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Thread: How do YOU handle not hitting a goal?

  1. #1
    Weightlifter? YA RLY! O RLY?'s Avatar
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    How do YOU handle not hitting a goal?

    I suppose the lucid answer would be to tell yourself, "Oh well, there's always next week". But today...

    Today was chest/back day for me. I've been making great progress so far, due in large part to a lot of great advice I've gotten here. I've been upping my lifts by 5-10 lbs per week, and hitting it damn near every week on every exercise too. Now I had a particular goal in mind, one that was perfectly reasonable too btw, for bench press. Why oh why do we guys put so much importance on this one stupid lift? Anyway, the short version of this goes...last week I managed to up my lift to that goal, a full 2 weeks ahead of schedule. BUT, I was only able to get the first 2 sets, the third one killed me. On about the second rep I had to dump it in the floor. Ok, no biggie I tell myself. Drop the weight by 5 lbs and finish the 3rd set. No problemo.

    All week, ALL I could think about was that lift. I just KNEW I'd nail it. Well today was the day. First set I made it. Second set I was struggling so hard that on the 6th rep it was all I could do to push one side up on the the rack, move my other hand over and force the other side up. LOL. Geez.... So I decide to go for the 3rd set. To quote Arnie in "Last Action Hero", that was a big mistake. I get to about the 2nd rep, barely lift it. I go for the third and can't do it. At all. Even a little. Damnit! I was grunting and hissing and foaming at the mouth, yelling "MOVE YOU CHEAP MOTHER FOCKER!! UP!!! UP!! GO DAMN YOU!!!! ROAR!!!". Maybe it sounds dumb, and I'm sure it looked hilarious, but I was just so determined. Well, sadly I had to dump it. I couldn't believe it! I even upped my protien the past few days so I'd be sure to hit it. I was LIVID. My blood was absolutely boiling with rage! I wanted to smash something (HULK SMASH!!!), and I'm not normally like that. ARRRR!!!!

    RRRAAAAWWWRRR!!!!

    Well...good news is that all my lifts went up (aside from that one) by 5 lbs as usual. And my deadlift....well...it went up by 30 freakin' lbs!!! Not sure how I pulled that one off, but I felt like puking afterward. My back hurts a bit now too, but not in an "ouch I hurt myself way", just in the "OMG I lifted HEAVY" way.

    So I guess I just have to tell myself like I said in the beginning, I'm ahead of "schedule" as it is and there is always next week. Sigh. Meanwhile, all that anger gave me a really good workout. So I suppose it wasn't a total loss.

    You guys (and gals) have days like this? How do you handle it? If I don't hit this goal next week, I swear I'm gonna come unglued.
    “Our doubts are our traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” - Shakespeare

    "Do or do not, there is no try" - Yoda

  2. #2
    Breaker of Skulls Guido's Avatar
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    I'm patient with my lifting and know that all my goals will be met in time. It's always satisfying when the time comes. If I don't meet a weight goal in the time I have allotted, I know that it's probably not because I didn't try hard enough, but that perhaps I had just set an unrealistic goal.
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  3. #3
    Cardio bunny Alex.V's Avatar
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    I usually kick the nearest thing to me really hard. Which sucks when it's the loaded deadlift bar you just attempted and failed on.

    I couldn't walk normally for about a week after I did that.


    There is always next week. I try to tell myself that I have the rest of my life to make progress. It doesn't always work. It's tough, man. I usually just keep up with my workout and enjoy it. I'm there for me... lifting is one of the few things that I do where I have to answer to nobody. So any lack of progress is my fault, but at the end of the day I'm the only one who controls my success or failure.

    So no use getting angry. Step back and think what you've done wrong. Then fix it. You've got nobody else to blame, so take a deep breath, do some accessory work for whatever lift you botched, and go home.
    "Except Belial. He knows everything. This isn't a sarcastic attack, either. He really knows everything." -----Organichu
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  4. #4
    Banned bjohnso's Avatar
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    Stop going to failure and I think you will start seeing those gains again.

  5. #5
    mind/body zen's Avatar
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    I find I make the most progress when my second set is in the 6-8 rep range (I do 3 or 4 sets for most things).
    But in order to keep making progress, I also have to push things to higher weights sometimes.... because I sometimes wait until my 2nd set reps hit 9 or 10, or if my 3rd set reps break 5 or 6, then I knew to start with a higher weight next time around (and thus my progressive sets will all be higher too).

