Practice + Perseverance = Progress


Woooooooooooo! I’m back. While I may have actually resumed a regular training schedule in July, I didn’t really feel like I had any business being at the box when I first came back. 65lb thrusters were hard. My stupid hands kept ripping as it was waaaaay harder than I remember to do pull-ups. I was no longer the Fitathlon-winning athlete I was in 2013, the athlete my coaches know I’m capable of being. Not a fun feeling.

This past couple of weeks, I’ve gotten to do something more than once that I hadn’t previously done in about a year. I’ve been able to write ‘PR’ next to my name on the board. Not a 2014 Comeback Kid PR for the calendar year, but an ACTUAL “never have I ever snatched or squatted this much weight before in my life” PR.

It took a lot of fixing previously poor form, getting reps in and building back up from what felt like nothing. Lots of wondering HOW everything that used to feel light was newly heavy. I knew my body was capable of lifting X amount of weight once upon a time, so how come it just wasn’t happening?

The moral of the story is this: Stick it out. If you do, improvement is inevitable.

Like the tides, things in life ebb and flow. Just because you can’t hit your 95% back squat today, doesn’t mean you’re a terrible athlete who sucks at life. Some days you’ve got it, some days you don’t. Yesterday I pulled 74 double unders unbroken, today during the WOD I tripped up after doing TWO. No joke.

We all have days when we struggle to stay within 10lbs of our PRs, lose our DUs and can’t hold on to the bar for peanuts. Other days you feel like a million bucks, and setting a new PR feels like a piece of cake. What matters most is that you’re in the gym on a consistent basis, doing what you CAN. When you’re worn out on life and only have 70% to give, 70% is better than zero. It’s significantly better than resigning to the couch after work because there’s a backup in your Netflix queue and your only desire is to achieve blanket burrito status this evening.

As I’ve said before, practice makes possible. Practicing what’s possible leads to making progress. Forward progress scores touchdowns. (Cough cough, Patriots… please keep that in mind this Sunday evening.)

I used to be terrible at back squats. I’m still nowhere near the numbers of some of the other super strong girls I know (Cait and #stronglikesteph I’m looking at you), but at least my form isn’t total sh*t anymore. I once was so nervous to go all the way down and not be able to bounce back up out of the hole. You know… FAIL. I could do it at 145lbs, but as soon as the bar was loaded with 150+, forget it. A mental block instantly stopped me from doing that at any higher weight. I was painfully slow to squat down to juuuuuust the point of reaching parallel before I fought to stand it back up again.

Welp, this summer our coaches had the entire box embark on a multi-week 20-rep back squat scheme. Start small, increasing the load by 5lbs every Mon-Wed-Fri. The weight started out light enough for me to be able to make sure I was using good form only. Because of all that PRACTICE with correct form, PERSEVERANCE through long sets and squat anxiety all week long… we all made significant PROGRESS when it came to test 1RMs again.

I’ve set new back squat and front squat PR’s with no doubt in my mind I’m going below parallel. Not only can I snatch 100lbs (finally!), I can actually catch the bar overhead in a full squat – not just use brute strength to muscle it up overhead while hardly bending my knees. Even reaching depth on wall balls used to be a problem for me. I’m telling you, I was a real piece of work when I started out. Still am, but much less so now.

Why? Because I practiced. I persevered when practice wasn’t going well. Because of that, I made progress.

You can too.

Coincidence that the first 2 letters of progress are PR? I think not. (Just kidding… it totally is.)

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