I’m making good progress toward my “goals” – or at least one of them. I’ve lost 16 lbs so far; I’m now into a lighter weight class. Yay! My strength, however, is a whole other story. I did set a personal record this last training cycle – I squatted 237.7 lbs, but my bench and deadlift numbers have been dismal. As I’ve mentioned before, it’s nearly impossible to restrict calories, do cardio like a fiend, lose fat AND increase strength as the same time*. However, this is EXACTLY WHAT I EXPECT MYSELF TO DO. And it’s leading to disappointment and frustration.
By expecting to do the improbable, I am boxing myself into a situation where I will most likely fall short, especially in the near term. Setting myself up for failure is demoralizing, frustrating, and depressing. The psychology literature tells me that this can eventually lead to abandoning my goals all together. And hell, this is supposed to be fun. If this endeavor doesn’t positively contribute to my overall well-being, why bother?
The solution here is to set OPTIMAL EXPECTATIONS. For me, that translates into setting behavioral expectations of myself, rather than outcome-oriented goals. It will be challenging to confront these old expectations (e.g., setting new PRs every training cycle) with my new expectations (completing my entire strength training workouts every week). I know, however, that every time I choose new expectations over the old ones, I will be reprogramming my cognitive system and it will be easier and easier over time. These new expectations will become more fully automatic. Sounds hokey, but it’s true.
Here’s what I’m going to do – keep showing up. I’m going to concentrate on what I can control – my inputs – and not what I can’t control – the outcomes. I’m going to continue to do CardioSTRONG three days per week. I’m going to continue to eat properly – focusing on increasing protein and decreasing carbs. I’m going to follow to the letter the new strength-training program that Pattie and Amalia have written for me. And I’m going to try my very, very best to not be obsessed (at least for now) with how many plates are going on to the bar during those One Rep Max days.
*Please note that decreased body weight/increased strength is a complicated issue. If I just starting strength training, then yes, I could probably lose weight and see increases in the amount that I can lift at the same time. However, I’ve been strength training for several years now, and I’m probably within 10 to 15% of what I’ll ever be able to achieve. I’m 44 – time is working against me. ; - )