« The Go-Round of Strength Training Books I’ve Read in 2012 | Home

If I had to do it all again

By Samir | August 1, 2013

I’ve been lifting for 5 years now, first in bodybuilding type training, then powerlifting, and now what I’d call general strength training. I was reflecting on what I’d re-do if I could be given new knees, a new back and I get to keep the maturity I’ve gained.

Basically, I’d focus on the lifts that my body was made for, try to keep my cardio up, do a lot less volume and enjoy the journey a lot more than I did. Trying to bring up a low bar back squat and a deadlift at the same time with the volume I did was nothing but idiotic - and my back and knees are paying for it now. I’m not sure if I’ve passed a point of no return, but if I have I’ll accept it and work with the limitations.

Focusing on the squat while ignoring the fact that I was a natural deadlifter was another mistake. I should have squatted in slightly-more than maintenance mode and gone all out on the deadlift. Unfortunately, I got caught up in the “squatting is king” mode du jour and I didn’t listen to my knees, lower back and the fact that my deadlift continued to rise while I ignored it, where as my squat stubbornly hung out in the 350-400 area.

Squatting 3x a week, once I passed about 1.2x body weight on the bar, was also pretty dumb. I really should have scaled it back to 1x a week, and stopped trying to have it all at once. I should have enjoyed the week to week progression. Lifting in the gym is 99% of time we spend lifting, lifting at meets is 1% of the time, if that. Yet 75% of my focus was on trying to get ready for a powerlifting meet. I really put the cart before the horse there.

In lifting, the mental game is what feeds the physical game. I was all wrong mentally, and now it’s cost me. You get caught up in the ego, the “internet hype” and so on, and you stop listening to the voice inside you. Never again.

I stopped doing HIIT because I found it competed with my lifts. I lost 100 pounds of fat once, doing long bouts of low-intensity steady state cardio - I’m talking long walks, long video game sessions on the elliptical, casual bike rides, i.e. nothing that brought my heart rate above 120. Why did I ever stop doing that? Because HIIT was the in thing. I should have stuck to what worked for me. See? mental game.

It’s fine to experiment, but I was too stubborn. After 4-5 weeks, I should have pulled the plug. I’m going back to everything that works for me now - everything, which includes

- Focus on the lifts that have never injured me, made me stronger, and just all around felt more like I was in the groove while doing them: Bench press, light front squats, deadlifts, cleans, presses, strict rows. I will accessorize with stuff like cable crossovers and sit-ups, but the focus is on the big stuff. Chins and dips never did anything for me, so I’ll treat them like accessories also.

- Focus on eating how I felt best : As little grains as possible. Mostly simple meats, vegetables and fruits. Lots of home made stuff.

- Cardio that doesn’t compete with my workout and spike my appetite needlessly : Fire up the Xbox, it’s time for video games while slowly churning.

I will always keep my mind open to new ideas, but they’ll have to be a lot better in the future to get some time on-deck with me.

Topics: Strength Training |