In the past few months I'd been seeing a rut stemming from three main problems:
- Laziness and inconsistency with training
- Demotivation with regards to the big 3 lifts
- Unhappiness with physical appearance
I was noticing that my program was demanding much more of me than I was willing to give, and that demand was creating some pretty damaging inconsistency.
I was aiming to powerlift 5-6 days a week on top of trying to fit 2-3 kickboxing workouts in. And, not only was my frequency too high for my willingness, but my intensity in each training session was definitely too high as well. All the inconsistency I'd been showing was really draining my gains-train, but regardless of that, I kept trying to lift at the same intensity that I had been when my frequency and motivation were at their peaks. (Note to self: this doesn't work.) Essentially, I was asking way too much of myself and then feeling really defeated when I was unable to deliver.
So, I decided that something needed to change, and I took sort of a drastic approach to designing my current program. I knew I really needed a program that would allow me to ENJOY lifting again, and in order to do that I needed to fix the three main problems I mentioned above.
Here's what I did:
(1) I took my frequency way down, and I scheduled my lifting on days that I knew I'd be less tempted to skip.
This has been pretty key to my success with this program over the past four weeks. I went from 5-6 powerlifting days each week to just 3 a week, and I put them right in the middle on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.
I knew that Mondays were always long and exhausting days that tempted me to skip my workouts very frequently. Fridays and Saturdays were usually forfeited to my social life, and if Sunday wasn't also for socializing, then it was for resting. So, instead of trying to force myself to workout around those other demands I just eliminated the stress of it.
(2) I changed my intensity such that I wasn't hyper-focused on my lack of strength for the heavier weights.
Because of my inconsistency and randomness with my sessions my strength was suffering. I hadn't lost every ounce of gains, but those 1RMs I hit at my meet? No way I was hitting those again any time soon. In fact I was struggling to hit numbers way below those 1RMs, and it was really toying with me mentally.
So I decided instead, for the first three weeks of my current program, to focus on volume. This allowed me to actually keep a pretty high intensity but also to lower the weights. And, since higher volume demands lower weights, I was less worried about how much strength I was losing, because I wasn't creeping so high up in numbers. It just wasn't as salient an issue anymore.
Now, this change couldn't last forever, because it's most efficient to vary intensities and volumes, so I did have to put some heavier work in the program. But I spent three weeks building back up my strength and consistency so that I was able to hit decent numbers with relative ease (as compared to before) once things started getting heavier.
This change has been pretty key to keeping myself positive about my progress.
(3) I organized my lifts each day to cater to my current laziness.
LOL this change is hilarious to me...
The one thing I hate the absolute most is all the set up and racking and unracking of weights and warming up just to get to the working sets of a lift. So, to help eliminate as much dread as possible, I organized my lifts each day based on where the J-hooks are:
- Back squats, front squats, and overhead press all use the same J-hook height, so I do all of those on Tuesday.
- Bench press uses its own J-hook height, so I do that lift and some foam rolling on Wednesdays.
- Deadlifts, floor press, and bent over rows all share heights, so they go on Thursdays.
And, voila, one major stressor is completely removed!
(4) I intentionally incorporated days for my kickboxing (aka: cardio) workouts to slim back down.
Point blank: I was feeling fat and out of control of how I looked. So, I intentionally programmed 3 days JUST for kickboxing; Mondays, Fridays, and Saturdays. (Occasionally I also do these workouts on Wednesday if I have the time, because my powerlifting workout is so short -- just bench press.)
I'm on week four of doing things this way, and even if it's just a placebo effect, I'm definitely feeling more positive about my body. ...The irony of this, though, is that while I feel the leanest I have in a while my belt actually fits the TIGHTEST it has in a few months! haha
The moral of all this is: just because I didn't want to workout with the same vigor, intensity, and blind passion as before doesn't mean I don't still love my sport. It's OKAY that I needed to make these changes to my program. They probably won't be forever, but if they are, that's okay too. Having a life and desires and interests outside of powerlifitng has been something I needed to get used to after moving back home to Texas. But I've figured out how to best work around everything else while still maintaing a powerlifting regimen, and that's really important to me.
I never want to quit this sport, but this time I needed it to fit to ME rather than me conforming to it's demands.