When getting back into weightlifting after taking a significant amount of time off, it’s so important to set yourself up for success. I’m experiencing this first hand. The second half of my training year in 2017 looked something like this: I took break from lifting, then after a couple months I got back on a full training program and was too hard on myself when I wasn’t able to hit the numbers I could before my break, so I took another break from weightlifting, then I tried to wing it and train without a program. I continued to make no progress.
Finally, I decided to get back on a program, but this time it would be different. I would set myself up for success rather than failure. It worked. Now, I’m back to training hard again, I’m in a good spot mentally and I’m making progress. Things are headed in the right direction that’s for sure. All that being said, I really want to share with you guys some of the ways that I set my success up during the first half of this training cycle.
I chose a program that was similar to one I’ve seen success with and enjoyed following in the past. For me, the second part of that statement is the most important. Choose a type of program that you know you’ll enjoy and will get you excited to go to the gym and train every day. Getting your motivation back after taking time off can be challenging, and following a program that you find boring, or that has a bunch of exercises you hate, will only make things harder.
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After choosing my program, I had to make sure I had a plan, a way that I was going to succeed each day when following that program rather than fail. I decided to shorten my program to five days per week, which gave me two full rest days. I knew my body was going to need the extra time to recover since I was just getting back into training seriously again.
I also knew that if I based my percentages off my true 1RM’s, I was setting myself up for failure. So, I based my percentage work off numbers I knew I could hit right now. Which ended up being around 90% of my true 1RMs. For example, my best clean and jerk is 115kg, but I knew that with where I was at the start of the program, I could probably only manage 105kg on a good day. So I chose to base my percentages for the training cycle off that.
Last but not least, I paid really close attention to my body and mind and how I was feeling each day. Since my main goal of this past block of programming was to enjoy training again and ease my way back into a full training schedule, I adjusted my programming based on how I was feeling and even took extra days off if need be. I made sure that I was okay taking extra days off or okay with taking things a bit lighter on a way where I wasn’t feeling my best, because I knew it would pay off in the long run. By trying to push myself hard on days where I was feeling beat down, I was setting myself up for failure and frustration. Listening to your body and adjusting programming based on how you’re feeling is a very important part of setting yourself up for success on any weightlifting program.
Now, I’m taking less days off and I’m having fun in the gym again and making steady improvements in my strength. I plan to keep it that way by continuing to set myself up for success in the future and I hope you all do too.
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