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    GETSTRONGRRR   74,109
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Fear not and embrace the suck!

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Many of my SP buds know that I like to workout and I especially like ST.

I vary it up, alternating ST between "Heavy Days" and "Medium Days". On heavy days, I go for 5 reps of very heavy weights for everything; squats, deadlifts, bench presses, overhead presses etc. On medium days, I do about 70-80% of my heavy day lift, but instead of 5 reps, I do 15

So to correct my starting sentence, I especially like "Heavy" ST days. Medium days at hi reps suck! (I've blogged about this before - www.sparkpeople.com/mypa
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I have not really been able to embrace this suck because it sucks so bad. I feel the suck coming on right as I walk into the locker room where I truly face the enormity of the suck that is about to happen.....I know I am going to be in pain for 15 reps of suck. Fifteen reps can probably be done in less than 2 minutes. But on hi rep suck days, there is actually an infinite amount of time between rep #1 and rep #15....there is a relativistic effect to the suck that Einstein wrote about but never published


Needless to say, this disturbance, this fear, has weighed on my mind....I don't like to have a bad attitude about working out....I don't like "not liking" my workouts. In my marathon running days, I had 4 objectives for every training run and every race;

- Enjoy the run
- Finish the race
- Don't be last
- Cheer everyone you pass

This worked for me....it got me past the tough spots. If I felt the run starting to suck, I would do something to change it, slow down, vary the route, add some variety, do something, anything to keep the suck at bay, otherwise, I would not commit to the long training requirements.

So it occurred to me earlier this week that I had to do something about my attitude to the hi-rep suck....I couldn't keep going to the gym on hi rep days dreading the suck.

Today, as I changed clothes, I resolved to focus my brain on little chunks....I decided I would mentally do 3 sets of 5 reps in every set. I stopped counting 11, 12, 13 and just focused on 3 sets of 5. I decided to focus on what was getting tired...was it my legs, was it my back, was I just out of breath, where was the pain....and I did a little mental relaxation of that body part for a brief millisecond....then did another rep. When counting to 5 became tough, I just did one more, then one more, then another.

Well lo and behold, for squats I did 3 sets of 15 reps at 180 lbs! Even the Stasi trainer said, "Very goot, your form was eggsellent!" After a quick break, I knocked out 3 sets of 15 deadlifts at 245 lbs.

Now I freely admit, I cannot say in any way that this was "enjoyable"....but it sucked much less. Yeah, they were tough, I kept wishing they were over...but I didn't let that keep me from finding a way through the suck. The payoff, the "enjoyment" was afterwards....knowing I finished them off did not suck....even my ex-Communist trainer gave a grudging acknowledgement of progress ("Thanks comrade, you commie bastard!")

Well yet another reminder that most gym challenges are mental, not physical and sometimes we just need to mentally slap ourselves into finding a way through


And something that I use to motivate myself through many of these challenges is to remind myself how so many others would love to have the opportunity to train like this....and still do so facing much tougher hurdles than me!




Have a great night Spark friends!
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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ALIWVU121 4/15/2013 1:57AM

    Love your picture choices in this one (especially the cartoon, ha!). Glad your workout was more enjoyable!

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MSKRIS7 4/12/2013 7:54AM

    emoticon

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BERGBA7 4/11/2013 12:21PM

    I might steel your objectives for the long runs when things get tough. The Turkey vulture did not eat me and the Blue Moon appeared yesterday night on my kitchen table ;-)! Happy you are improving your mental strength with every workout!
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HANSBRINK 4/11/2013 11:34AM

  Embrace the suck!

Like Lisainms, I try to break down my sets into sets of 10. Works well enough that I can usually add another set of 10. (Leave it all at the gym.)

Like you say, its a psychological trick. And it works.

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LISAINMS 4/11/2013 9:50AM

    Embracing the suck is something I have become very familiar with -it's a prerequisite for long course triathlon training. I don't count swim lengths by total. I count in sets of 10 because it is more palatable than grinding out 80 laps. Some days I love to swim. Those days with long sets -that's the suck. But it has to be done if I want to get to where I need to be. I also employ race objectives. Seriously helps my attitude and level of enjoyment beyond mile 10 when I thank every volunteer, encourage others along the way, smile and wave. Embrace the suck and enjoy the experience!

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GIANTMICROBE 4/11/2013 8:03AM

    I love this blog. My CrossFit says "CrossFit: Where the fun sucks and the suck is fun!"

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BEECHNUT13 4/11/2013 7:50AM

    YEAH! :-D

Question - does your low back feel achy-sore the day after you deadlift? I had low back problems, and so now I'm sort of hypersensitive to it. I mean, it's not spasming, but it feels like it wants to get stretched out or something, and it hurts a little. It does not hurt me WHILE I deadlift though, whereas when my back does get a little peeved (like if I arch too much doing a lat pull-down) I get a twinge in my low back to remind me to tighten up my abs. My PT said my form was good, but I didn't have a bar - I was showing him the movement without the weight. And when you deadlift, where do you get tired?

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BBECKER1955 4/11/2013 6:58AM

    I knew I should have paid more attention in physics class!
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STRONG_SARAH 4/11/2013 3:01AM

    I've got 'The Suck' today. I was considering skipping it, but after reading this, I will not. Begrudgingly I go. Thanks for the kick in the pants!

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HEALTHIERKEN 4/11/2013 12:47AM

    Thanks for this blog, GETSTRONGRRR! Now I know the sense of dread that comes over me on certain exercise days has a name--The Suck. Now that I can call it something, I can face it down, maybe, just maybe, like you suggest, embrace it. Thanks again. I really needed something like this right now. The Suck has been getting the better of me too often these days. NO MORE! I'll embrace The Suck and drain it of its power over me : )

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4EVERNESS 4/10/2013 11:44PM

    Wow, with the masochism you're into, it would seem you enjoy your suck days most.

So, cool, Einstein not needing steroids as he understood the physics of the thing....

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ADVENTURESEEKER 4/10/2013 11:23PM

    Love the suck it up slap picture! haha

I was running short of time yesterday in the gym, so I upped my weight and went for failure, twice. Worked well. I dunno if I saved time but my muscles sure felt it!

I may try that method to my higher-rep madness at least once a week.

And I agree to those race objectives, especially the 'don't be last' one. I employed it for my half marathon last summer. It worked!

Have a great day.


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