This week I got to watch 1 Iron Barbell change the confidence of several women in a matter of minutes. Men, too, but just in general our guys will walk up to a barbell with a little more of a “can do” approach and they often have less reservations about lifting. So, big kudos to our guys who were lifting and laughing and cheering and getting stronger!
Back to the ladies, though. It was deadlift day, descending rep scheme working towards a “heavy set of 2”. Of course, this is all relative to individual strength and if the lifter wants to get to heavier lifts. Often, without goals or some level of confidence, an athlete will become a little… satisfied. You happily float around a comfortable, non-challenging weight because you don’t have to fail. You know that weight will always go up, form will remain intact and you can go on with your day on cruise control.
That’s completely OK!! You came in, you got a little (or a lot of) sweat, you got to move and have fun and feel good. That’s always OK! Some days, however, you need more. You need to see what you are capable of. Some days, if you’ve been hanging out in the shallow pool, you decide to dive a little deeper.
Barbells loaded, we’re down to the final 2 reps, when I see a friend push aside the weight of doubt and grab extra weight for her final lifts. She knew her form was there. She knew she had more to give and she wasn’t going to let the chance go by. With a huge smile (which I must applaud, as my heavy lifts turn me red and purple with a contorted face), the weight came up. Twice, not easily, but twice. Applause and cheers… then it happened. Another woman, who had been holding back, walked up to the bar and lifted, beautifully, 100 lbs. more than she had previously given herself credit for. Twice. Then another woman came up for a successful, unexpected lift! So many smiles, high fives, endorphins, surprises.
Confidence is contagious. So is self-doubt. When we tear ourselves down in front of others, it somehow seeps out of us and starts to float around the room. One by one, the negative comments start to seep out of others. Some strange, self deprecating solidarity.
This week confidence won. I watched women circle each other and confirm their strengths and smile and lift each other up with ZERO negativity attached. They took their iron and instantly felt amazing. Think twice before sharing your negative cooties and never hesitate to share smiles and compliments. Oh, and don’t be so afraid to lift!