The Grind

There’s an important moment when strength training and getting into heavier weights. It’s just about halfway into the movement – when you’ve gotten past the initial push but haven’t made it to the smooth sailing of the top.

That middle ground is the toughest.

It’s somewhat cartoonish, actually. Everything seems normal as the initial effort gets you started, but then – you just stop. Midway. Stuck. It may be impossible to move the weight any higher.

That moment feels like an eternity. In my mind, I look at the weight, I look at myself…and I look at the weight. I have a whole inner dialogue about whether I’ll be able to get the weight to move any further. Do I have it, or is this it?

The world ceases.

But, really, I’m just standing there silently, straining to hold a weight in midair. Trying to figure out if I can make the weight go up, or if I should just let it down.

It’s a subtle, but important decision.

You see, trying too hard when you don’t have it in you will almost certainly lead to injury. It’ll almost certainly slow progress towards your goals. It is foolish to push past your capacity. If you don’t have it, you don’t have it.

Better then to just walk away.

But you shouldn’t be a quitter, either. The only way you’ll get better, the only way you’ll get stronger is to push yourself as hard as you can. If you stop whenever you get tired, you’ll never get anywhere. You have push through the discomfort and give it all you’ve got.

It’s a fine line between these two states, but you learn to feel your way through them. Every day is different and every workout is different. A weight that feels manageable one day may as well be the weight of the world the next.

You just have to feel it out. See how it goes. Do your best, but know when to walk away. You may not get it today, but you’ll probably get it to tomorrow. Or maybe the day after that.Just keep pushing. Grind through. Wait for the right moment, but never back down.


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