This theme of "redefining" has presented itself on numerous occasions this week, so I thought that I would take that as a sign that others of you out there could somehow use this post. So here we go.

I think that most of you would agree that we as humans often assume that once something has a definition, that definition can not be altered. Correct? 

In some cases I would agree with that. But in the case of how we process information, events, or situations I think that being able to redefine what these things mean is an incredibly valuable tool. Let me give you an example....

And, of course, like most of my examples - this one will be workout-centric:

I have recently been in a "rebuilding" and "relearning" phase with my workouts lately. Why? Over years and years of training and weightlifting, I have taught myself to move in ways that allow for large loads to be moved quickly....BUT....the way I've been moving has stressed specific areas in my back due to poor mechanics.

Now, these issues that are just now making themselves known have been due to countless repetitions while hyper-extending my back. And, just to be clear, this is not an issue of sloppy lifting, but rather the opposite. I was working so hard to maintain a tight lower back that I overshot it and ended up overusing it and pissing it off.

Now - and this is where we get back to today's lesson - I am having to step away from the loads that I used to attack with zero hesitation and refocus on moving lighter loads with more dialed-in mechanics and better positions.

As you can imagine, forcing yourself to lift less than you're accustomed to can be super frustrating. I kept finding myself pissed off and unmotivated to do anything just because I felt unable to lift like usual.

In order to move past this road-block, I had to sit down with myself and redefine what "heavy" was for me. I told myself that training heavy just to say that I can do a 415 back squat is really not what I'm in this shit for. I do this so that I am strong and healthy and able to take on any new challenges that pop up.

Needless to say, if my back is so f*cked up that I can't stand up, I am missing my target....BIG TIME!

By redefining "heavy", I was able to accept the situation and look at it as a positive challenge to take on. Getting to the point where I can move 415 again will be a major accomplishment - especially when I can do it without sacrificing solid positions and mechanics!


Now, with this new goal and challenge, I've found my groove again and am fired up to build an even stronger version of myself. It's going to be a fun project for me, and one that I think will offer many important lessons that I will undoubtedly share with y'all. (Get excited!)

Does all of that make sense? I hope so, because I feel like it's human nature to beat ourselves down based on what we "usedacould", rather than accepting the fact that life is not a linear progression. There will be ups and downs, but if our average outcome is in an upward, positive direction......we win!

This is all to say that if you're able to use the practice of redefinition in a positive manner, you will be setting yourself up for a lot less stress and much more success.

Give it shot the next time you're faced with a difficult situation. Ask yourself how you could redefine the meaning of (blank) to better deal with the obstacle and ultimately navigate it successfully.

I hope that you find this useful. 

Erin Miller: Sedentary to Athlete!

A recent post from TCS/LIFT Coach, Jen Shaw, has to be shared. As you will read, this is a story about one of Jen's LIFT athletes that has made an incredible transformation - both physically and mentally. Enjoy!

Erin Miller is fun to coach. She's one of those clients that when you see her on the roster, its going to be a great class. She is in a great mood even when she trips and falls over the rack. Loves herself enough to laugh at herself while doing it, and then shrugs it off and lifts heavy shit. She is definitely the girl I want to see in the morning! Recently she shared her background story with me, and I knew it had to be public. Here is her story from sedentary person to athlete: 

Around 2008 I gained about 75 lbs in a year and a half due to sedentary lifestyle and an undiagnosed thyroid issue. Once my disease was diagnosed and I started to feel better, I knew it was time to become healthy again. I started Weight Watchers and began jogging. I lost some weight and joined a gym and started using the weight machines. I was upset with my progress, though, I just didn't seem to be getting stronger, and had plateaued, no longer seeing results.

I joined Crossfit, which led to me to LIFT. Both were life changing. In total, I've dropped from a size 16-18 to a size 8. Once I started lifting, my weight actually steadied and though I lost 13% body fat and around 14 inches, I only lost 7 lbs because of all the muscle I gained.

Now I don't even look at the scale. My health and well being are based on how my body feels. If I'm not feeling well, it's usually because I haven't been eating clean or have missed workouts. Food is no longer an enemy. I enjoy eating, and I eat things that don't make me feel like crap (mostly). It's weird looking back at seeing how far I've come because it was a steady process with a lot of hard work. Now I'm ready to keep lifting more and reach new goals.

Miller's Stats since starting LIFT: 

  • Backsquat from 155# to 205#
  • Deadlift from 225# to 255#
  • Trapbar deadlift from 265# to 280# (just in the last month and a half)
  • Shoulder press from 85# to 100#
  • Floor press from 95# to 115#