Lifter, Coach, and Training Partner

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Training in a garage gym has many advantages; convenience, no waiting for equipment, as well as no need for childcare if you’re a parent. However, a few shortfalls exist when training in a garage gym as well. One of them is the lack of sufficient training partners. Of course, not all garage gym rats feel this pain; it seems much more ubiquitous among exclusive strength athletes who participate minimally in popular social circles.

Athletes – as well as regular fitness enthusiasts – that choose to train alone (or may do so out of necessity) may soon discover that finding the motivation to get in the gym and push through a tough session may actually be more challenging than the workout itself. Working out alone is seldom fun and for me working out in alone in your garage is no different. I acquired a few techniques which help get me through those rough days where I really did not feel like doing anything. Those days when I am tired from working all day and people are driving me nuts. Those days when I would rather take a nap than put my body through so much stress that when I do sleep, I fall into a coma-like state!

Anger and Hate

I do not consider myself an angry person. However, because I view myself as an average athlete, with average numbers, and average performance. The apparent mediocrity angers me and I hate it. Not to mention that after reading the Strength Lab by Matt Vincent back in 2014 I began to realize that I hated my former (average) self. Every day I decide to work toward becoming more than average and each training session draws me closer to that goal. Matt was the one who taught me that “since I have no control over my competitor’s marks … their marks do not concern me.”

Before each session (when laziness begins to rear its ugly head) I remind myself that champions are above average and champions do not skip training days – so I get my ass in the gym. Before each lift, I remind myself that only average lifters train with the weight that I train with. I imagine how “easy” other lifters — with their training partners and cool equipment — must have it and I hate it! So I smash through training in a pissed off state.

All this may sound a bit over the top, but it works. Visualizing something and becoming pissed off at it can really get the adrenaline flowing and could also increase cortisol levels – fight or flight! Finally, as Matt Vincent put it “I am full of hate; this is my fire! This is my motivation!

My Kids

Kids are always a motivation. Most parents say that one of their top motivations for doing anything is their children. Therefore, I will not be different since I do not go into every session pissed off. Sometimes I actually have a good day and need to lean on other factors to get me going. My kids help to fill the void that hate fails to reach. Serving on active duty already keeps me away from home for a substantial amount of time. Throw in 2-4 hour training sessions, 4-6 days a week and I barely have enough time to help with homework.

However, my children understand the predicament and (as athletes themselves) they know what it takes to be a champion. My daughter recently competed in her first powerlifting meet where she achieved 1st place in the 40 kg Youth-2 Division. She also garnered four Texas state records for USA Powerlifting. While my son recently helped his basketball team win their championship without suffering a single loss during the season. I couldn’t be more proud!

So in my house I’m regarded as dad, coach, Super-, Spider-, and Batman all-in-one. With standards this high, how could I let them down by not training my ass off at every chance I get. My young warriors help coach my lifts, judge, and even spot me on those max effort lifts from time to time. I certainly cannot lose focus with them in my corner.

My Own Goals and Aspirations

One thing that military service (and life) have taught me is that you will achieve very little without hard work and a laser focus. “Good things come to those who bust their ass” is more than a cliché. Too often people get wrapped up in what others are doing and lose sight of their own destiny. We become consumed with the idea that we can achieve our wildest dreams with little or no effort and within 30-60 days. Get rich quick or 7-minute abs rarely helped anyone and we should not forget that nothing beats determination, hard work, sweat, and some occasional blood.

So the message to all my fellow solo lifters whether you’re in a garage, Gold’s Gym, CrossFit Box, or a park is to use all elements to help keep you moving forward. Never allow yourself to view your training as mundane and a second priority. When I’m in the gym I have to be lifter, coach, and training partner all at the same time. I zero in on my goals and at that moment nothing else matters!

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