I Am Just Like You.
A lot of my friends think I am a full-time athlete, and that my life is simply eating, train, sleep, repeat. They believe they are not making progress due to lack of time, lack of energy, or other responsibilities that are more important. They think I am progressing because, “All I do is lift.”
You have to know that circumstance doesn’t limit your progress, but your mindset does. If you don’t believe that you can be successful, you won’t be.
I do get why people think lifting is my job. My Instagram and Facebook posts are all lifting, food, fun adventures, and a few animals here and there. It’s easy to miss the hard work and endless hours of training behind the social media. Most weightlifters receive little to no funding (the majority, like myself, fall in the NO funding category), so, we train with no monetary incentive. The only thing we have is a pure love of our sport. I train nine times per week, but I also work full time to make that possible. Another 40 hours of my week are spent running my site, Working Against Gravity, where I consult with training and nutrition clients. I also love to volunteer my time weekly at Lululemon’s Ivivva teaching fitness and healthy to young girls. It all takes time, and yes, it would be nice to skip a few training sessions here and there. But every time you make the easy choice you chip away at your chances of success. That’s exactly how you undermine your progress.
Let’s go to work. A photo posted by adeezukier (@adeezukier) on
I try to keep a daily rhythm. At the start I roll out of bed, hop in the shower, and put on a pot of coffee (THE essentials!). I measure out my oatmeal, protein, and some fruit for breakfast, then I pack my lunch for the day (some days I am lazy and pick up Tim Hortons, which is a very Canadian thing to do). You have to work hard at eating, whatever it takes to get enough macronutrients. Under-eating is a huge and common mistake.
I make the 17 mile drive to work with one hot coffee to go. It seems like I spend the majority of my life driving now. At first I hated it, but recently I have learned to appreciate this time to myself. I lose myself in music. I focus on my breathing and being present.
It’s meditation I guess. It has improved my focus when I train. Most days I recover better emotionally because of those drives. Other days – usually Fridays when I max out – it can be hard for me not to obsess over numbers and attempts. I give in to the urge and start visualizing my lifts, sometimes to the point that my steering wheel begins to feel like the knurling of my barbell.
I live to train and compete. I love the work, the endless reps, the daily fight. I know it’s weird, but I think you have to feel that way if you hope to fuel the work ahead.
On the way to work I stop at Gym #1 for my first training session of the day. I’m almost always alone for this 10:10 a.m. session. I feel for the garage lifters out there. Lifting alone is hard. That’s why I keep the morning session light. It’s just a confidence booster, and a session to focus on stretching and warming up for the heavier loading to come in the evening. You’ll find me dancing around and singing trying to keep myself from falling asleep.
After session one, I clean myself up and get ready for work in the afternoon. I am fortunate to have a job I love where I work with athletes all day. But from 1pm until 8pm I am on my feet coaching, motivating, programming, and helping others. I give all that I can because I never want my athletes doubting their preparation.
If you’ve got a busy day job, you have to take frequent breaks if possible for mobilization and restoration. In between coaching hours I eat, stretch, and watch a few YouTube lifting videos. Those breaks work wonders.
The evenings are my time. I could spend it watching TV or taking bubble baths, but instead I do what I love. I train heavy.
I grab an energy drink (Rockstar is my favorite) and 20 anxious minutes to Gym #2, where my team and coach train. They start at 7pm sharp, which puts me an hour and a half behind.
Lifting is in full swing by the time I arrive. I warm-up as best I can, then squeeze myself onto the platform with the least likelihood of death by flying barbell. This evening session is all about pushing the heaviest possible loads. It’s time to do what I love more than anything. I get butterflies in my stomach just thinking about it.
Mondays and Wednesdays are dedicated to complexes or variations of the snatch and clean, but what I look forward to all week is Friday – Max out Friday! This is where I go for PRs on the lifts, with a focus on making each repetition as pretty as possible. I push myself as far as I possibly can.
I wrap up training at around 11:00 pm begin the 40-minute drive home. It’s a perfect time to reflect on the successes and failures of the evening. I make notes on how to tweak my programming. I set the next day’s focus, and then I return to my breathing. Like I said, the drives are nice.
I eat the rest of the days macro’s right when I get home. I shower, brush my teeth, respond to clients and crawl into bed just before 2:00 a.m. My head hits the pillow. I fall asleep dreaming about doing it all again tomorrow.
I love this life.