My Injury Embarrassed Me
I think lifting weights is cool. I think it’s cool that I lift weights. I think it’s cool to be strong. In the spring of 2017 I could squat 70 kilograms, conventional deadlift 82 kilograms, and hip thrust 70 kilograms. Because of hamstring tendinopathy, I’ve needed to change my entire program to rehabilitate and I haven’t touched those numbers since. Not even close.
The embarrassment really hit me when I was home in July deadlifting 60 kilograms in short-shorts without shoes on, in the middle of TRX training sessions and kettlebell walks (I stuck out like sore thumb, is what I’m saying) and when I went back home in September, I was still deadlifting 60 kilograms.
In my mind, the Equinox regulars and trainers had remembered what weight I was lifting in July (I mean, there was Instagram proof of it!) and would think “She’s still lifting that weight? She’s clearly doing something wrong.”
Reading this now, I hope you think I’m nuts. Truly, this anxiety I have of outside judgement is just ridiculous. It’s self-centered. It took me years to realize that this was the root of my anxiety, and now I can easily acknowledge that — but fixing it is not so easy.
With my newfound confidence of spamming Instagram with my fitness endeavors (sorry friends who don’t give two sh*ts but feel bad unfollowing me), I would predict people’s thoughts.
She’s not strong at all.
This is boring. Why does she keep posting about this? I don’t care.
It lead me to second guess everything I posted. I’ve even deleted a few photos due to embarrassment.
focusing on reality
When I catch myself thinking these thoughts, I put them aside and remind myself of the real goal: I want to get stronger, and I know I can get there, but I need to put in the dedicated work or else I’ll get injured again by half-assing the form and racing to hit the next PB.
Social media causes us to judge what we see and compare ourselves to it. I find myself doing this quite often and it’s normally when I’m unhappy with my own progress. The reality is—everyone is different, everyone has different goals and body structures.
I mentioned in a Facebook post that I was very jealous of a girl who had incredible muscle definition but had only been lifting for 2 years (just like me). Then I learned that she had been a gymnast all of her life. See? She had an athletic background. I did not!
Lifting weights is a mind game, like anything else. When the physiotherapist said I needed to lower the weight of my compound lifts and focus on lots of reps with good form, my initial reaction was “And destroy all of my progress? Oh my god, I can’t do that!” But I sucked it up and did as I was prescribed.
8 months later, my deadlifts and squats are progressing every week and my form is the best it’s ever been. Even when I was squatting 70 kilograms, I didn’t feel good about it. I knew my form sucked and my knees caved in, but now each squat is a calculated movement.
It took a lot of time and work to accomplish this.
You can’t half-ass lifting. When you do, you run the high risk of injury.
If anything, I hope you learn to catch your negative thoughts and understand them. We all struggle with this, some more than others, and it’s nearly impossible to eliminate thoughts. If we try, it’ll be like the pink elephant, circulating our minds. Learn to take the thought and reframe it.
I look really weak squatting 40 kilograms.
I’m worried that people are judging me. The reality is, no one cares about what I’m squatting. If I continue worrying about this, I’m only making myself miserable. I know why I’m squatting 40 kilograms. I know I’m working hard. That’s what matters.
You can use this tactic in any area of life, not just lifting. But if you are embarrassed by the weight you’re lifting, remember that with practice and dedication, you will get stronger. Just remember that: “Today, I am one step closer to lifting X weight.”
When you get there, and you look back at all the hard work it took, it makes the pay-off so much better.
Comment below and tell me what accomplishment you’re most proud of right now!