All The Difference

I wasn’t planning on blogging today, but I got my workout in and something happened that I kind of feel obligated to write about. Especially since it ties into the conundrum of the week. In other words, motivation.

You see, I went out to lift kind of late for a number of reasons, but still wasn’t really feeling particularly enthused about lifting. I knew I needed to, which is why I went to train, but…

I didn’t really want to do everything. I decided to do just two things. I wanted to bench since it was my bench day, and I wanted to do some farmer’s walks. They’re probably my favorite exercise and I haven’t really gotten a chance to do them this week.

But I also decided to do something very different.

I went off program and lifted heavy.

In the process, I learned something that may play into my motivational issues. Maybe the problem has been that I haven’t been lifting heavy enough.

You see, on the program, you lift heavy on your main lifts once or twice per week. You lift something heavy every day, but it’s not necessarily your main lifts.

In theory, this should keep everything in peak form without overly taxing your central nervous system.

Unfortunately, as I’ve been thinking about the program, I think I made a mistake in trying it. Not because I think Brian Alsruhe doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Far from it.

No, I think the issue is on my end.

You see, in the Starting Strength hierarchy, I’d be classified as an “intermediate” lifter. I’m not even particularly deep in the intermediate ranks, either.

But intermediate lifters don’t generally go looking for strongman programs. As such, I suspect much of the problem has to do with the program being geared towards a more advanced lifter.

This is especially true since I’m not close to an intermediate by the standards most people use.

Now, understand, I like Rippetoe’s use of recovery to determine one’s status as a Novice, Intermediate, or Advanced lifter. I think that makes a lot of sense. It makes it so one’s status is reflective of their personal capacity/potential rather than arbitrary numbers thrown up to determine if someone is strong or not.

But a lot of the fitness industry seems to not use that one at all. They determine your status based on how much weight you lift. I’m not even close to those standards at the moment.

And I really believe that probably matters.

Besides, as I noted, I just wasn’t enjoying the program.

Now, let me be clear here and say something I should have said yesterday. It’s not a good idea to keep changing programs like you change underwear. You need to pick a program and stick with it through the end.

And no, I’m not doing that with Alsruhe’s program.

However, there’s something else to consider, and that’s if the program is just not “vibing” for you. In other words, if you’re not enjoying it, it’s time to find something different.

The byword for all of my training here is “sustainable.” Everything is about doing this for the rest of my life. It’s about training not just for today but for 20-30 years for now.

Guess what happens if your training doesn’t really do anything for you, though?

If you guess that you’re more likely to skip sessions and eventually drop training entirely, you’re right. And that’s what I’m trying to avoid.

Yet today’s training that was heavy and pretty basic got me pretty motivated. I felt great while lifting and excited about training on Monday, even though I still don’t know what I’m going to do.

But I know I need to keep lifting heavy. Light and medium workouts are probably all fine and good, and at some point, I may need those. Right now, though, I don’t need that much recovery.

What I need is to see numbers increase. Like my bench did. After all, I set a lifetime PR today. That’s something I needed to see because my bench was annoying the hell out of me. It wasn’t going up at all (so yeah, Alruhe’s program works. Clearly).

So, my plan for tonight is to list my priorities and figure out how to train within those priorities and recognize that some things I want to do may not be maximized because I have different goals than I expect to have in a year or two.

Should be interesting.

Author: Tom

Tom is a husband, father, novelist, opinion writer, and former Navy Corpsman currently living in Georgia. He's also someone who has lost almost 60 pounds in a safe, sustainable way, so he knows what he's talking about.

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