Practicing my deadlift setup and technique
Along with nutrition, weights training is the thing I focus on most when working with clients who want to transform their bodies.
A lot of people I work with haven’t done weights training before, and it can seem really daunting and scary.
You’re asking your body to move and co-ordinate itself in totally new ways and it takes time for everything to fall into place.
Do you remember the first time you attempted to do squats?
It’s likely that your balance felt all over the place, your leg muscles screamed ‘what are you doing!?!’, and you felt in very real danger of falling on your backside.
But as you persevered the movement became smoother, you felt comfortable with your balance, and eventually a squat with no weight became easy.
It can be really useful to look at weights training and all the different exercises as learning and improving a new set of skills.
The default way a lot of people look at it is ‘this is something painful, uncomfortable and slightly embarrassing that I feel I have to do to lose weight’.
An understandable thought pattern when it’s all so new and daunting. But try flipping that mindset.
Look at each exercise as a skill that if you focus on and attempt to master, you’ll become good at it very quickly. You’ll feel stronger, more confident, start to reap the benefits, and really enjoy the feeling of accomplishment at knowing how much you’ve improved.
I’m currently reading a great book called ‘The Talent Code’ by Daniel Coyle, which is all about how humans have the potential to become great at any skill they choose to pursue.
Basically, people who reach exceptional levels of ablilty at anything weren’t born with special talents and destined for success, they just practiced with intent for longer than anybody else.
The amount of time you spend practicing is obviously really important when it comes to how good you can become at something. But it’s also the way you practice. You can take giant leaps forward in your progress if you focus intently on what you’re doing, allow yourself to make mistakes, analyse what you need to do differently, and then try again until you get it right.
Most people in the gym are seemingly unaware of this potential they have, and just mindlessly go through their sets and reps before heading home, leaving behind the opportunity to improve, grow, and get the most from the valuable time they spend training.
Don’t be one of those people.
When you look at each exercise as a skill you are 100% capable of learning and becoming good at, it opens up a whole new world and an entirely different perspective.
Know what exercise you’re doing, understand it’s purpose and what you’re supposed to feel working (if you don’t know this, chat to a gym instructor who can give you some pointers, or hire a trainer who can guide you through everything and give you a massive kickstart).
Then focus on the movement pattern. Are you getting into the correct position and feeling the right muscles working? Do you feel smooth and controlled? If not, don’t worry. Focus on what you’re doing, identify what you need to improve and keep working at it. It will come. And it will come quickly if you approach it with a ‘can do’ attitude.
There’s always little tweaks you can make to get more from what you’re doing. I’m still finding that now as I try to get stronger in my training. I’m still thinking about how I’m moving on each repetition to make sure I’m getting the most out of it, and this keeps it more interesting, as well as more rewarding when I make an improvement or manage to put the weight up.
This also helps to switch your focus from ‘training to lose fat’ to ‘training to become stronger and more awesome’, which is a much more positive way to look at things. (and the fat loss results will come quicker anyway when you get more out of your training and enjoy doing it. It might even make you want to do it more!)