Stop Lying To Yourself

By: Danny Vega

One major pet peeve that I share with my wife is when people are incapable of being honest with themselves. I see it all the time, in several different situations. Somewhere I see it daily, is on social media posts—specifically, those dealing with training. Here are some of the most egregious offenders (and don’t worry, I have been guilty of some of these as well, so don’t get butt hurt, just check your ego and make sure you aren’t one of these guys):

Balls To The Wall Guy

You decided you wanted to take your training to the next level, so you bought a book (perhaps 10/20/Life) to learn how to program intelligently, or even better, hired yourself a coach. Week one, the program calls for you to be at a 6RPE, or 60%, etc. The point is you are supposed to leave a couple of reps in the tank. This is how it was written for you. But you decide that there’s no way you can get stronger unless you’re struggling to get that last rep or even failing. And with social media, you can now post your crappy set and have your friends tell you how awesome you are for working so hard. Please. Stop it. Trust the process and know when to hold back. I will admit I have been guilty of this, especially during the early off-season when I was playing football in college. I would see the program and notice there was no conditioning in January! Just lifting! How would I stay conditioned? I was dumb.

Terrible Training Habits Guy

This guy likes consistently cutting his squats high, his deadlifts short and not fully locking out the bench while he trains. He also has straps surgically implanted onto his wrists. Since it’s just training, he believes that it will all magically come together on meet day. You may also see him having seizures (1/10 rep shrugs) or bouncing the bar up and down frantically during rows. But you know what? Those are 4 plates on each side, brother. I bet you couldn’t even hold that weight in your hands! You couldn’t unrack that! You are just a hater! Look, you may have a bad day or don’t feel well. Your squats are a bit high that day. That happens to all of us. But boosting your ego with terrible habits will lead to you looking like an idiot on meet day and your “fans” asking themselves, “What happened during his meet? He lifted 60 pounds more at the gym…”

Unattainable Goals Guy

This is probably the top 1-2 that I see the most online. I see it so often that I send and receive screenshots at least once a week of the guy who just squatted 600 and says, “700 is next! Should hit that with ease at my meet in 4 months!” Guy, will you listen to yourself? It’s kind of insulting for you to think that you are going to sprint right by the guy who has been stuck at 630 for several months and finally hits that 640 PR. Grow up, Peter Pan! Count Chocula! You are setting yourself up for failure, or even worse, injury…which leads me to the next offender:

Ignoring Injuries Guy

This one is a tough one. Many of us in powerlifting are extremely competitive. We HATE losing. We want progress every single training session and view a nagging injury as a small speed bump on the way to the ultimate goal of being awesome. But we need to be smart. If something doesn’t feel right, get checked up as quickly as possible. You may not like what you find out. But sometimes, you have to take one step back to make sure you keep the momentum going forward in the long run.

And last, but not least, because it hits close to home…

Stubborn, Control Freak Guy

Again, you either hired a coach or you figured out another way to program intelligently (ahem, 10/20/Life). But to your horror, there are no (insert movement here)! How could you possibly get stronger without doing (insert movement here)?! Well, you aren’t happy with where you are, right? And you’ve been doing (insert movement here), right? How has that worked out for you? I just realized I was this guy the other day when I ran something by my Mexican brother Jordan Wong. I told him I was thinking of getting rid of my beloved overhead press on my bodybuilding day, and replacing it with more benching, since I have the bench of a malnourished 14 year-old school girl. He asked me, “How many training cycles have you been overhead pressing? And how has it helped your bench?” It’s true. It hasn’t helped at all. Touché, mi amigo, touché.

This happens to a lot of us. We keep doing something over and over because someone we respect told us about it, or it’s conventional wisdom, or we just love doing it. But if it’s not working, stop it. Take some time to look over your training and diet, and make sure you are not guilty of any of these.

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Danny Vega

Danny Vega is a 220lb raw powerlifter with meet bests of 640 squat in wraps (610 raw), 400 bench, and 700 deadlift. A native of Miami, Florida, Vega received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia University in 2004, where he was a member of the football team and a three-time Dean’s List recipient. Vega earned his masters of science in human performance from the University of Florida, where he worked with the national championship men’s basketball team along with women’s basketball, tennis, and golf programs. He then went on to become the Strength & Conditioning coordinator for VCU basketball. The Rams were 2007 conference champions and made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament.
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