View Full Version : The psychology in weight lifting
10-01-2010, 04:42 PM
I only got serious about lifting 10 months ago. I did it 20 yrs ago in college, but didn't know how to put together a good routine or how to eat. I have always been on the tall side and I worked my ass off just to break 190 lbs on the scale back then. I am 208 now, and stronger and heavier than ever in college, and I'm now 43 yrs old.
Anyway, I stumbled across WBB last fall, and lurked for a month or two. I decided in January this year to being doing the WBB 1.1 Routine. I ate far more protein than ever before. I saw encouraging beginner gains, and my enthusiasm grew.
However, what I have discovered over the last 6 months or so is that when it comes to weightlifting, your mind can be your best motivator or your worst enemy. I have a long range goal of bulking until next Feb or March, and then cutting for about 6 weeks or more for summer.
Here comes the brain-is-your-worst-enemy part.. I've been eating like a monster and the lifts are going up, although much more slowly than last spring. I own both a scale and an Omron BF tester. I have seen BF percentages range from 17% down to 15% over the summer. After stalling for a few months, I got serious about eating again, and the weight has gone up. BUT.... The old Omron showed a BF % of a whopping 18.3% yesterday morning, and suddenly I find myself fretting over fat. Damn you, brain of mine...
I think I need someone to say "Quit being a schizophrenic about it, and stay the course." In fact, I KNOW this to be true. But the psyche can really short circuit the process if you let it. So.... Having said all that: Where's my protein shake...?
cant hit bombz
10-01-2010, 04:52 PM
I think a wise old man ( sorry Offroad..lol ) once said on here.
The tortous always wins the weight lifting race
10-01-2010, 04:57 PM
Pay more attention to the mirror than your bodyfat tester.
10-01-2010, 05:55 PM
I haven't seen 15% in years :)
But this Summer I will get back there again...
10-01-2010, 11:28 PM
Quit being a schizophrenic about it, and stay the course. :p
Those eletro-whatever bf testers suck anyways. Go by what you see in the mirror. I register at like 20% on mine back home and I'm well, well, well under that.
I think something I realized lately is that the guys with the most impressive physiques have usually spent some time at a higher bodyfat than most would consider aesthetically pleasing. But, then they cut for 6-10 weeks or so (depending on goals), and they end up larger and more ripped than they were before. Gotta think big picture. Trust me, I have the same problems as you do with the fear of fat gain.
Another thing to add, and I don't mean to step on any toes here, but Bosch, you seem to be a bit older, with a family and a wife, etc. I don't really think anyone's going to notice if you put on some fat along with a good amount of lean mass, you know? I doubt the couch potatoes you probably work with are going to say a damn thing--they have THEIR beer bellies to worry about.
I envy you. It's a lot worse in college where the guy that's 6 foot and 140 pounds with six pack abs and nothing else is considered "better" looking in comparison to a guy who's well-muscled but has a bit higher bodyfat. Ridiculous.
Bulk for a few months, put on some appreciable lean mass, and then cut down until you look impressive. You'll be happy with that bulk when you can clearly see the size you've gained in your arms, legs, etc.
Good luck. :)
I don't know if this helps but I find judging myself and assessing perceptions extremely difficult.
I was always skinny and lanky and then had amazing newbie gains with very little fat gain by eating huge amounts of food on a very dirty bulk. Hey, it's just genetics and I could get away with it, or so I thought. This year, my body-fat has really varied, it's gone somewhere between 15 and 20%, I grew a belly then lost it, but the muscle gains are much much slower than they were. What's weird, is that throughout this time, I have got completely different reactions from people. I've written about this before but it always surprises me what some people think skinny, others think fat, and what some think small, others think big.
My sister hadn't seen me for a year and said I was "huge" and had gone "too far", but I think she has an emotional investment in me being skinny or something. But that made me paranoid about my bodyfat and prompted a cut. I met up with a friend from my old uni last weekend and she said "I thought you'd be bigger, you look athletic but you grew so much when I knew you I thought you'd have kept going." I explained to her I was relatively happy with my weight so I was just trying to get stronger and fitter, not much bigger. Although to be honest, her comment made me slightly disappointed in my progress. I met with another old uni friend a month or so ago and unprompted she asked me if I lost weight! WTF? She said my waist looked thin (I had been on a mini-cut). I think maybe this was a perceptual thing, where having broad shoulders and a bigger chest made my waist look thinner.
