It happened again last week, and to be honest... it happens a little more frequently than I would like. The start of the week marked my final week of heavy training of meet prep. I hit PRs on all my lifts after enduring a prep full of trials and rehab. In those moments I was high. I felt so fulfilled and overcome with that feeling that made me fall in love with the sport in the first place, BUT by the end of the week that feeling was gone. What had given me pride, power, and joy a mere 3 days ago was now the source of disappointment, self-hate and a plethora of other feelings that I could not quite grasp.
CRAP, CRAP, CRAP. I had done it, again.
As I scrolled through Instagram watching all my strong frands do strong frand things, I had gone from admiring them, to comparing myself to them.
"They have been lifting as long as me and are way stronger”
“She can squat 3x her body weight...3x my bodyweight is 450+, I will never get that”
“I wish my deads were that clean”
"I am never going to have a wilks that great”
I had managed to diminish myself because I was comparing myself to others. In a sport centered around" lifting the most" it is so hard not to compare. At the end of the day, the sport is literally about who can lift the most weight. But if it is simply “who lifts the most” or “who has the highest wilks,” what does that mean for me as an athlete? Can I only be satisfied or fulfilled when I am “the best”? What even defines one as “the best”? Either way… that is not the most uplifting way to view the sport because the reality is there can only be one number one.
It is during these times that I really have to be active in reminding myself of WHY I started this sport and WHY I fell in love with it. Powerlifting is so much more than who is lifting the most. I fell in love with powerlifting because I was able to see progress in MY WORK. No one else had any effect on my strength. If I put in the work, I progressed. MY PHYSICAL STRENGTH came down to MY WORK. I love being able to see my friends accomplish their goals because I understand the work put in.The mutual respect, admiration, and love for the grind is why I love the sport. Don’t get me wrong, trophies, overall wins and all those other things are nice little-added bonuses but they are not the only aspects of the sport. The reality of this sport is I could show up to a meet, add 200lbs to my total, go 9 for 9, all 27 white lights, have perfect form and there could still be someone who is stronger than me. Does that, therefore, diminish all the work I put in. HECK NO.
I am learning it's okay to admire strong people. Those strong people are inspirational and help to break the barriers of what we think is possible. I am learning to watch and be inspired by amazing athletes and using them as motivation to push myself forward not break myself down. At the end of the day, the numbers I put up are mine, and that will always be something to be proud of. So whether your numbers are personal records, state records, American records or world records, those numbers are yours, so own them.