Shiney Sparks, on who you will become in that process of weight-lifting.
I had never given the bar a chance. Not even once had I given it a thought about trying it. Until the day that I lifted it up for the very first time.
The simple barbell: That long metal pole has the power to either make you or break you.
I’m not talking about how much weight you can lift, or how many reps can you do. What I am talking about is who you will become in that process of lifting that weight.
Weightlifting is all about inner strength. And that is the main lesson.
Every time I step up to the bar, my heart will always race, the doubts will enter my mind, and I will start questioning my own abilities. Will I be able to do it or not?
Slowly I place my feet in position, shift my hands, lift my chest up, look ahead, tighten the grip, take a deep breath in, and 3-2-1-Up.
“No-rep”, said my trainer. And some times, that can goes on for a few more times before my trainer finally said, “That looks better now!”
Such an overwhelming experience has turned into a life learning lessons for me.
Life Lesson #1 : It is always weird initially.
If you are a trainer, you always have to answer my endless questions like “Are you sure it’s like this, this feels so weird?” “Am I doing it correctly? It feels so weird.”
My hands will always feel so weird with that barbell, it’s like they don’t know what to do with it! Especially when I do the front squat and have to hold the barbell with loose fingertips grip and drive my elbows way high up.
It is the same as life, everything that we try for the first time, we will always feel so weird and unnatural about it. But, like life, you will get better as time passes.
Life Lesson #2 : Don’t be afraid to fail.
During one of my training sessions with my trainer, I was not able do a certain movement and fell back and landed on my butt. That was the first time I fell down during training and the first time I fell down in doing a sport as an adult. It was a bit embarrassing and didn’t feel good at all!
But I was quick to get back up on my feet to try again.
Young children are always so willing to try almost everything, even the ones that they can’t do as yet. Opinions doesn’t matter, failures doesn’t matter, it is just a on-repeat procedure until they got it.
But why at some point of our lives, this has become a fear to us. We are so mindful about how others will think of us, and how we cares too much about failures that we simply stop trying or attempt a new thing. Somehow, we have forgotten that the only thing we could control are just our own mindset and effort.
Life Lesson #3 : There is no perfection.
I guess my trainer will always wonder why I take so long just to complete the lift. I will feel that my feet position doesn’t feel right, my hands distance seems either too far/too near, I don’t feel my set-up is right and etc. and etc.
Adjusting here and there making it seems like I am delaying the lift.
In life, many of us put off things/dreams/goals simply because we think that things aren’t perfect. But the truth is, things will never be perfect and what really matters is getting it started and getting it done.
Life Lesson #4 : Commitment is needed.
“Go home and practice”, said my trainer. This is a phrase he will always say to me in all our trainings. But how many times do I really heed his words and really practice at home? Only once or twice, that is why I don’t progress as fast I possibly could.
In order to be really good at something, or anything in life, you need to practice. Practice and practice and practice. You have to put in the hours, you need to practice until it becomes a second nature to you. Just the same as life, you need to make that decision to do something and work all your way until you get there. Even though commitment doesn’t really guarantee success but it definitely improves the chances for it.
Action speaks louder than words. I have to be serious now and show my commitment that I want to be really good at weightlifting, so I need to go and get that PVC pipe and start practicing the movement at home.
Life Lesson #5 : You can’t cheat it.
“I can’t take this anymore! I need to let go!” I said to my trainer during our last set of front squat as I am doing it with a weight of at least 3/4 of my bodyweight.
You can cheat on squats by not going all the way down pass the parallel, you can cheat on the lift by using poor form, but you will never be able to cheat on the barbell. It will come a time when it will just say to you: “Stop! You can’t do it! You gotta let go!”
In life you can cheat on yourself, on your own feelings, on people, on things, on work, on anything that you could possibly cheat on. But one thing is for sure: you can never cheat on results. Results will tell, results will show whether or not have you put in your effort, and your commitment to it.
Life Lesson #6 : The price of progress.
Scraped shins, bruised thighs, and sore muscles are all parts and parcels of weightlifting. It is never comfortable having all these, days after training. But at the end of it, it will only get you stronger.
In life, to get to somewhere you have never been before, or to do something you have never done before, you have to get out of your comfort zone. Work through the pain and you will get to that beautiful place where all the magic happens.
Life Lesson #7: Face the Bar. Raise the Bar.
“I’m not sure if I could lift that weight, but I will try.” I said that to my trainer every time he load up the weight or whenever he ask me to do a certain movement that is pretty new to me.
The happiness I will get whenever I realised that I am able to lift that weight and knowing that I am a step closer to my goal (to be strong; to be able to lift my own bodyweight in weightlifting and also in other areas like pull-ups, headstand push-ups and etc.)
Life is like the barbell. It will present you with many challenges. To know the true strength of your character, you have to constantly challenge yourself to do more than you think that you could possible can. It is your choice to either step up and give it your all or say I can’t do it and run away from it.
Facing the bar will helps you to face up the challenges in life, raising it will helps you to be strong not only in your body, but also in your mind and in your soul.
Go on now, and find a barbell. Use it and learn from it.
Photo Credit: Craigslist