- January 3rd, 2014
Been slacking on getting my new blog posts up here. Have a few that I just haven’t finished but after seeing what I did a week ago at the event we hosted, I didn’t want to wait on this one, because as a trainer seeing this stuff is the coolest thing in the world.
I love competitions, serious ones, or just for fun. I think it is healthy and teaches athletes young and old a whole lot of lessons that will help them in their sport and in life. On the other side of the spectrum nothing drives me more crazy than hearing a capable athlete tell me they would like to do the competition and it sounds fun but they don’t feel “I can win” or “I am not ready for this one going against ________.
There is a lot more I could write on why doing these competitions are beneficial and why I try to get all my athletes to do them. Instead I am going to share 4 stories of 4 very inspiring females with their videos who competed, and kicked ass. These are 4 females who if you heard them say they were not ready for this competition, or didn’t feel it was for them, you would probably understand. The contestants in this contest included at least 8 collegiate level athletes, 4 of which are division I, 3 top level strongman competitors and 1 that should be, and rounded out by some of the top high school athletes and strength coaches in the area. Me, well, I wasn’t the least bit surprised that they did compete and did so well. I am not sure anyone can read this and watch the video attached and not be motivated.
Athlete 1: The athlete you will see first in this video is 15 years old, competes in cheerleading and track and field. She was a member of the youngest team in the competition. She also has 3 less fingers than, probably, everyone who is going to read this post. I have worked with this young lady for a couple of months and not once has she ever used anything about anything as an excuse of what she can or can’t do. The Friday before the contest I was not working. My employee was working with her on picking up an Atlas Stone (an event in the contest and something she had never done). For anyone who has lifted a stone before you can imagine how hard it would be only being able to use one hand fully. Even an experienced stone loader may not be able to pull this off. I received a message on facebook from someone watching her try that said “_________ really struggles with the stone; I don’t think it is fair to have her do it, maybe we should have her do the keg twice tomorrow”. No more than 5 minutes later I got a text from the young female competitor saying the same thing. Here was my reply and the actual conversation:
Me: Don’t worry about it. You will load the stone, I will show you how in the morning.
Her: Ok sounds good.
Not a question of how. Not a doubt of ‘what if it doesn’t work?’ But you have to be around this young woman to understand that she knows there is nothing that can stop her, there are just some things that she doesn’t know yet. Watch her load the stone, albeit unorthodox, no problem.
Athlete 2: The second lady you will see in this video is 48 years old, an age where most adults have long since slowed down. Those who haven’t slowed are usually trying to keep their weight manageable and/or doing what they need to play with their kids or keep up with day to day activities. Not this woman. She has quickly become a motivating factor for everyone who sees her at the gym. Turning heads with every feat of strength she accomplishes and goal she reaches. In about 6 months of lifting weights this 5’2 115 lb woman deadlifts 225 lbs for reps and carries farmer handles that weigh 140 lbs each as easily as she carries groceries. Competing on a badly injured ankle this Saturday you will see her put the doubters to rest and guaranteed to impress you all. Age doesn’t dictate old or young, you activity does. She doesn’t train to add years to her life; she is training to add life to her years. Nothing like a friendly competition to bring that out.
Athlete 3: The third young lady in this video I have only had a chance to work with on a few occasions. Still in middle school, everyone can learn a lot from observing her in action. She is a member of our speed program and the first thing she ever said to me at the gym was, “I want to lift that” (this was in reference to a 650+ lb tire). She has zero to very minimal weight training experience and would be called upon to load three implements that weighed more than she does to a platform 42 inches high. In addition to this she would be required to carry an implement that weighed more than her, Put it in a wheelbarrow that also contained me (fatty), and a 60 lb sandbag and carry it 50 feet, push a sled that was 3x her body weight, and hold on for dear life while I lumbered like a bear for 80 feet. The amount of heart, toughness, perseverance, and never-say-die, never quit in this girl is not even measurable. As you will see in the video when she does the loading event, how happy I am. Because I know exactly what she was feeling and I know how bad she wanted it. Very cool to see from a (her) coach. Loved every second of competing side by side with her and watching her fight for every inch. In fact I didn’t even something so small could have so much fight.
Athlete 4: The final athlete in this video is also still in middle school. Had to take on a new partner the day of the contest due to her regular partner coming down sick. She was nervous, she was uncomfortable, and she was smaller than just about everyone. In training this young lady has already reached unbelievable levels of strength for her size and age, pulling deadlifts of 220 lbs just weeks after a broken arm had her sidelined for over a month. She is little more tentative than the other females in this competition, she doubts herself more than she should, even questions her ability at times. What I know with 100% confidence is that she is starting to believe in herself more and more, and when the day comes that she realizes and achieves what she is capable of she is going to astonish people with her feats. Few have as much raw strength as she possesses, tolerance for training through pain and being uncomfortable, and ability to smile for over 34 hours each day (yep I don’t know how either). My favorite part (yes it is in the video) was when she loaded the stone in the contest Saturday. The stone was her third and final implement and I was right next to her. She picked it up to her lap and struggled with a couple attempts at the load. I saw the look on her face and knew exactly what was going through her head and what she was going through. There were only 2 things that happen when you are in this situation (and I have experienced them both). Option 1. This is what you know is going to happen, because you have nothing left and you wasted it on your first two attempts, and you are about to disappoint your teammate. You’re going to miss the rep and know that if you did it the first time right you would have had it. You will be mad at yourself, disappointed, and for lack of a better phrase be really pissed off at the World. Option 2: You know this is impossible. Your body is at exhaustion, everything hurts doing one of the most taxing total body exercises there is. You dig down to that place only you know exists and you give one more leave-it-all-on-the-table lift. Before you even know if it is reality yet you realize that you just pulled off what even you didn’t think would happen. Then you see what you are made of and no one can take the smile off your face. Unfortunately the video cuts off right before she makes the load. I promise you that it was successful, and I also wanted to take a vote on who was happier after it happened. Her or me. Because I was right there, and it was nothing short of awesome.
Nothing more to say on this; just have a look at the video here: