Today was a day away from the gym. Doesn’t happen often, but I’ll definitely take time off when I need it. The bulk of this cycle is behind me, so my top training priority is just to rest up for a new rep max with 545 this week. If I get more than 3 I know I’m stronger, and if I get 5-6 I’d feel pretty good about hitting 700 low bar after a deload.
What can be a problem though (and in the past has been a problem for me), is the feeling of NEEDING to train all the time, or feeling undue guilt if you miss a session or slip up on your diet. I think it stems from the mindset in Rocky 3. Clubber Lang beats Rocky because he has the greater sense of urgency. He has the drive to get to the top, and spends every moment of every day pursuing that goal. In reality, very few people who succeed are either Rockies or Clubber Langs. You can’t be lazy and complacent, but a complete obsession with goal-directed behavior is rarely effective (not to mention rarely healthy) either.
Very few worthwhile pursuits are sprints. Most are marathons (I hate that cliche, but it’s the best illustration I can think of). Someone who gives 90% effort over 20 years will have better outcomes than someone who gives 100% effort over 2 years. Why? You can get GOOD at most things fairly quickly, but it takes years or decades to get GREAT at anything. You have to set a pace you can stick with indefinitely. If not, you run the greatest risk of all: losing your love for what you do.
At the end of the day, I train because I love it. It’s not about validation. It’s not about winning anyone’s approval. It’s not about records or anything like that. I just love the process. If you love what you do, and you’re making progress, the numbers will take care of themselves.
Let’s say you add 25 pounds to your squat in a year. 2 pounds a month. Slow. A bad year of training with little to show for it.
Except that if you keep that horrendously slow pace up for a decade (not THAT long in the iron game), you find yourself with a squat 250 pounds stronger. Time makes champions, not out of the most talented, but out of the most consistent. Kicking into “sprint” mode for 4-8 weeks leading up a meet is one thing, but always monitor your thoughts and feelings about what you do, and never risk anything that would compromise your love for the process.