    BUT, sometimes I will move up and after a few weeks of this, I feel I am losing strength, and I have to do something that I call "go backwards and reclaim my ground". In sux, but I drop down my weight in order to kick up my rep range and hopefull in a week or two, I can progress again.

    I find that after you have been lifting for years and really get to know yourself, you learn when to challenge ahead, and you learn when you have leapt too soon.
    So, I don't usually set goals based on deadlines and weight amounts. I consider each workout a battle unto itself. Most workouts, I am lifting the same amount as last time, but I am trying to bring my reps up over last time. If I have successfully got my reps up high enough, I believe I am then ready to graduate up and challenge higher levels.
    Last edited by zen; 01-18-2007 at 09:18 AM.

  6. #6
    Weightlifter? YA RLY! O RLY?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Belial View Post
    I usually kick the nearest thing to me really hard. Which sucks when it's the loaded deadlift bar you just attempted and failed on.

    I couldn't walk normally for about a week after I did that.
    OUCH! Luckily I didn't do that! Like I said, I decided to defile myself in another way (those deadlifts I mentioned). Oh man is my back screaming right now. And you know what? I love it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Belial View Post
    I'm there for me... lifting is one of the few things that I do where I have to answer to nobody. So any lack of progress is my fault, but at the end of the day I'm the only one who controls my success or failure.
    Perhaps this is part of the reason I'm so addicted to lifting now. It's great to see the fruit of such extremely hard work, knowing you have absolutely no one to answer to but yourself. But it also makes me a bit overzealous at times...

    Quote Originally Posted by bjohnso View Post
    Stop going to failure and I think you will start seeing those gains again.
    Please forgive my newbie ignorance (because I am a relative newb), but could you explain this? I thought the whole point was going to failure. No pain, no gain, and all that?

    Quote Originally Posted by zen View Post
    I find I make the most progress when my second set is in the 6-8 rep range (I do 3 or 4 sets for most things).
    But in order to keep making progress, I also have to push things to higher weights sometimes.... because I sometimes wait until my 2nd set reps hit 9 or 10, or if my 3rd set reps break 5 or 6, then I knew to start with a higher weight next time around (and thus my progressive sets will all be higher too).
    Yeah, I'm using a very slightly modified version of WBB1 (told ya I'm a newb!). I do 3 sets on pretty much everything, and I always stay in the 6-8 rep range (shrugs and lateral raises being the only exception). I've felt if I can get 8 reps or more, it's not heavy enough. This has worked really well for me so far.

    Quote Originally Posted by zen View Post
    BUT, sometimes I will move up and after a few weeks of this, I feel I am losing strength, and I have to do something that I call "go backwards and reclaim my ground". In sux, but I drop down my weight in order to kick up my rep range and hopefull in a week or two, I can progress again.
    Yeah that does kinda suck. I've had to not increase the weight a time or two on hammer curls and lateral raises. I could get my 8 reps, but they were lagging and I couldn't up the weight. Problem with those are fixed for now though, or so it seems.

    Quote Originally Posted by zen View Post
    I find that after you have been lifting for years and really get to know yourself, you learn when to challenge ahead, and you learn when you have leapt too soon.
    So, I don't usually set goals based on deadlines and weight amounts. I consider each workout a battle unto itself. Most workouts, I am lifting the same amount as last time, but I am trying to bring my reps up over last time. If I have successfully got my reps up high enough, I believe I am then ready to graduate up and challenge higher levels.
    That is quite, ahem, Zen advice there. I know, I'm just over eager, but it's really exciting to see that progress and see definition where there was none before as well as the overall size/strength increase. Making those numbers go up up up has become one of the greatest joys in my life. Is that good or a bit sad? Or maybe both? LOL.

    When I posted the OP, it was right after I was done lifting. I was really upset by my lack of progress with one thing (bench), but thrilled beyond belief at my progress in another area (deads). Bittersweet. I appreciate the advice everyone, it helps.

