You know what's interesting? Let's pretend I'm writing a program for two people that are nearly identical in EVERY WAY. They are of the same gender, carry the same body fat %, have the exact same metabolic rate, same poundage of lean body mass, are of the same biological and chronological age, are equivalent in neural efficiency, possess the same number of number of high threshold motor units, etc., you get the idea.
The program I write for both of them could be a perfect blueprint for fat loss, mass building, athletic performance enhancement, you name it. Yet, one of them will walk away, sixteen weeks later, looking and moving like a completely different person, while the other will move and look the exact same as they did when they started.
How could this be?
Well, I said that the two people are nearly equivalent. They are the same in every way, except for one key element. This critical difference is in their mindset. Namely, the former follows the plan with INTENSITY. Focus. Passion. Conviction.
The latter, however, follows the plan with the enthusiasm of a gravedigger. There's no light in their eyes as they move the weights around, and it's as if they're performing a chore for their parents before they get to what they really want to do. As Tony Gentilcore put it, their approach to squatting and deadlifting resembles a butterfly kissing a rainbow.
I was thinking about this the other day as I was observing the eclectic training mentalities I see on a weekly basis at my local commercial gym, and even sometimes at SAPT with people who walk through our doors for the first time. Especially when it comes to the accessory work (i.e. the movements after the squat/bench/deadlift portion of the session), you tend to really see a drop-off in focus.
Sometimes, when I show something like a band pullthrough, glute bridge, or face pull, it's obvious the person doesn't care too much, and/or is worried what others may think:
"Man, this looks awkward" "This movement can't really be of any importance" "I wish he'd stop giving me this stupid exercise"
Let's take the band pullthrough and the face pull. This is what it may resemble:
If you go through the motions like this, how do you expect anything to happen?
Now, take Carson, one of our student-athletes. This kid gets down to business on everything. And I mean EVERYTHING. Bulldog hip mobility drills, walking knee hugs, broad jumps, band pullaparts, assistance work, and God help you if you get in his way while he's deadlifting.
I saw him training the other day and knew I had to film a few of his exercises. See the video below, and keep in mind he is not acting. This is how he actually lifts:
I mean, look at that face!!! He's thinking about NOTHING ELSE outside the immediate task at hand. He's snapping his hips HARD on those pullthroughs, and even during the sledge leveraging he's eying that hammer like he wants to kill it.
And, is it a surprise that Carson hit a 55lb deadlift personal record in a mere 12-week cycle with us?
Of course not. I wouldn't expect anything less with mindset like his.
It's time to train with some freakin' conviction and purpose when you enter the weight room. In fact, I'd even say become BARBARIC as you approach the iron. Even with your assistance work, take it on like you mean it. Then watch the results pour in.
Look, I do understand that many times there are external circumstances that may tempt to affect your mentality, both in and out of the weight room. And that not all of you feel very comfortable in the weight room, as it may be a fairly alien environment to you. Even if you're new to the gym and initially feel comfortable with just a few goblet squats and then getting on the treadmill, still attack it like you mean it! The faster you learn to "leave it all at the front door," the better off you'll be, and that's a promise.
The weight room has helped me through some of the most difficult times of my life. Sometimes it seems that iron seems like the only thing in the world that remains consistent to us. Two hundred pounds sitting there on the barbell is always going to be two hundred pounds.
So get in there and train like you mean it. Don't make me light some fire under those haunches!