The Strength Athletes New Years Resolutions

New Years resolutions are funny things; the start of a new year is a natural psychological break from the previous years ruts and a jumping off point for new ambitions.  But they also carry a stigma of anticipated failure.  And then there is the dedicated gym goers, the strength athletes who have a general sense of dread as the squat racks are taken up by new gym members who are poorly educated in strength theory and technique; and who inevitably cause a traffic jam of angry squatters in the weight room.  So why even bother with New Years resolutions if you are a strength athlete?  Simply put, they will make you a better lifter.  Here’s how:

New Years Resolution for Yourself:  Sign Up for a Meet!

If you are not training towards a meet right now, stop what your doing and sign up for one (or at least mark it on the calendar and sign up when the registration opens).  All strength athletes are strength athletes because they compete; if you are in the gym and not training towards a competition then you are a lifter – not an athlete.  Goals make your training focuses, more intense, and more consistent.  Any training program which has been periodized towards a competition date suddenly becomes a ‘must do’ instead of a ‘should do’.  Miss a workout, and you screw up your whole schedule.  Competitions also provide a measurable goal, a definitive date which you will be held to a specific standard.  No wonky gym PR’s where you question (whether you admit it or not!) the legitimacy of your lift – at a meet you either get white lights or you don’t.

And if this is your first meet, all the better.  I often hear the complaints from new trainees that they are not strong enough yet to compete, they want a certain total or a squat number.  Well I have news for those out there with that thinking – You Are Never Strong Enough.  Simply put, if you wait until you think you are strong enough you will never compete.  This topic is a post unto itself; however for now just trust us – sign up, compete, and have fun.

New Years Resolution for Your Community:  Sign Up to Spot, Load or become a Referee!

If you are a powerlfiter or a weightlifter then you know the unenviable task of spotting and loading is a hard days work rewarded with little more than free entry to watch lifting up close and maybe some free pizza.  But its also the grease that keeps the sport moving.  Without the tireless efforts of a spotting and loading crew a meet is not possible, and a meet with just a few spotters working all day will grind to a crawl as the day wears on.  A good meet needs multiple spotting and loading crews, which are hard to come by.  So volunteer for your next local meet.  be a part of the community and meet new people.  Once you start delving into the community of powerlifting you will realize how small a world it actually is.  And there is no better way than getting involved in your local meets.

For the really dedicated or the athletes with a passion for the sport, become a referee.  Just like spotting and loading the meets don’t happen without referees.  Its a great way to be more involved, especially if you are coming off an injury and can’t compete yourself to use the opportunity to do something else in the powerlifting world.  While its a little more involved, its also a rewarding experience which will make you a better lifter in the end.

New Years Resolutions for Your Gym:  Develop Patience and be Welcoming!

This is perhaps the hardest resolution of all.  On the first of the year there is always a rush of new gym members in any facility.  Perhaps you are an athlete working in a dedicated powerlifting gym and your rush of new people is not so bad, but if you train out of a commercial facility – good luck.  Its likely to be a bit crowded in the first weeks of the new year.  Those of us who train regularly have come to expect, and dread, the crowded spaces that we had all to ourselves in the last half of December.  But this, as well, can make you a better lifter.

Remember that at some point, you were just like the newb’s you see around you.  Sure you might have been sixteen at the time, but you were just as ill-informed and clueless.  And just like the confused mass of humanity who has descended on your sacred training space; you had the highest of hopes and ambitions.  So find your inner Yoda, and develop patience with the newcomers.  Treat them with respect and humility; and even invite them to share a rack with you.  Too often the strength athlete crowd is seen as brooding, standoffish in commercial facilities when the exact opposite should be the case.  You should welcome the chance to introduce people to the sport you love, to give them advice if asked, and to mentor the young lifters you see struggling around you.  You never know which one of the sixteen year old guys or gals could be the next Ed Coan, Jennifer Thomspon, or Marissa Inda just waiting to discover there potential.  So put a bar in there hands; show them the way.

Here’s to hoping your 2018 is full of health, wealth, happiness, and of course – GAINS!