I don't even think the mirror is that reliable, because your judgement is always biased and you look different on different days anyway. The point is, no ONE measurement is going to be reliable and no two people see things the same way. The best plan is probably to have some long-term goals and then work towards them, ignoring everything else and accepting what happens in between. This way you can justify what you do. Although I tried explaining the bulk-cut thing to people and usually just got raised eyebrows - normal people can't think that far ahead.
I don't know if I can give you "advice" as such, but I've decided that after a certain weight (about 205lbs for me) dry muscle gain just gets really slow. I think Lyle Macdonald puts it about 0.5kg a month. I've also seen 7lbs a year thrown out. This seems far too low for any but the most trained individuals but it does make a point. Because of this, I've started caring more about my body-fat because I like where I am and I don't want to get too soft if there's no point. I'm planning on sticking between 203-212lbs while getting as strong as possible. If I start getting a bit soft while in this range, I'll lower calories but try to keep getting stronger. When I can no longer get stronger at that weight I'll think about dong another heavy bulking phase.
I completely agree with you though. This years has been weird for that. I only weight myself once every couple of weeks now because it just gets annoying to even think about it.
10-02-2010, 07:43 AM
Use the weight on the bar as your measuring stick, it seems to be the only constant.
Spend long periods of time either cutting fat or eating in excess. Don't flip-flop a lot.
Put in the years and stop worrying about it week to week. Nothing is going to happen that fast.
10-02-2010, 08:10 AM
The following is something Jim Wendler wrote in his log over at elitefts a while back. I use this to help me focus when I start to get off track or start worrying about the small stuff too much. You may agree or you may disagree, but it will give you something to think about.
"I'm going to have to give you some Tough Lust here (no lube or spit). First, I need for you to re-read this article, especially this part:
"Where performance and kicking ass are more important than how you look. Where people eat to live, not live to eat. Where trucks are pushed and sleds are pulled. Where reps and weight are counted, calories are not. Where running isn't "cardio, it's part of training and if you're going to walk for your conditioning you best have something on your back or in your hands"
You admit that you are not strong enough (many of us feel this way but understand that it is an ongoing process and that THIS process is important). But please DO NOT be that guy who talks about where he holds his fat or how his legs or "obliques" are fattier than they should be. Where has our gender gone?
What I would prescribe for you is to get rid of all these silly, pathetic and disgusting notions of what you think a man should look like and start over. I'm going to give everyone a huge hint here: no one gives a **** what you look like. Now I'm not saying being a fat slob doesn't raise some eyebrows in disgust, but if you kick as much ass as possible int the weight room and conditioning field AND start OWNING the **** out of your given "sport" (you better start competing and making your training count), you will not only LOOK better but you will feel better. People are not attracted to vanity - they are attracted to confidence and passion. No one owns a room by the way they look; it's how they carry themselves.
There is so much more to this, but PLEASE don't talk about your love handles. Talk about your passions in life, talk about how your moved boulders, talk about the books you've read, talk about the world's you've changed. You have the passion for training, start making this **** count.
I know this is probably way off topic then what you wanted but I'm trying hard to get rid of all this bull**** that is plaguing SO MANY men, young men and boys. So in conclusion, I recommend this:
Do this all the time - no bulking, no cutting, no bull****. Just training for being a mother****er. Don't be that guy that takes shirtless photos of himself so other men can drool on them. That **** is a disgrace to every man that has done anything awesome in his life - while they were busy "doing" these shirtless 'tards were busy trying to look the part. Get off the bench and get on the field. "
Sean and Off Road - those are both excellent posts. I totally agree and that is why training for strength is always the most important thing for me. Also "Don't be that guy that takes shirtless photos of himself so other men can drool on them. That **** is a disgrace to every man that has done anything awesome in his life" - Yup.
10-02-2010, 11:04 AM
Focus on increasing your training poundages and an upward trend on the scale.
I've been fasting until after I train and have been experiencing a nice partitioning effect...
If your schedule allows, I'd train fasted (except maybe a preworkout bcaa or low calorie protein shake 30min before) and see how you respond.
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