Little Lessons Make a Big Difference

My learning curve remains steep 18 months into my training at Terrain Gym. Tonia teaches me something new every day; whether it's from a personal anecdote, a demonstration or a correction to my technique, I leave the session feeling excited about my new nugget of knowledge.

Although small, these are powerful lessons that when put into practice enable you to suddenly lift more weight, squeeze out another rep or move a little faster. Here are just some of the little lessons that have made a big difference in my gym performance:

  • Barbell loading board. It was a big day for me when I learned how to use the barbell loading board instead of counting on my fingers.
  • The squat sweet spot. After doing so many squats I can now tell when I'm an inch too shallow or my stance too wide.
  • Wrap your thumbs (for pull-ups and chin-ups). It is harder to do and easy to forget. I have been falling asleep at night and suddenly think, "Damn, I didn't wrap my thumbs!"
  • Heavier weight = move quicker. This is huge for me as I tend to linger and think too much which causes me to fatigue faster and become unable to complete the rep.
  • Doing moves the right way hurts a lot more than doing it the wrong way. (I cannot do as many sit ups or pushups as I used to!)
  • A spotter does wonders. Just knowing that someone has got your back makes you braver, squat deeper and push harder.
  • 1RM can change daily. You may be more tired today or more rested, which leads to the next point…
  • Gym numbers don't matter; it's what you do outside the gym that counts.
  • The definition of strength. I used to think strength was doing pushups or sit ups, but I have learned that the goal of a strength focus is to increase weight until the exercise is hard but doable. This may result in few reps, but greater use of power.
  • Sandbag Get-ups are metabolic (every part of your body is working). Just do one and you'll see.
  • Injury is no excuse not to train. There are ways to safely work around an injury with alterations in movement, reps, weight and/or exercise.
  • Muscles remember and adapt quickly. Sometimes I think it will be impossible to work out on Tuesday after a hard session on Monday. But after warming up and one or two working rounds, the body starts to respond and the brain follows suit. Sometimes we are capable of a lot more than we think.

This list will continue to grow as I grow into a more responsive, durable and strong athlete in Terrain Gym.