    For what it's worth...after I posted I decided to treat myself. Got the stuff to cook a nice huge lunch. Had a really huge portion of steak (my own recipe, yay) a big twice baked potato, some wheat toast, and a couple of Steel Bars and watched a movie. I feel better now I guess. Also my first order of Nitrean should be here today, so I'm pretty excited about that too.

    So there's always next week.
    “Our doubts are our traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.” - Shakespeare

    "Do or do not, there is no try" - Yoda

  7. #7
    ANVIL POWER Detard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by O RLY? View Post
    Please forgive my newbie ignorance (because I am a relative newb), but could you explain this? I thought the whole point was going to failure. No pain, no gain, and all that?
    it is very bad to go to failure every time. it is very hard on your central nervous system which can hurt your gains in the long run. just because you dont feel a pump during your workout or feel DOMS the next day doesnt mean you didnt have a good workout. It is good to go to failure once in a while to try and push the limits, but defiinitly NOT all the time.
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  8. #8
    mind/body zen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by detard View Post
    it is very bad to go to failure every time. it is very hard on your central nervous system which can hurt your gains in the long run. just because you dont feel a pump during your workout or feel DOMS the next day doesnt mean you didnt have a good workout. It is good to go to failure once in a while to try and push the limits, but defiinitly NOT all the time.
    I got to failure all the time.
    Then again, the primary reason I lift is to challenge myself to go farther. I don't care that much about 'pump'.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Sensei's Avatar
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    Not very well. I'm usually pretty grumpy for a while and then I refocus on new/revised goals. Missed goals don't bother me mentally nearly as much as injury.
    A child does not learn to squat from the top down. In other words, he does not suddenly make a conscious decision one day to squat. Actually, he is squatting one day and make the conscious decision to stand. Squatting precedes standing in the developmental sequence. This is the way a child's brain learns to use the body as the child develops movement patterns. Therefore, a child is probably crawling, rocks back into a squatting position with the back completely relaxed and the hips completely flexed, and stands when he has enough hip strength. This approach makes a lot of sense and can be applied to relearning the deep squat movement if it is lost. -Gray Cook
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  10. #10
    Banned bjohnso's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by detard View Post
    it is very bad to go to failure every time. it is very hard on your central nervous system which can hurt your gains in the long run. just because you dont feel a pump during your workout or feel DOMS the next day doesnt mean you didnt have a good workout. It is good to go to failure once in a while to try and push the limits, but defiinitly NOT all the time.
    :withstupi

    I never go to failure intentionally. I've been doing a lot of singles lately and my gains have been very impressive (well, for me anyway). In my experience if you want big numbers you have to work with low rep ranges. Doing sets of 8-12 isn't going to do much for your maximal strength, unless you're a noob.

  11. #11
    ANVIL POWER Detard's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bjohnso View Post
    :withstupi

    I never go to failure intentionally. I've been doing a lot of singles lately and my gains have been very impressive (well, for me anyway). In my experience if you want big numbers you have to work with low rep ranges. Doing sets of 8-12 isn't going to do much for your maximal strength, unless you're a noob.
    LOL good call
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  12. #12
    Eat Chicken Chris686's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zen View Post
    I got to failure all the time.
    Then again, the primary reason I lift is to challenge myself to go farther. I don't care that much about 'pump'.
    I think this went over your head. Not going to failure has nothing to do with pump.

    It's hard on your CNS to go to failure every time. It's detrimental in the long run.
    Forever Goal: Strength

    Weightlifting sucks. I just like to lift heavy things.

  13. #13
    Banned Prodigy06's Avatar
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    Yell "mother ****er" eat a steak and try again next week.
    Last edited by Prodigy06; 01-18-2007 at 03:23 PM.

  14. #14
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    I get angry. And... well, when I'm angry, I can usually get the weight up that I wanted to in the first place.

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    Senior Member Doobs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by O RLY? View Post
    I suppose the lucid answer would be to tell yourself, "Oh well, there's always next week". But today...

    Today was chest/back day for me. I've been making great progress so far, due in large part to a lot of great advice I've gotten here. I've been upping my lifts by 5-10 lbs per week, and hitting it damn near every week on every exercise too.
    You won't be able to increase by 5 lbs every week.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Levantar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doobs View Post
    You won't be able to increase by 5 lbs every week.
    Depends on how long you have been lifting. I am a releative newb. I was on WBB 1 for about 6 weeks. Now I'm on the Bill Starr 5 x 5 routine which calls for an increase of 2.5% in your weight every week.


