Title: Shifting Your Perspective
Struggling with perspective? These are some of the ways I deal with perspective when it comes to my gym life.
First, let’s get started with a scenario.
“What! I was asked to write a blog on fitness?”
My next reaction could unfold in two ways:
“Oh no! What will I write about? I have nothing to contribute; I’ve never written a blog before.”
Or maybe I actually like writing blogs.
“How exciting! My first blog, this is going to be fun and I get to finally focus on writing about something I’ve been thinking about lately.”
Let’s be honest, we’ve all been there. We see uphill battles as a struggle and then look at the endless height of that mound in the distance when we coast downhill because things are going easy-peasy. One thing I have learned over the course of my fitness journey is the importance of perspective. I am sure everyone wants a productive, positive, and enjoyable training session.
Recognising when you’ve had a tough day, week, or month can be very difficult; this recognition is also challenging when it comes to your personal fitness goals and self-evaluation of your performance in the gym. For myself, this became most obvious when I began Olympic lifting. The first couple of years Olympic lifting I reflected upon any unsuccessful lift as a failed lift and focused on everything I did wrong. The bar bumped my knees, I pulled my arms early, I didn’t have my chest up, and on, and on, and on. The result was frustration, and thinking that I was getting worse – when this was definitely not the case. It was simply that I wasn’t focusing on the success I was having.
Over time I began to recognise when I was having a tough day in the gym, or sometimes it was a tough week outside of the gym and it had an affect on my training sessions. This of course was due to a little help from my coaches – thank you coaches. My coaches showed me the importance of journaling my progress and changing my outlook. I can remember vividly a few years ago when I literally thought I was getting weaker because I felt as though I was struggling one week. Then one of my coaches said to look back at my workouts over the past three weeks. It was actually a good thing I did, because that is where I found out that in the previous three weeks I had established a new max clean weight and a new max back squat weight. So much for regressing.
What one person sees as failure or an endless struggle, someone else witnesses success and progress (and that could be you with a different perspective!).
What simple things can someone do to change their perspective? Take a deep breath, step back, and think about the situation in alternative terms than you are; try thinking about the situation from someone else’s position – a vantage point.
In regards to Olympic lifting, one thing that I do when I have a missed lift is I think about what I am going to do properly on the next one – I generally keep this to the basics. Not only does this strategy harness focus on what I will be doing next, it also iterates the movement patterns as I prepare, and lastly, it establishes closure with my missed lift. Closure to a tough training session, a tough day, or a tough week can be very therapeutic. It gives you an opportunity to move onward and focus on what is coming down the pike.
It is one month into a new year, people might have resolutions, or maybe they have an idea that they are going focus on their health and fitness. In regards to this blog on perspective, you may want to try thinking about fitness from the perspective that becoming fit and staying healthy is a lifelong commitment that may take months or years, and not days or weeks. This perspective is a lot closer to reality, it is more manageable, and it is one where I have found success. If you find yourself frustrated in your progress remember, you can journal, reflect on your journal entries, talk to a coach, and try taking some time to reflect – think about your situation from a new and/or different position.