting any better” and “maybe I should have stuck with competitive cheer”.

Or sometimes we become aware that things aren’t going well and we are frustrated (awareness is a good first step) so we try to focus on positive things or small things we think we can do better. This sometimes goes poorly because if you’re lifting like crap, chances are good you will continue lifting like crap and it will be hard to override the I’M LIFTING LIKE CRAP I’M LIFTING LIKE CRAP going on in your brain and so the good things become but they should be better things. Now you become even more sad.

A  different kind of strategy, one that might make your day somewhat less bad, is to use all that negative energy floating around in your brain and focus on something neutral. Not good, not bad. No emotional content or subjectivity.

Focus on the feel of the bar in the hands, the feet  on the ground. Where do you feel tension  in the movement? Where isn’t there tension? Move the barbell from point A to point B. Watch some clips of elite lifters and don’t compare, just watch. Lower the weight and pause in different positions so you can feel what each feels like in the body. Experiment with a completely different technique. Play.

Don’t try to turn a complete 180 and have experience the greatest lifting of your life. Just make things a little less…emotional.

You won’t be able to stop the mental energy that comes from negativity, but if you can redirect to something emotionally neutral that doesn’t carry with it the possibility of sending you deeper down into the Death Spiral of Despair, you might be able to walk away from a bad session being able to call it “somewhat less bad”.

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