    Squat 4x5, 1x3, 1x8 First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8
    Bench 4x5, 1x3, 1x8 First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8
    Barbell Row 4x5, 1x3, 1x8 First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8



    I would say that 5lbs per week can be done in his situation (he said he was a newbie).
    Last edited by Levantar; 01-18-2007 at 04:16 PM.

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    Senior Member KevinStarke's Avatar
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    I attack the G.I. Joe's..
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  18. #18
    Back in business WBBIRL's Avatar
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  19. #19
    Senior Member Doobs's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Levantar View Post
    Depends on how long you have been lifting. I am a releative newb. I was on WBB 1 for about 6 weeks. Now I'm on the Bill Starr 5 x 5 routine which calls for an increase of 2.5% in your weight every week.


    Squat 4x5, 1x3, 1x8 First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8
    Bench 4x5, 1x3, 1x8 First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8
    Barbell Row 4x5, 1x3, 1x8 First 4 sets are the same as Monday's, the triple is 2.5% above your Monday top set of 5, use the weight from the 3rd set for a final set of 8



    I would say that 5lbs per week can be done in his situation (he said he was a newbie).
    I italicized "every," maybe I should have bolded it too. I mean every week because if you could, in 2 years you'd be benching 500 lbs more than you are right now. 5 lbs a week eventually is going to be an unrealistic goal, which might be what he's experiencing.

  20. #20
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    Personally, I do set general goals for the long term, but I don't set specific goals to be accomplished on a specific date. Reason being... it never unfolds the way I want it, motivation wilts, suicidal thoughts unravel and you don't wanna know what comes next...

    Actually, I work out to have fun now, more so than set goals. I tossed out my journal. I just walk into the gym and crank out reps, and when I feel like I"ve done my job, I leave. Sooner or later, the weights get lighter, and I move up. But I don't count down like I used to...

  21. #21
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    I just reassess and try again

  22. #22
    Senior Member Levantar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doobs View Post
    I italicized "every," maybe I should have bolded it too. I mean every week because if you could, in 2 years you'd be benching 500 lbs more than you are right now. 5 lbs a week eventually is going to be an unrealistic goal, which might be what he's experiencing.
    You are correct sir!

  23. #23
    Constantly Improving Decent's Avatar
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    I have a secret trick, but I'll let you in on it.

    After lifting for a while, I lose motivation and quit for weeks at a time. My body gets exponentially weaker, and I start to suck. That way, the next time I work out, I see nothing but gains for weeks, because I've become so weak that my muscles fight to get back to where they were before I stopped. So by being lazy, I never come close to setting unattainable goals, much less not reaching them.

    I don't recommend this technique for anyone else, btw. It sucks for fitness, muscle growth, body shape, psychology, and just about every reason. But I never plateau!

    This advice is free, but next time I'll have to charge.
    "To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing."
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  24. #24
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    it just sounds like you are finding out what your body can realy lift in a way.
    they week before both your body and mid were probably focused. next week sounds like you didnt get enough rest, and your mind wasnt focused, your mind thought you could do it but it wasnt focused on what it could acomplish, you had an artificial energy surge, that is one reason i always stay calm for my lifts and focus my self just before and during, you have to feel and see it in the mind to get past your max.

    i go close or to failure everytime (least on my bench, as that is why it is so high for my body weight) I dont always do my ultimate max, but i like to come close to it so i am realy working it.
    really after my "light sets" i do, the heavy stuff isnt as stressfull. if you arnt a bit stressed about how difficult your workout is your not putting enough weight on the bar.
    get plenty of rest (good nutrition helps to) and focus your mind and body next time.

  25. #25
    no matter what SaVvY's Avatar
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    'how do you deal with not hitting a goal?' - ive set myself a goal to power clean + power jerk 135kg by the end of this year. If by the end of this year my best was 110kg i would probably punch myself in balls until i passed out..but if it was say 125kg, then i wouldn't be that bothered cuss thats still good improvement

    basically i set myself goals that are really hard to reach, goals that NEED 100% every session, an possibly more, so if i dont get the goals its ok, just as long as ive consistently improved

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