What I am about to say is for competitive athletes only. People who want to win more than anything else. Those who exercise and workout to simply stay in shape, and better themselves from a physical standpoint, please don’t be offended by any of this. This is not directed at you. In fact, you should stop reading right now. This is not for you. I have great admiration for those of you who diet and exercise for nothing more than personal betterment. Don’t stop. The sacrifices you are making are so worth the reward of being healthy and fit.
This is for those that are actively competing in something, especially weightlifters, because at the end of the day, I am an extremely competitive weightlifting coach. As I’ve said before, I love to win, and absolutely hate to lose. I’ve been to the podium at multiple National events, and was absolutely furious because I wasn’t the guy on top. I’ve been at the top of the podium on the world stage, and was absolutely furious because my lifting sucked. I didn’t hit numbers I wanted, and as a result, the competition was close. In my mind, I should have absolutely destroyed my competition. Obsessive? Maybe, but I’m ok with that.
Athletes, listen up. If you are offended by what I am about to say, then you probably are not a true competitor, and should not be reading this anyway. If you are truly serious about being a competitor, and training to win at something, then this is for you.
I want to talk about personal records. Long, long ago at a time when I was a decent weightlifter, I really didn’t have any idea about personal records, what they were, or what they meant. My personal best numbers really didn’t matter. All they told me was how much further I had to go, and how much harder I had to train to be the best. They told me how much better all the good guys were than me. “I snatched more today than I ever have before! Great, I still have a long way to go to be the best.” That’s all PRs told me, so they were nothing for me to be happy about.
Now don’t get me wrong, personal records are a fantastic way to gauge your progress in sport. They tell you if your programming is working. They tell you if you are working hard enough to make gains. They tell you if you are better at this time and place than you were previously. They tell you if your blood, sweat, and tears are paying off. They tell you if you are progressing better or worse than your training partners. Log them. Track them. You should be applauded for being better today than you were yesterday. Celebrate them with your training partners, briefly, and then move on.
Look at those personal records, and then compare them to your competition. Not just your competition at your particular gym. It’s easy to be a big fish in a small pond. Look at those numbers, and then see if they are the best in the gym. No? Then work harder so you can be the best in your gym. Yes? Fantastic! Celebrate briefly, and lose the ego.
Are your numbers the best in your state? No? Then work harder so you can be the best in your state. Yes? Fantastic! Celebrate briefly, and lose the ego.
Are your numbers the best in your region? No? Then work harder to become the best in your region. Yes? Fantastic! Celebrate briefly, and lose the ego.
Are your numbers the best in the country? No? Then work harder so you can be the best in the country. Yes? Fantastic! Celebrate briefly, and lose the ego.
Are your numbers the best in the world? No? Then work harder so you can be the best in the world. Yes? Fantastic! You are the best in the world. Celebrate briefly, and then work harder to beat your own numbers, and separate yourself so far from the pack that nobody can ever catch up, because I guarantee you that someone right now is working harder than you, so they can be better than you.
If you are a true athlete and competitor, this MUST be your outlook. No matter how good you think you are, you can always be better, and there will always be someone else who is willing to work harder to be better than you. Never get complacent. Never get comfortable. Never look at someone else who is better than you, and say “their numbers are unattainable, I can never do that”. That’s a bunch of BS. Quit making excuses. That person did it. Why not you? Records are indeed made to be broken. Whether you are the one setting them, or the one striving to reach them, one day they will be broken.
I’m prepared to catch a lot of flak for writing this. We live in a modern day culture where everyone gets a trophy for participating. So I know there will be some folks extremely offended by this, but I warned you not to read it, because it wasn’t for you. Schools these days are afraid of giving out Fs for those who are failing. Our youth don’t really know how to fail, because there is no such thing. Show up, and you’ll be rewarded. Just try a little, and you will succeed. Those of us that live in the real world know that’s a bunch of crap.
Everyone gets a pat on the back just because they show a little effort. That’s all fine and dandy for general recreation. If you show up and only put forth a little effort in a competition, your competition is going to smash you in the face, run right over you, and never look back.
If you want to be better than everyone else, you have to be willing to do more than everyone else. You say you want to be the best? Prove it.