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 Keep this in mind!

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David Petersen
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PostSubject: Keep this in mind!   Sun Aug 18, 2013 3:42 pm

Drunk on coffee post workout talk….

I have spent the last week or two sitting back and listening to my training group talk about their experience with The Cube, and also training in general. I have learned a ton from the last few sessions, and thought I’d share some of the insight I took away. I’m aware most/all of you have trained for multiple years, and probably know this, but I guess a reminder isn’t a bad idea. It also is ideal timing, given the school year is about to start.

The conversations have been about being honest with yourself, what you can do in the gym, and balancing it with other things in your life. My entire training group is switching back to 5/3/1 after half a year experimenting with The Cube. They all have careers, some of them families, a couple of them have fairly physical jobs, and one has had more surgeries than he would care to admit to anyone.  The entire group has really not seen a whole lot of progress in the past 6 months (and even some regression). Now I don’t know what their recovery is like, do they get enough sleep, are there other factors that limited their success that were not the program? There is a very good chance that it had nothing to do with the program, and it had to do with their lives outside the gym. But then again, there is only so much you can do (which is the point of this). Some people don’t have lives that allow them to run back-to-back smolov cycles, West Side, or whatever. If you’re taking 20 hours of class, working 30-40 hours a week, having a social life, and training (maybe an exaggeration)…Good luck…. As much as we hear about this sport being the “only” thing that matters to people, and you have to “give it your all” or nothing at all…I think it becomes important to realize that prioritizing our training in a fair way (give context to the phrase “giving it your all”) will lead to much more success than trying to go insane crazy, and do things in the gym we have no right doing….

Sooooo that got way more preachy than it should have been, apologies. I am not trying to teach and/or pretend that people don’t already know this sort of stuff.

I’m super exited to be apart of this club, really excited to train side-by-side with all of you. I know I am going to learn a ton more about this sport being around a bunch of people who compete regularly. I’m fucking stoked for the meet in November.


TL;DR….Don’t kill yourself this semester, back off if you find you are not able to handle everything…Train* in a way that works given your circumstances. And I’m too enthused about this shit…

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Last edited by Allprocro on Sun Aug 18, 2013 5:09 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Sun Aug 18, 2013 4:45 pm

Interesting read--I'll have to sleep on it before I comment.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Sun Aug 18, 2013 6:58 pm

I cautiously agree with this.

It's important to make conscious decisions about what you dedicate your time to and depending on individual circumstances it's possible to be doing more work in the gym than optimal

I've had issues with trying to spend a lot of time on a lot of things at once and it usually ends with me being mediocre at everything
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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:12 pm

I think an important element to add on to this piece is consequences. If you decide to stop lifting, then obviously you will not become physically stronger or set records. If you decide to not focus on academics then you will have poor grades. Even if you decide to do work, go to school, and lift your consequence is that you will be tired and worn down a bit. Every choice we make has an outcome. Pick the option that has the result that you want but be aware of and adapt to the consequences that will come from that decision.

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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Sun Aug 18, 2013 8:20 pm

Also, consider the law of diminishing returns. As you become a more experienced at anything, the gainzz you will receive will come at a slower rate.

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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:05 pm

KevinAlvy wrote:
I cautiously agree with this.

It's important to make conscious decisions about what you dedicate your time to and depending on individual circumstances it's possible to be doing more work in the gym than optimal

I've had issues with trying to spend a lot of time on a lot of things at once and it usually ends with me being mediocre at everything
I like that term optimal. I also like the idea of doing “more work”…For me (this might be a case of semantics) the term optimal doesn’t really mean much outside of an individual, and his/her circumstances.

