Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Everybody fails. It happens. At some point, everyone will fail a class, drop a touchdown pass, get dumped, get fired or fail in some other way.

Failure happens in the weight room, too. You miss reps. You can't lift a weight that felt easy last week. You get busy and end up missing a few weeks of training. But failure is not permanent, and you can always bounce back and move past failure. Here's a few things I do to bounce back after a failure:

1 - Think about why you failed. Don't dwell on the negative or wallow in self-pity, but spend a little time trying to think logically about why you failed and what you can do in the future to succeed.

2 - Stay positive. If you let something get under your skin, it can start a downward spiral. In the weight room, you can get preoccupied with thinking about your missed reps on one exercise instead of focusing on the next one, and then end up missing reps there, too. Keeping a positive mindset prevents one failure from turning into multiple failures!

3 - Immediately take one small step to ensure future success. It doesn't matter how small a step it is -- doing something immediately that will help you overcome this failure changes your mindset and gives you a huge psychological boost. If you get fired, this small step can be anything from getting a nice tie for your upcoming job interviews to signing up for a night class that will help you with skills you need in your career. If you miss reps, it can be anything from doing a few sets of an assistance exercise to finding a coach who can help you with your form.

If all else fails, walk away on your own terms. It may just not be your day. Maybe you slept poorly or are distracted by stress at work and you just can't seem to do anything in the weight room. If nothing is going well, then admit to yourself that it's not your day and deal with it accordingly. Change a heavy day to a light day if you're missing your weights, or just wrap it up and head home to try again tomorrow. Don't ram your metaphorical head into a metaphorical wall (or your real head into a real wall) over and over if it's obviously doing no good.

Remember: failures are going to happen, they're temporary, and they're a great way to learn and improve yourself even more.

Want evidence? Check out my craptastic squat workout below, then watch this blog as I blow past these numbers over the next few months...

Training 2-25-08

F x 285
F x 285
2 x 275
F x 285

3 x 155

Push Press
2 x 175

2 x 360

2 x 5 x 62.5
4 x 62.5

2 x 5 x 102.5
4 x 102.5

Comments: From here on out, to minimize guesswork, I'm going to focus on improving doubles until I stall on a few lifts, then switch to singles, then to triples, etc. No more skipping around. Squats kicked my butt. I actually got a double with 285 two weeks ago and was looking for a triple here, but couldn't even get one. Drat and Blast! There's Crossfit Total meet coming up that I want to participate in, so heavy Presses are in the mix for that. New PR on Deadlift! Missed reps on Chinups & Dips, but don't foresee problems getting them back next time.


Andrew said...

Failure happens. You might also think about dropping your loads and working back up.

Charlotte said...

Thanks for the reminder! Good to know that even dedicated heavy lifters like yourself have a bad day:)