Stop trying to skip the struggle!



Stop trying to skip the fucking struggle. We’ve all been there. Sometimes it’s a one day, sometimes it’s an entire week, sometimes just getting to the gym is a struggle, sometimes finishing the workout is a struggle, sometimes it’s just one simple exercise everyone else seems to be good at but keeps beating us down – sometimes the struggle gets the best of us. Not only is it hard physically, but mentally too.

Coming in first isn’t always a given. Neither is second. And that’s OK. We can’t be the best at every single part of fitness. Some people are built to run and not to lift heavy, some people are the opposite we love to lift and hate cardio, some of us are super fit but lack mobility which makes certain exercises more difficult than they should be, and this is all OK. We may not even be second best. And guess what? That’s OKAY.

“Why should I believe this coming from someone who is highly competitive?”

Because I’ve learned the hard way several times how to eat a piece of humble pie. There’s always room to improve. And that’s what’s most important. That you get better. Not that you win. I mean, winning is fun and all, but it’s not what it’s all about. It’s about getting stronger, faster, BETTER. Being first or complaining about NOT being first doesn’t mean you’ve gotten better or ARE better. Sometimes it’s the struggle that counts. What’s easy for me, may not be easy for you. And that’s OK. It’s all, OK. 

I say this because I’m not the best at everything at the gym, and never have been. And I’m ok with that. I can deadlift more than double my bodyweight, but due to my shoulder I can never do pull ups ever again, I can never snatch a kettlebell overhead ever again, and due to training for powerlifting let’s just say my cardio is not amazing anymore. To get better at powerlifting, I’ve given up being good at a lot of other aspects of fitness. Ever see me run anymore? Nope. I’m sure most of you would crush me in a 5k run. Shit, make that 500m. And other than my recent “restoration” week, I very rarely row, ski, bike, or do any other cardio. So trust me when I say, other than mental fortitude, I can’t “cardio” very well anymore. I’m just too stubborn to give up.

“Sounds like you’re making excuses.”

Yes and no. Running is not in my programming, so I don’t ever run anymore. I gave up one thing to do something else (this is called “specialization”). I’ve hit a ton of PRs in the last year on my barbell work, and at the same time, I’ve also never failed so much in my training since switching from kettlebells to powerlifting. I rarely ever failed in kettlebell sport, and I never came in second place at a competition, but I have failed numerous times in powerlifting, in the gym and at competition. Failure is part of the journey. The struggle IS part of the journey. My kettlebell coach would constantly “rag” on me about my kettlebell snatch technique. Why? Because it could have been better. It’s not because he was an ass, it’s because he wanted me to get better and be able to perform to my own expectations. Not because he was some righteous “I know more than you” dick. It’s what we paid him for. Not to be nice, not to hold my hand, but to COACH me. To get me better. Same with my powerlifting coach. Is it frustrating? You have no idea. Did I want to throw in the towel? Sure did. But I didn’t. And I became a better athlete because of it.

And that was online coaching. You want to talk frustrating? Work with your online coach in person. And it be someone with even less sympathy than Doug and myself. When I went to Atlanta at the end of December…shit. First day – bench. Nothing like getting poked in your ribs and being told to do something on damn near every rep for almost an hour. Did I learn to fix what I needed to fix? Sure did. I still don’t do what I’m supposed every single rep, but I’m a lot better than before. Think you’re halfway decent at squats and deadlifts? Nothing like getting ripped apart on those the following day. But son of a bitch, I’m a whole better for it. And all I got afterwards was a “good work today, looks better” or something to that effect. Doug has had even worse coaching experiences, I have seen Doug get told “no, wrong, no, no, no, wrong, fuck man you are so slow” for two hours straight working with world champion lifters. But we both struggled and siffered through the process and we both got better.

My point is this. Not everything is going to be easy, even if you think you’re good at it. Work on what’s hard for you, work on what’s easy for you until you start to struggle. Not everything SHOULD be easy. Without a tiny bit of struggle here and there, it gets boring. Sometimes you need to fail, fall on your face, or on your ass, in order to get better. Miss that PR on your squat or deadlift or 1,000m row today? Go for it next week. Guarantee you’ll be all sorts of amped up to get it.

Embrace the fucking struggle, but celebrate the shit out of that PR when you hit it! It’s all OK! 

Wishing you all the best! – Lindsay


This article was originally featured on Lindsay’s blog

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