elitefts™ Sunday edition
Lessons for the Beginners – Part 1
I consider myself very lucky to be a part of such a wonderful sport for such a long time. I was raised in this sport correctly and was taught what was important from day one. I want to share with the new people coming into this sport, all the wonderful things I learned. I find it very necessary to do this article, as I noticed more and more how many new lifters who come into the sport, have a piss-poor attitude and don’t have a clue of what this sport is about. So, let’s begin.
1. Be patient and take your time
I know all to well what happens when you go to watch your first big meet. I know exactly what goes through your mind. You want to be just like the guy who squatted 1,200 pounds, right? Well, guess what you are not him. I’m not saying you won’t out-total him someday, or even be a better lifter. But, it won’t be right away, and remember you are you, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You need to be patient, as this sport will test you both physically and mentally. So, get ready for the ride of your life! I’ll also let you in on a secret – the guys who take the short cuts and don’t have the passion and love for it NEVER last very long. Those are the guys you hear about who post a huge total and you never hear from them again.
2. Too much of a good thing is not always a good thing
That’s correct, I’m talking about gear and how it applies to the new lifters in the sport. One of the wonderful memories I have about this sport is the round table dinners after a meet. I can’t tell you how much fun it was to talk about training and get great ideas from others. Now, I’m sorry to say, it’s more about what piece of gear you wear and how to use it properly. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with gear. There was a time when gear was the second thing to think about and HOW TO GET STRONG was the priority. So, the priority for the new lifter or any lifter really should be focusing on getting strong and building a strong foundation. You should continue doing that throughout your career because, without that strong foundation, you are screwed. Another little secret I’m going to let you in on is, most of the injuries I saw in the last 5-6 years were due to one main cause. The cause was that the lifter was wearing too much gear and they weren’t really strong enough to lift the weight. You can always tell because, that lifter has little to no control of the weight. You don’t want this to be you, do you? The best advice I can give you on gear is to get the most out of the least and slowly transition into what you feel you need as your strength progresses.
3. Become a student of the sport
What the hell does that mean? Well, I’ll tell you what it means. It means as you get strong(er), you’re also supposed to get smarter and this is done in a variety of ways. Read and learn as much as you can and I’m not talking about blogs. I’m talking about books and articles (like this one) that you will learn positive lessons from. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, but for the love of Pete, as long as you learn from your own and others’ mistakes, you will be a better lifter. One of the things every group I ever trained with had in common was that it was a “teaching gym.” What this means, is that once you were taught something, you were then responsible for teaching it to the newer lifter who was weaker than you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions because that is how you learn. Even if you think the question is stupid, ask it anyway because if it was in fact, stupid, you’ll learn that lesson fast. You see, you’re already learning. Here’s some more advice: you are a new lifter and you don’t know shit YET, so just take it all in. Keep your ears and eyes open, observe and ask questions. Remember when you stop learning, you stop making progress.
4. A little abuse goes a long way, but a lot of abuse is way more fun
For those of you who know me, you know I live for this shit. I mean I clearly earned the right to abuse the crap out of the new guys seeing how I still, to this day, have a ton of crap thrown in my face. Let’s face it, do you think being called ‘Paper’ was a privilege? New guys – you just need to take it because you don’t have a choice. There’s a science to this and if it’s done right, you’ll become a better lifter for it. It will make you tougher or it will break you. So, either deal with it or don’t come back. I’m sorry to say and I speak from great experience, there’s a 100% chance you will become a horrible outcast to society due to all of the abuse. But, who gives a crap because you will be strong right? A little dysfunctional, bitter and will hold a grudge with people over stupid crap for long periods of time. But hey, that’s the price you pay for no fame and a lack of fortune. Like I mentioned before, there’s a science to this. So, the abuse you receive if done right will be 24/7 with minor breaks. For example, if you do well in a meet, your training partners will say congrats and pat you on the back. This will last for perhaps an hour or two…or maybe even a day. During that time you will begin to feel good about yourself, but be assured it will all end soon. You will know it because when you look up you will see the dark clouds begin to role in. So, the moral of the story is if your training partners don’t abuse you, then find new ones as it is there responsibility to treat you like crap. Let’s face it, you earned it.
5. Training partners and passing it forward
So, you found yourself a great group of training partners. These guys are teaching, pushing, abusing you and getting you through all your training and meets. Because of it, you made big gains and are continuing to work your way up the ladder to your goals. Now, the real question is what are you doing for them? I know what you’re thinking, “They are still so much stronger then you me,” so since you can’t push them, what do you do? First, a smart lifter and a great coach knows they will someday be surpassed by the ones they teach and help. So, you may not think you’re pushing their numbers, but they always have you on the back of their mind as they see you making progress. That, in itself, is pushing them. Here’s the most important thing you can do, you need to show your dedication and make the same, if not more, sacrifices then they made for you. Show them that you want it so badly that nothing else matters and I promise you that you’ll get what you want back ten-fold. No one is special and no one is above making the sacrifices. You need to load plates, spot, practice wrapping knees and lifting off, as well as doing whatever you can to help your training partners in the meet. When the meet is over ask your partners if you made any mistakes and learn from them. Now, the fun begins, as it is your responsibility to pass your knowledge on and teach others. You’ll be surprised how proud you are of yourself when you see someone you taught do well. But, savor the flavor, my friends, as your training partners will take that away from you, too.
I want to share a story about one of my training partners by the name of Anthony. Anthony is a fine lifter and a real student of the sport and has been in the sport for about five years. I had the privilege, along with my other training partners, of helping, teaching and watching Anthony grow into not just a fine lifter, but a great training partner. There’s nothing he won’t do for one of his training partners and when it comes to the meet, he goes above and beyond the call of duty. For example, he will call his training partner the night before the meet to see if they need him to bring anything to the meet. I watched him go from helping one lifter in a meet, to helping three lifters basically back-to-back. Plain and simply put – he gets it and the reason he gets it is he wanted it badly enough to get it.
Stay tuned next month for part two of this article. I would like to end this article with one piece of wisdom. Contrary to popular opinion, the best time to kick someone is, in fact, when they are down.