Another great blog post by Brandi Darbi one of our wonderful athletes here at PFP Barbell . Originally posted here :
In three weeks I’ll be competing in the biggest competition I’ve ever been to. And, in the sport of Olympic Weightlifting, it’ll only be my third time on a competitive platform. If you know my writing at all, you know I keep it real; I’m terrified. My fear and doubt voices, as Brene Brown calls them, are alive and well as I continue training leading up to the big day. What’s different now is that I’m better equipped for managing those emotions than I’ve ever been and a large part of that is due to my coaches and the environment I train in.
Tom Duer, my head coach, is a nationally ranked athlete in the sport himself. His passion for teaching and cultivating a welcoming environment, where everyone thrives has removed many of the distractions I faced at my previous facility. I’m enduring long training cycles now without mental fatigue, I’m currently on the longest injury free streak I’ve had in a long time; (knock on wood) and I’m recovering from disappointing lifts in shorter amounts of time. I credit this to Tom and our whole crew at PFP Barbell because everyone deals with the same thing and supports each other throughout it. People don’t talk about how powerful groupthink is when it’s positive. Amazing things happen when you have a team of coaches you trust, lifting partners you like and a program you only kinda wanna cheat on versus always. I say all this but if you ask Tom anything about himself he’ll probably just tell you a dad joke because to him, he’s very funny. For confirmation, ask his wife Maggie, she also keeps it’s real.
Mind Over Matter
This is a dangerous idiom for someone with a propensity towards anxiousness. I can’t trust my mind most days when I get to thinking about the AO2. “The dip in my Jerk is too slow.” “Stop catching the Clean so high, get down!” “Am I ever going to stop getting stuck in the power position of my Snatch?” These thoughts on a loop plague me some days. I’m worried about all of it and I want to fix everything before I get on that platform. “It has to be perfect,” I tell myself. I want my friends to see and understand why I sacrifice time with them for training, I want to hear my team yell with approval when I stick a lift and let my coaches see their efforts come to fruition in my perfectly executed lifts. These ideas are cute but ever so unrealistic. First of all, perfection is a lie, and a waste of time I could be using on naps. Second of all, …I don’t remember what was second because that was a solid first of all.
Then I snap out of it and remember that I’m focusing on the wrong things. Mind over matter for me means keeping my head in the game, trusting my training and not the fear or doubts. At training camp two weeks ago in Virginia Beach, amid an exhaustive lifting schedule, we learned about goal setting and visualization. Weightlifting hall of famer Leo Totten taught us some key habits of elite athletes across various sports. I listened intently to him, noting all the differences between their behavior and mine. The list was not short. Many of the things that stood out to me was what they did outside of their active training times versus what I do. Mobility has become an enormous challenge for me over the last year after two consecutive knee injuries. Consistently adhering to a regimented nutrition plan has never been easy for me either. When I get hurt, I stop training altogether and indulge in all the carbs and sugar. Talk about focusing on the wrong things, right? Elite athletes work on things outside of their injured body parts. Broken knee? Bummer, train upper body. No training allowed at all? Bigger bummer, adhere even more to the diet plan. Terrible mobility? Do yoga. No money for yoga? Youtube is free. Aggressive travel schedule? Take your gym bag and drop in at gyms along the way. Excuses fall down like a house of cards when our minds are set. After I write this, I have to eat within my macros, drink a liter of water and do Romwod for 45 minutes because no joke, my mobility is laughable. So on rest days like today, I’m training my mind because I’ve seen how powerful it is when it’s working against me, I’m desperate to see what I can do when it’s working for me.
Make a Plan. Stick to said Plan.
Occasionally I try to sneak off-program in my gym. Sometimes I just want to squat or do snatch triples! It never works because Tom has parents ears and I suck at whispering my secret agendas to my teammates. “Do your program Brandi!” is commonly yelled across the gym when I’m up to shenanigans. That’s fun but Tom doesn’t live with me and I don’t have a chef doing all my cooking. So when I “occasionally” want snacks, no one is yelling at me to stay on my meal plan. I can’t expect to have the amount of accountability I prefer all the time. I have to want my goals more than I want truffle chocolate brownies or mexican coke. If I want to stop getting stuck in the Power position of my Snatch, I have to do my mobility work every day. At a certain level of anything we all do, self responsibility will be the defining factor of our success or failure.
It’s great that I care about everyone being proud of me but it’s not good enough. I know where my achilles heel of this journey is. I’m going to do great at the AO2 because I train like it. My lifts won’t be perfect because there’s always something to work on. I hit two important personal records this week, the first in months; that’s how to trust the process; do your program!
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