I guess the point I was making in the first post was “training optimally” is relative to your circumstances outside of the gym, and this should be a serious consideration when evaluating your training… Let’s take this fairly agreeable maxim. The more sleep you get, the better your recovery (to a certain ceiling, also law of diminishing returns may affect this effect)...If an individual only gets 5 hours of sleep a night, their ability to recovery (all else being equal) would be less than an individual who received 8 hours of sleep. Why, in this situation, should these two individuals be doing the same thing in the gym? Training optimally here would seem to be different for these two lifters. Now maybe performance isn’t terribly affected. Maybe both of these lifters have close to the same gainz. The one who got 5 hours of sleep had to breath, work, train a little harder (call this more resolve)…But he/she made it through, and got similar results…They had the “resolve” to make up for those 3 hours of sleep a night they did not get. But apply that resolve to the person who got 8 hours of sleep, and a difference in results should yet again appear. That or the individual who is short on sleep ends up quitting the sport in 2 years because he/she is sick of destroying their body. Either way, someone wasn’t training optimally. Am I saying you should not feel tired, and potentially beat up? No way. Train fucking hard. But if you are not progressing, or if progressed has screeched to a near halt, something is amiss.

I could be overreacting to my training groups not so great results with The Cube Method. But for me, they ran a program that was not optimal for them, given their set of circumstances. I think the insight taken from their experience isn't just limited to people that "fail" on programs, but for anyone training with control over their own program.

I really couldn’t hold my mouth shut today when they all got ready for “Joker Sets” (extra sets of the compound lift for 5/3/1)… They just switched programs because they didn’t see results from The Cube, and it certainly wasn’t because they were light on volume/intensity. Why start a new program? If you are only going to change it by adding sets/reps. Figure out if you can handle the base level of 5/3/1. Get a few months in, if you feel like you can handle the extra volume, add it.

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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Sun Aug 18, 2013 9:10 pm

Broceidon wrote:
Also, consider the law of diminishing returns. As you become a more experienced at anything, the gainzz you will receive will come at a slower rate.
I'm scared of these. Please don't talk about them. I don't ever want to experience these. I know they exist, and they are in my future...I'm just going to live in denial and celebrate my PRs.

I think for them it was the presence of consistent regression.

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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Sun Aug 18, 2013 11:44 pm

I have the problem of wanting to do everything. I want to attain Strongy McHugeness, get a 300 PT score, get abz, be a fat gainz monster, go to Air Assault/Airborne school, earn my BA in three years, drop out of school and do something cool instead, have a girlfriend, be single, and everything all at once.



Luckily, I'm awesome enough to do all those things, and be great at them, all at once. I don't know why you mortals can't.




srs doe, I just disregard social life, acquire gainz.

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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:26 pm

Everyone has to come to terms with his or her own mental management of activities--balancing being crucial to this process. One thing I find very important to avoid feeling like training becomes a chore or yet another responsibility is to try to make as much of what I do feel "fun" as possible. I'm too damned serious about EVERYTHING and this is essential to keep me from imploding from the pressure I put on myself over lifting. I also have to just completely separate my focus from lifting sometimes and switch it over entirely to whatever I am engaged in at a certain point in the day. In other words, it can be best to give yourself a mental break from training and lifting to make your dedication to it sustainable, at least for some people. If I let myself I will ENDLESSLY fixate on something. Right now, it's figuring out how the hell to keep a ball python as a pet. I have to actually set mental limits on how much I will agonize over the smallest of details regarding a given process.

Not everyone, thankfully, is like my crazyass self. But a lot of people describe feeling "burned out" or "unmotivated" periodically with their training and this can be alleviated using the approach I describe above. Let's use an analogy: ball pythons are freaking finicky eaters and sometimes you just have to withhold food for a bit until they're pretty damn hungry before they'll decide to feed. If you keep trying to feed them when they're semi-hungry but lazy as fuck, they'll just leave the rat carcass in their enclosure and either get stressed by it or become apathetic to it.

Your head is the ball python. Stop giving it constant exposure to lifting/"the rat" if you feel burned out or unmotivated. If you're struggling with some aspect of your lifting mentally and the fact that you SUCK at something/your strength is stalling on a lift/etc. is just running on a loop over and over, take that shit away from yourself. A forced complete mental break will clear your head and make you "hungry" to come back and deal with the situation with a more powerful appetite and desire.

