Achievement · Competition · CrossFit · Goals · Olympic Weightlifting · Powerlifting · Strongman · Strongwoman

Escape the Training Grind: Remember Your Love for Lifting

By Brittney Bergen

Are you past the stage of getting newb gainz, and at the part where your training feels like a grind?

That’s where I’ve been the last two years.  This is what my workouts felt like.  Can you relate?

  1. Like a Painful Means to an End
    • Although now I’m a weightlifter, I used to bust my ass doing CrossFit, and I still looked fluffy.  My body composition didn’t match my efforts and that was frustrating as hell.
    • I’d literally grind my shoulder through movements that made my body cringe, just to get to the next competition where I could publicly display my power, and then spend a few hours celebrating months of hard work.
    • I’d regularly have breakdowns and ask myself, “Why am I even doing this?”
  2. Like a Battle to Get to the Gym
    • I’d have to get amped up with music or a podcast or a video, or
    • I’d use some motivational mantra like “The best show up even when they don’t feel like it.”
  3. Like it Wasn’t Fun Anymore
    • My weightlifting coach would remind me, “This is supposed to be fun.” And so I would try to have fun.
    • I’d put on a ’90s playlist; I’d invite my friends; I’d force a laugh or a smile and tell myself, “Act the way you want to feel.”
    • The fun (and the PRs) didn’t come easily like when I started.


Training doesn’t have to feel like a grind. Training doesn't have to feel like a grind. via @idealistisabel

What would you say, if I told you it’s possible for your training to feel like a breeze?

It is possible.  This is how my training feels now.   Wouldn’t you love to feel like this?

  1. Like I’m a Kid Again
    • I show up to the gym full of anticipation, excitement, and gratitude that I get to practice something I love.
  2. Like Every Part is the Best Part
    • I’m so in-the-moment that sometimes, the twenty seconds it takes for me to approach the barbell and set up for my lift feels timeless (and almost as pleasurable as hitting a snatch PR).
    • I enjoy chalking up, walking up, and lifting the bar up  as though I’m mindfully chewing the entire experience.
  3. Painless
    • My shoulder is healing, I can execute lifts smoothly, and they feel amazing!
    • My muscles are relaxing.  I have better control of when I want them to be tight, and when I want them to be fast (instead of being tight all the time).
    • My shoulder still isn’t 100%, but I’ve learned to stop doing things that cause me unusual pain (Novel idea, isn’t it?).
  4. Like Body Composition Changes and Competitions are the Icing on Top of the Cake
    • Weightlifting meets feel like a super fun lifting day with friends and athletes who inspire me.
    • Competitions are an opportunity to share my joy with anyone watching.
    • My body also snaps necks on the beach, and that’s just a cool bonus because all I do is move in a way that I love every day.
Although my bod’s rockin, it’s possible I’m gonna need a bunch of Botox from all my lifting faces

So how can you make the switch?  How can you go from training feeling like a grind to flowing like a breeze?

  1. Let Go of Your Expectations
    • Disappointment can only exist in the presence of expectations.
    • Let go of your expectations of yourself, and you’ll never feel disappointed.
    • You’re past the point of obsessing over the numbers you want to hit, and at the place where it’s time to embrace the experience in front of you.
  2. Step Into the Moment
    • Put your phone away.  I used to video about 60% of my training, now it’s maybe 10%.  If you want a video, ask someone else ahead of time something like, “If you see me going heavy, can you take a video?”  The phone takes you out of the moment.
    • Your breath is your body’s best friend.  Use it to get out of your head.
    • Take three deep breaths any time you transition to do something different – like when you first get to the gym, or before you complete a new set.
    • Become obsessed with squeezing as much pleasure out of the simple moments in the gym as you are in hoisting heavy weights over your head.
    • Although nothing beats a new snatch PR, approaching the bar can feel pretty damn amazing when you cherish every step.
    • Forget your next competition.  Focus on the fun you can have in this training session.
  3. Listen to Your Hot Bod
    • (See what I did there?)
    • Go with the flow!  If the numbers aren’t there that day, you can still have a great session.
    • I measure the success of my session  not based on the numbers that I hit – but on how connected I felt to my body, and how present I was.  (And guess what?  When I’m really, utterly present is when I hit PRs.)
  4. Remember Why You Started
  • I fell in love with lifting because it was the purest way I’d ever discovered to express my inner power.  It was the first sport where my nerves actually helped me perform better, instead of drop the ball.  I loved that it was just me and a piece of steel; there was no team depending on me.
  • It’s easy to forget why you started when the gains stopped coming so easily.
  • Now is when you have the opportunity to really discover all that you are capable of doing in your sport.

Anyone can start something.  Few stick with it long enough to achieve epic levels of greatness.

If you made it this far, I know you’re among the few.

Related Stuff

The Lady Lifter’s Guide to Training and Hormones

Do You Pee When You Lift?

Movement Coaching

Photo Credit: Amanda Ruller

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