I Am My Own Wolf Pack

By: Lisa Guggisberg

For years I have trained alone out of my house garage. It has its pros and cons: It tends to smell of garbage and gasoline. I have to step over kid’s bikes and toys. It gets obnoxiously hot in the Florida summers. I don’t have spotters so I keep that in mind and have learned how to ditch safely and keep safety pins and bars in. I don’t have access to fancy equipment, therefore I have to be inventive when I lack the right equipment. You can get pretty inventive with bands and kettlebells. (To read more about key pieces of equipment for a garage/personal gym check out Brian Carroll’s article here: https://www.powerrackstrength.com/what-your-gym-needs/ ).

On the positive side, I do what I want in my gym. I get to walk around half naked and barefoot if I want. I get to listen to music I want to hear. Food and a shower are only steps away. The gym is always open. I don’t have to deal with chatty, unwelcomed people (like the naked talker in the locker room or the creeper peeking over the leg press while I squat) meaning I can focus better. I can drop the f-bomb as much as I like.

Here are the five things I’ve learned from training out of a 20×20 garage gym alone and how to stay motivated:

The video camera will be your best bro.

You should always video (even with training partners you should video, but that’s another discussion for later). Training partners, a good one at least, will call you out on form and help you correct it. When you’re solo you don’t have that luxury so you have to rely on video of your lifts. I video every attempt, even my warm-ups and watch the video before I move on to the next attempt. Watching video will force you to become your own coach which will force you to really learn the lift.  I am constantly reviewing my videos before, during and after training.

Don’t talk yourself out of training.

There will be times where I look at my couch and think it would be so easy to lay down and take a nap right now and not go into that stinking hot dungeon and train, this is especially true when it’s 95 degrees and 100% humidity outside. You have to be mentally tough and tell yourself to suck it up and stop being a lazy slob. To help combat this I change into my workout clothes before I leave the office to go home. I set my stuff down inside and head directly back out to the garage. If I stay in the house I’ll starting doing bullshit tasks and never get around to training. I always remind myself that getting started and moving is the hardest part when you don’t want to train, once you getting moving it’ll become easier.

Find self-confidence from within.

Training alone you won’t have a crew to slap you on the back each time you do well or congratulate you on a training PR. Some people need their ego stroked or crave that recognition. If you’re going to train alone you’re not going to get that external encouragement so you have to have a confidence within yourself and understand that recognition in the form of high fives are empty and meaningless.

Honestly, your gym bro’s really don’t give a shit about your numbers as much as you do so find your satisfaction from within. With that being said, single status training isn’t for everybody. If you’re an attention whore, you won’t survive alone.

Educate yourself.

Read articles from reputable, proven sources. Find people who have achieved what you want to accomplish and email them, ask them how they did it any ask for any advice they can offer. You can find anyone on social media and the internet now; it’s not the dark ages of phone books anymore. Watch videos of top level athletes. Video watching is easier for people who are visual learners and who do not always comprehend written text.

Give yourself a deadline and choose your fuel.

I focus better when I have a hard deadline with a countdown. A deadline can be a meet or just hitting a goal at the end of a 10 week training cycle. Select a meet, or choose a deadline date and find your own personal drive, whether it be hitting a bigger number, losing weight, overcoming an injury, or just getting stronger and set a laser focus on that goal. For me it’s simple, I want to be the best. Hitting PR’s are not enough for me, I want that top spot and if I am going to take time away from my family, spend money, travel time and expenses and everything else that goes into meet prep then I am damn sure it’s going to be worth all the sacrifices I put myself and my family through.

Remind yourself why you are training. Being smart about your training, a little ingenuity and determination goes a lot further and does a lot more for an athlete than a lot of fancy equipment does.

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A self-proclaimed former high school band nerd turned meathead nerd, Lisa has been coached and mentored by Brian Carroll using 10/20/Life principals for 3 years. She started CrossFiting in 2006 but gave that up after realizing all she wanted to do was squat, bench and deadlift heavy. She now competes as a raw and multi-ply powerlifter in the 114 and 123 weight classes. Lisa has All-Time top 10 totals in both raw and multi-ply in her respective weight classes with a raw pro total of 936 lbs at 114 and a pro 1118 lb multi-ply pro total at 123 and 1090 lb multi-ply total at 114. She is currently ranked the #1 female multi-ply lifter at 123, #2 at 114 multi-ply female and #3 raw with wraps. Lisa has a B.A. in Political Science and a Masters in Public Administration, but hates politics and political debates. She is a mom of two, a firefighter wife and has worked as a full time litigation paralegal for almost 20 years.
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