How long should the break be? That's situational. Sometimes, for me, it's a chunk of the day. Sometimes I don't allow myself to "obsess" over lifting until I literally get to the gym. Keeping lifting separate and "contained" in your life can help you stay grounded and better able to make judgments about training method, injury maintenance or prevention, and competition goals.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:28 pm

Well, I guess I just wrote my next blog post. Noooice.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Mon Aug 19, 2013 3:48 pm

I will add my little bit--a lot of this has been really interesting to read. Thanks to everyone for putting in their input.

The one thing that I have learned about myself from training over these years is that a.) everything is within your control, whether practical or impractical and b.) you have to decide how far you want to take your lifting.

In addressing the first point, no one here is victim to a lack of time/money/whatever. If you're too busy to train and/or recover optimally, you have to make a choice: either change your schedule, or scale back your training.

I'm of the opinion that either choice is OK. Most of us will be busy come the fall, and that will have a negative effect on our training. If training is so important to you, quit school. Go do something else in life. But if training isn't worth that price, accept the fact that you're not willing to make that choice and make peace with it. Wasn't it Brandon Lilly who talked in a seminar about dropping a class because he had to go on a trip and was going to miss two days of training? If your training is THAT important to you, then go ahead and make that decision. But remember that it's always your choice, and you always have options.

The best thing I ever did for myself as a powerlifter was sit down and make clear, to myself, what I was and was not willing to do to be competitive in this sport. It is OK to have limitations; in fact, everyone in our sport has self-imposed limitations.

For me, I am willing to eat a strict diet, willing to cut weight, willing to sacrifice a career so that I can dedicate time to training, willing to stay in every night, willing to give up alcohol (okay, that wasn't difficult, but it has been nearly six years since I made that choice because it was fucking up my training), and so on. Every time I hit a wall, I look at the things I need to do in order to improve, and I decide which thing I'm willing to give up.

First, it was having no programming whatsoever; next, it was eating a garbage diet. Eventually, it was getting adequate rest and learning more about nutrition. Over time, it has become stuff like modifying my training to include the hard stuff that I didn't want to do, or didn't enjoy doing. Now, it's forcing myself to do the SMR and supplementation that I often slack on.

But everyone has something they could do to better themselves, and most of us don't have to search very hard to find a half-dozen things. The first step for a lifter is often just getting in the gym and refusing to skip training sessions.

Everyone has their limits though. For me, right now, it's PEDs. I'd be a better lifter if I ran a test cycle and I know it. I've been told that my lifts would jump 10% within a year's time. 10%, for someone with a 1430-lb. gym total, sounds pretty good. But it's not what I'm willing to do just yet.

Rather than be butthurt about it, I just accept that I'm not willing to do what others are, so when some other 148 makes that choice and kicks my ass, I can't be upset at him about it.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Mon Aug 19, 2013 5:45 pm

TL;DR version: Powerlifting is all about acquiring the best youtube subscribers.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:25 pm

KKeough wrote:
TL;DR version: Powerlifting is all about acquiring the best youtube subscribers.
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PostSubject: Re: Keep this in mind!   Mon Aug 19, 2013 8:47 pm

I feel like this comes in waves for me, sometimes without me even noticing. I'll go through a phase where I'm willing to put a ton into training and recovery, and I'll have times where my training is more relaxed and I don't push so hard, like this summer. Part of this was forced through injury and vacations, but it showed in my meet this weekend. I didn't do how I would have liked, but looking back at my training the last few months I havn't been training as hard as I should have to get the results I wanted. I knew I wasn't training as hard as last winter, but I thought I was doing "enough". It's almost like sometimes we can get lulled into thinking were doing well when really were just doing enough to scrap by (which will obviously not be enough for optimum results). Doing "enough" should never be what one is aiming for, unless they are just trying to simply maintain. I know that this weekend was a wake up call for me and that I am ready to go full force into this new training cycle.
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