Friday, April 14, 2017

Don't stop: it's harder to restart than it is to start in the first place

Khaled (who used to come to the gym when he was restarting lifting...) wrote an article last week that got me thinking about getting and staying fit. From the article about restarting something that you used to be good at: "... when you used to be really good at something and are now out of practice, it can be very difficult to come to terms with re-learning all over again."

Learning the Olympic lifts from scratch took me much longer and it was much harder than I really want to admit. I know it took me at least a year to get up to a 200lb squat (which is now not even my warm-up weight). I have a picture (can't find it now) of my first real deadlift that is less than my jerk now. I remember the process - it was exciting every day, not only was I getting stronger, but I was learning new skills. I didn't realize how long it took until I looked back at it.

Over the years the gym we were at transformed from a serious S&C gym to a silly beat-yourself-up-everyday CrossFit. As that happened, many of our friends left the gym. One of the big reasons we started this gym was that we wanted to recreate the environment that we had years ago when we were learning real strength training. It helped us so much that we felt we had to bring it back.

Some of our old friends rejoined us when we opened the gym, but they had been out of the scene so long that they were getting started again. And you know what? Not many of them earned their 1-year green shirts. They weren't consistent, they put too much weight on the bar because they knew they could lift that in the past. They could never get past the fact that they were essentially starting over.

I even went through a good chunk of time restarting: my training suffered because of the work opening the gym and having a new baby at the time. I no longer had a coach to program for me - it's no good to program for yourself. But I just figured that I was strong and I could keep lifting. I just wasn't making progress and not really having fun lifting.

I know what it feels like to restart something and try to get back to where you were.

Then I look at the new folks who joined the gym. Some of our most loyal and bought-in members are those who started from scratch with us. Those who never did any serious strength training until they walked in our door. I see the excitement for every skill and every new PR, no matter how small. The progress is fun.

I did feel bad when old friends didn't stick around. I attribute it to the difficulty of restarting and the frustration of knowing where you used to be. So don't stop. Make your health a priority. Don't let yourself back slide. It will be harder to get going again. If you are getting restarted - let go of your ego, you're a beginner again. You already have the skills, you just need the strength to come back. Strength takes time.


row 500 / run 400
crawling lunge
10 KB swings or snatches
double KB overhead lunge
10 TGUs or windmills
10 goblet squats
5 pull-ups or push-ups or dips


squat 5-3-3-3x3


2 pull-ups + 2 dips between strength sets

Group Workout

8 rounds for a sense of urgency
run to the red door and back
20 KB snatches (one down from your 10:00 test weight)

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