Grab your phone. If you already have your phone, open up Instagram.
What do you notice? Well if you’re an avid lifter like myself and the millions of other lifters scrolling through Instagram, your feed is plastered with lifters cleaning 350+ lbs, deadlifting 600+ lbs for reps, and easy muscle-ups for time.
Fit chicks are showing off their bodies from every angle, everyone is shredded, and no one fails on their lifts.
Must be real. Right? I should be able to hit that amount of weight eventually or at least look that “good!”
Realistically, what you see on Instagram is about .0001% of the lifting population. It’s what people want you to see. Success is sexy and attracts others.
No one wants to feel vulnerable and post the “not-so-good” videos/pics because showing that side of you means you are revealing a “weaker” side. A side that shows “failure.”
Why would anyone want to see your “failures?”
It’s also in that exact moment that you watch someone dominate a lift while you remember how your hip still hurts and you can barely squat the bar.
The struggle is REAL.
You remember how you just want to post a new PR, show off to your friends/family, and prove others wrong.
That’s what drives you.
Because what good would it do if no one cared? Would you be as motivated to lift?
Then what if I countered that and told you the only opinion that mattered was your own?
What if I told you that another person’s thoughts about your body image or 3-RM squat PR doesn’t matter?
You’ve heard these statements time and time again yet you still get overly-excited when someone compliments a lift and “pissed” when someone critiques one.
Those reactions are normal… But the feelings you have with them can easily get out of hand.
The way you feel after these moments is what attaches you to that desire of satisfaction based on what others think. Other people are literally controlling your emotions without you even knowing it.
Can you see how comparing yourself to others on social media and relying on external validation creates the need to impress others and showcase your lifts?
How about we add some hypothetical ‘fuel to the fire.’
Imagine having physical pain during these times.
Maybe you have hip pain and you are not able to squat the weight you formerly could while you watch your friends and fellow lifters continue to add weight to the bar.
It’s frustrating…. mentally and physically…. and it wears on you.
But what if there was an ANSWER to all of this. What if all you had to do was literally change your mindset?
Sounds cliche, I know. But it’s true and many ignore that statement because they don’t know how or they don’t care that much and would rather live in their current life of comparison.
But then your mindset fluctuates based on your success and failures compared to others. Why not just control your own mind. Why not just feel good when you PR and simply “move-on” after a missed lift instead of beating yourself up?
The brain only has so much room for attention and focus, so why spend energy comparing yourself to Instagram lifters instead of perfecting your own lifting program or learning about your hip pain?
Stop focusing on what you can’t do and what you can do.
Not only does this create more space in your head for concentration on lifting but also for life and being the best version of yourself that you can be.
At the end of the day numbers don’t mean anything. