The Workout Spectrum: From Good to Bad to Inferno

Depending on where you are, I’m guessing it’s hot. It is here. I have recently moved from an apartment that is about 10 minutes away, if one walks fast, from the gym–I now live about 20 minutes away (again, walking). If one walks to the gym and the forecast looks something like this:

As many a reddit denizen might say: “ffffffffffuuuuuuuuuu…”

Fffffffffffuuuuuuuuu– indeed. Walking through this to your workout feels fantastic, and by fantastic I mean it feels like you’re doing a workout in preparation for your workout–a workout with an emphasis on developing your capacity to withstand temperatures typical of a romp through Afghan terrain. I imagine some readers might like to give me a withering look accompanied by a “first world problems” dose of skepticism–you’re right, I’m a spoiled brat and I’m bitching about the walk to the gym. I’m also going to bitch about the walk home from the gym, which is as shitty-feeling, if not more so, than the pre-workout jaunt I made on the way to the torture box (gym).

Today’s torture-box activities were bench pressing along with some supporting accessory work–lateral delt raises, tricep work,  an ab exercise. On the Workout Spectrum, my performance today registered at “Bleh.” I just PR’ed bench at 125 on my last bench session; today I did 110 lb for three on my last set and would have been much happier if I could have squeaked out a fourth rep. Some days, one just feels better during one’s workout than on other days. If one can fight through whatever’s mentally confounding the lifting, one is doing well. Today was not entirely a day upon which I managed to do so. I felt, to use one of my father’s favorite words, draggy. It’s hot and I’ve been moving over the last few days, whine whine whine. I watched Kyle squat 430 pounds for four reps between my own bench sets. Observe:

We walked/dragged ourselves to the gym together, and in the days prior to this one he’s probably put in more physical effort moving than I have, so I’m pretty sure he was feeling the “situational complications” I’m first-world-complaining about more than I was today. Let’s reconsider that: he was handling them better than I. I am such a damned baby about sucking it up and lifting when I’m fatigued/feel mentally or emotionally stretched sometimes. Part of what separates shitty lifters from non-shitty lifters (aside from the patience and self-discipline to research AND implement good training programming and exercise form) is an ability to lift when circumstances are not optimum. Moving sucks. If you can lift your way through a move without letting affect your energy levels in the gym, you’re doing pretty well. I’m not sure I’ve been successful with this over the past week, and I think today’s mediocre performance was pretty solid evidence.

Among other things, I was torquing my torso/demonstrating the ability to lift with left-side imbalance AGAIN. My last squat session involved a lot of attempts to fix a lag/dip in my left side as I went through my sets; today, my left shoulder was doing wonky things when I set up to bench. Observe this brilliant picture taken from bar’s-eye view:

Yeah, I was just thinking the same thing–this underlighting IS flattering,

Left shoulder? Right shoulder? Not evenly positioned in the bench setup. Grrrrr. So many tiny considerations. I pride myself in multitasking ability, but it takes some serious concentration and consistency in training to mentally keep track of one’s setup for bench, squat, or deadlift. I’m not there yet. I won’t be there in 11 days. But in 11 days I compete, and how well I manage my head and, apparently, my stupid shoulders will make or break my performance.


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