I admittedly entered into the week a little too cocky.
The first round of Smolov Jr. was a challenge, but I didn’t experience a single failure. My first week back was 6×6 at 70% of my max. I decided to add on the full ten pounds because, why not? I made it through with no failures, felt okay, made myself a protein shake and went on with my day. The second day was 7×5 @ 75% of my max. This tested me a bit more. I felt sluggish half way through and uncertain of whether I’d be able to complete it. The third day was the true test. Smolov Jr. calls for 8×4 @ 80% of your max. I added the full ten pounds (which was a thirty-pound increase from my original calculated weights). On the 3rd rep of my 4th set I couldn’t get out of the hole. I heard the devastating sound of the bar crashing onto the safety bars, and my knees hit the floor. I wasn’t even halfway through and I had failed. I immediately reacted like my son does when he doesn’t get his way. I chucked my headphones across the room, unlatched my belt, and told myself I was done for the day. About two minutes later reality set in. I was initially embarrassed at my tantrum and was grateful that I wasn’t in public for anyone else to witness. Then, I quickly realized that one failed attempt doesn’t define me. I was dealing with the heaviest weight I had ever squatted, in volumes that I never dreamed I would be doing. I foam rolled, rolled out on a lacrosse ball, and knocked five pounds off of the bar. I got back under and finished the second half of the workout.
Saturday called for 10×3 @85% of my max. I decided to be “wise” and only increase five pounds. The 2nd rep of the 1st set was a repeat of the failure the day before. Instead of throwing my pity party, I knocked some more weight off the bar, took a few extra minutes in between sets and finished. It wasn’t worth the energy to get upset about it.
The thing I love about fitness is that you can apply these types of situations to real life.
They truly are lessons that you learn and grow from. Growth isn’t defined by a continuous upward progression. Growth is about how you overcome the unexpected plunges. You have two options. You can either let a failure define you or you can learn from your failures so that they don’t become recurring problems.
There are going to be days when you fail and days when you don’t even want to try. This is where most of your growth takes place. These are the times when you push yourself to your limits. These are the moments and conditions where you find out what you’re made of. You don’t owe it to anyone else but yourself. Do it for you, and get it done. Choose to not fixate on the problem, but find a solution.
I learned more from the two failed lifts this week, then I did the three weeks I didn’t experience a single failed lift.
The defeated voice inside my head said to give up, quit, and go about your day. The motivated voice said to take a deep breath and do what you have to do to get it done. As frustrated as I initially was, finishing the rest of my sets was rewarding. I walked out of the gym better for it.