Squat First, Learn to Count Later

As you probably know by now from my recent blogs, I am digging (in a freaked out kind of way) the squat cycle we currently are in. Pound by pound, I am slowly increasing the load I can squat. At the beginning of the cycle, we had to get a benchmark of our 1 rep max for front squatting. Mine is (was) 133 pounds for the front squat. That was a lot of weight for me to squat but I pushed through it.

Today’s rep scheme was to do 6 sets of 2 increasing about 2-10 pounds from the last time we did this rep scheme on 6/26. I had done 128 (barely). It was definitely challenging. This morning I went in with the goal of squatting 130#. I thought a 2 pound increase was a smart and doable decision. My friend, Marlene, and I paired off to share a bar. We warmed up with some reps at increasing weight and then I went for what I thought was my first set at 130. First rep in, I screamed “oh fuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuudge!” on the way back up as that shit was hard. I magically did the 2nd rep, rested 2 minutes, did the next set, and repeated until I got to my last and 6th set. I was so happy when they were done and felt very satisfied with sticking to my plan even if it was totally miserable while doing it (and as our resident 6 am bad ass, Amy reminded me “There’s no crying in lifting”).

Like the dork that I am, I took a picture of the white board and posted to Instagram and Facebook. Marlene messaged me to inform me that I actually squatted 135 and I corrected her “No, I only did 130.” Apparently I need to work on my counting skills as there were indeed 135 pounds. I was totally floored at this astonishing piece of news. How is that even possible?? I wanted 130 and would have been happy. I am 100% sure had I known it was really 135, I would not have succeeded. Hell I probably would not have even attempted it as that’s 7 lbs more than what I last did. I unknowingly surpassed what was my 1 rep max. Not a bad way to start the day off!

The point of all this? Lifting weights (or any other form of fitness) is just as much mental as it is physical. We get in our own heads so much that we can interfere with our own progress. If I realized at any point during my 6 sets that I loaded 135, I either would have a) literally cried both out of shock and the idea that oh crap I have more reps to do; b) taken off those pesky 5 lbs and went with my original plan of 130; c) maybe attempted a few more but failed at them. After all how could I possibly think I am ready to squat that much weight?? (or maybe a combo of all 3)

So maybe instead of attacking something with “oh I don’t know if I can do this” and spend time playing mental head games with ourselves, we pull a Stuart Smalley and tell ourselves “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me.” Ok so maybe the “people like me” part is irrelevant but you get the point. I probably spend more time calming myself down before a lift than I do going through a checklist for form to make sure I am set up properly.

My advice as I am feeling overtly inspired today: Give yourself more credit than you probably do. When you train smart, chances are you are stronger than you realize and what seems like an insane goal may not be so insane after all.

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