When my high school softball team advanced to the second round of the Pennsylvania State playoffs my junior year, my coach was quoted in the paper as saying “these girls got as close to 100% out of their abilities as any team I’ve ever had. I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
I was bummed out that we hadn’t gone further in states, but when I look back on that team as an adult, I understand what he meant.
None of us were superstars, but that team was different than others I played on because we all raised the collective abilities of one another. Some excelled at defense, some at offense, some were fast, some were strong - but we all brought our best assets to the table that year.
As a strength coach, my goal is still the same; to help each client get as close to 100% out of themselves as possible.
Some clients are former athletes; some have never played a sport in their lives; some are regular gym goers and some haven’t set a foot in an exercise setting since gym class.
I know, it's hard.
But my question is what does your 100% look like? And how can you evaluate?
1. Are you going through the motions?
I’m guilty of this. Often. One of the ways my depression has affected me so dramatically is that I catch myself going through the motions. I show up, I do the work. But I'm completely checked out. In the gym, that means I'm doing the bare minimum. I'm not pushing myself. I'm not challenging myself. I'm not growing and I'm not changing.
If you don't have a personal trainer or coach, find a workout buddy, or track your workouts. You should be tracking your workouts anyway. But don't just go through the motions.
2. Do you have a goal?
I’ve written about this in the past, but I think the key to great training is honing in on not just a goal (losing weight), but a performance goal. Increase your deadlift - try a deadlift. Work towards a push up from the floor or your first dead hang chin up.
Squat more, move more, push more. But set an intentional, purposeful goal. And make it about gaining, not about losing. Gaining strength, not losing weight. If you focus on the first, the second one is sure to follow.
3. Are you afraid to fail?
The other day, I put my workout gear on and started to get after it. On the program were some heavy deadlifts and I was working out while some clients were there, also working out.
After struggling through my warm up sets, I failed to move a weight that I should have easily moved.
I didn’t just fail, I fell flat on my face. At least for that day.
It sucked. Every last part of it. And it got me down. So I went back to it a few days later, but I have to be honest, I wasn’t sure I’d be successful. Those failed lifts were hanging heavy on me. But the only way to know whether or not I'd move the weight was to try it.
And when I first start lifting, I was often afraid to fail. Afraid that I’d do it wrong, with bad form and hurt myself, or just embarrass myself in front of other people who seemed to know what they were doing.
Challenge yourself. Push yourself.