The scale is always in my head. It’s not like the regular weight scale. This scale is just a straight line with light at one end and heavy at the other. Each lift has its own scale. This scale represents how the weight feels when I lift it and what I need to prepare for. I usually start thinking about the scale first thing in the morning on days that I have to lift that night. There is a “green” zone that represents the area in which the weight is lighter and doesn’t feel heavy, usually these are warm up weights. Then there is a “yellow” zone. On days I’m not feeling it, the yellow zone can feel like the red zone but most of the time the yellow zone is moderate to heavy but I’m not usually worried about missing weight in this zone. The “red” zone is heavy. This is the zone I need to prepare for all day. I have to eat well and sleep well when I am lifting in the red zone and I usually have to do a lot of mental preparing for the red zone. I also start to sweat when I think about the red zone.
Yesterday was a red zone day. I woke up knowing I had to squat 90%, which is about 270lbs. Now I know what 270 feels like on my back…..heavy. I know when I lift that everything needs to be right. There is no room for error because I can’t muscle out of this. I basically sweat all day thinking about it. On the other hand I was optimistic, lately I have felt really strong. On Monday my squats felt really heavy but it was a sauna in the gym that night and I also felt tired. So I headed to the gym ready for whatever was going to happen. I started in with my warm ups and those felt pretty good. I also had some mental stimulation because there was a guy in the rack next to me who was going plate for plate with me. Every time he put a plate on I kept thinking “Oh NO he dinnit!”. And he had good form, so I needed to represent! It came time for the 270lbs. I put the weight on an sat down for a couple mins. Everything goes through my head “I hope it feels light” “if I don’t get it it’s ok” “perfect form, perfect form” “if its heavy just keep going” “should I ask someone to spot me?” “down up” “you got this”. Then it was time to lift. Hands on the bar, squeeze, head under, pinch shoulders, squeeze hands, squeeze everything, drill feet, deep breath, chest up, stand (ok, doesn’t feel too bad), wait, step back, side, side, deep breath, squeeze hands as tight as possible, down, up………EASY! Wha? Check weight, yup 270! The weight felt like 80% not 90% All 3 sets went well! The last set felt heavier but I think my form was a little off on that one, in all, I could have done more.
Having confidence is huge in weightlifting. I consider myself confident but when it comes to the red zone, I have to earn that confidence. It’s a daily struggle, hence the scale. But once I hit those big numbers and my form is good and I wasn’t fighting like crazy for it, my confidence is almost like a drug. Of course the scale will come out next week when I have to lift more but for today I have a big smile on my face and my confidence got a little boost.
Everyone has their “scale”. Its personal. It’s my way of putting things into perspective. I don’t beat myself up over it and I don’t ignore it when the numbers change. And sometimes I have a little party with it in the corner at Gold’s in the rack. Just me and my scale.
PS – The guy next to me went up to 3 plates and when he was done I told him I was super impressed with his strength and form. It’s not too often I see a guy at Gold’s go below parallel and lift heavy like that.