Written by Adrienne Thomas
Squad as strong as my squats! That is the goal! To be surrounding by people who have as much passion, drive, and love for the sport as I. To be surrounded by individuals who encourage and uplift one another. While some of us are lucky to find ourselves surrounded by a supportive and uplifting individuals, others may have to search a bit more for it, however, in the end we are all personally responsible for our training environments. While at the end of the day the sport is individual, it is undeniable the advantage a supportive environment can lend to one's progress. So I wanted to talk about the steps I have taken in creating the best training environment for myself.
SURROUNDING MYSELF WITH SUPPORTIVE PEOPLE.
First I think it is important to understand what support is. It is important to understand that everyone shows their support in different ways. Because we are all such unique individuals, we all have different characteristics and preferences that shape how we interact. Support can come in a number of forms. From people who send good luck texts, check in after hard training sessions, help you load and unload bars, give you pep talks, take a look at your programming or form, these are all people showing support. People who are choosing to be present and helpful in our lives and training are under no obligation to do so. Being aware gracious of their CHOICE to do be uplifting in my life is so important to me. Being conscious of the many ways the people in your life support you will not only help you create an uplifting environment but will also allow YOU to be a better supporter back! I I took an active step in seeking out humans who were supportive of my endeavors. People who made me feel empowered, checked in on me, did all those things mentioned above. I made a point to try to train with them and communicate my gratitude for their presence in my life.
…. GET RID OF NEGATIVE PEOPLE
I feel like this is often something grazed over but never truly discussed. This is really as simple as it sounds. I rid myself of people in my life that were not supporting me, and had a negative effect on my experience. This applied to not only people in the gym but in my everyday life. ALL the aspects of your life affect your “training environment.” I took a step back and evaluated the relationships in my life….Were they being supportive? Did they contribute positively to my life? How did I feel around them? FRIENDS, get rid of people who bring you down! This is something that I feel many struggle with, including myself but at the end of the day the extra energy wasted dealing with the discomfort and distraction that those relationships cause, is not worth it. I have found myself making excuses of why I can’t just “cut people off.” “Oh they are my friend” , “They go to my gym”, “They are a significant other's friends.” While they may be all of these “titles” the only one that really matters is are they supportive? If not BUH BYE! And yes even if that person is unfortunately in the same spaces as you regularly, you can still coexist and be polite with of expending unnecessary energy on them. Be polite, be cordial and keep it moving.
CHECK YOUR JEALOUSY
Oooo, a favorite topic of mine! I feel like often the word jealous has real negative associations with it, and honestly, I don’t think jealousy is necessarily an innately negative awful thing. I really see jealousy as a desire for something that someone else has. I think it is natural to see someone who has something or has achieved a goal similar to yours and have feelings of “ I want that to.” The reality is we are all humans looking to be successful in life and achieve our goals, and it is totally natural to have feelings here and there of desire, and jealousy…. It happens. I think the determining factor of if these feelings are negative is how you deal with those feels. Often jealousy turns into envy. We switch from just “also wanting that thing” to this mindset of anger and resentment turning those thoughts into “if I can’t have it no one can.” STOP THAT SHIT. Your friends success and yours are completely unrelated. There isn’t a limited amount of PR’s allocated in the world and every time they hit one it lowers your chances of hitting one. There are enough PR’s to go around for us all. Don’t get me wrong, you still get to have sad moments when you don’t achieve your goals, but that doesn’t mean you have to sulk when they do. Put on your big girl underwear and refocus and use it as motivation. See it as proof of the product of hard work. There is more than enough weight for us all to hit our goals at our own pace and cheer for our friends along the way.
At the end of the day I am responsible for my training environment. Everyone prefers to train, in their own styles and environments. People have varying preferences of motivation and inspiration. Some people sit in corners and visualize their lifts, they like quiet time. Some people want someone slapping the shit out of their back and yelling in their ear! I realized that as I was building my lifting community and environment, it was important that I communicate these preferences. Communicate your preferences! What one person may do thinking they are supporting you may actually be distracting to you. Their intentions are pure….but they are not right for you. EXPRESS THAT. People can’t read minds. I can not tell you how many times I have been at a meet and hear“My handler is yelling and it is distracting me,” OR “I really wish my coach was a little more hype.’ Almost ALWAYS the issue was that the lifter never expressed their preferences at to the person.
As I have said, in the end we are responsible for our training environments and while it may seem nice to have a giant squad of people, it is useless if they are not uplifting and contributing to your training environment. Get yourself truly supportive people, get rid of those who are not, check your jealousy and communicate, communicate, communicate!