I like to be fairly regimented with the training schedule I keep and do my best not to skip days because of some lousy excuse I came up with on the fly. Missed sessions (I try never to call it “work outs” because that tends to sound more random and unplanned) have a cumulative effect and it really pays to sometimes have what a lot of coaches call a “punch the clock” sort of session. It may not be great, but it’s always better than a complete miss.
However, there are also certain sessions I might delay for a few reasons. One is that I might just be completely wiped from lack of sleep, stress or poor eating. The second (which is closely tied to the first) is that for a lifting session where I know I need to dig down deep, I want to be sure I have as many factors as possible in my favor.
Because for those sessions, I am fighting a fear of failure.
Perfect example is shown in the video below:
Watching my final “work” set of deadlifts, there probably does not appear to be anything all that unusual with the moments leading up to my initiating the lift. I walk past the camera… get some chalk on my hands… mark my shirt with some chalk (I will explain that some other time)… set up for the lift… hit a particular part of the song I am listening to and boom! Go time.
What you don’t see is how incredibly keyed up and anxious I am as I step up to the bar… how my stomach is completely fluttering and I am wondering if the exertion of the lift will make me throw up half way through.
A sane person would likely ask, “Umm… I thought you worked out and lifted and all that because you enjoyed it. That doesn’t sound like something too enjoyable.”
Not a totally unfair point, but the reason I get so keyed up is that part of what makes weight training so meaningful to me is the chance to face that fear of failure and go at it head on. I don’t always win in these fights, but the effort of doing so is worthwhile in its own right.
And when I do win the fight? When I know my best before was deadlifting 400 lbs for 10 reps and today I did it for 11? That brief moment of exuberance punctuated by my personal war cry kind of carries me through the day. It’s amazing… and that, my friends, is serious fun. That’s why I will be doing this for the rest of my life.
Fighting the fear can be fun… and lead to alliterations (but that is a different kind of fun entirely).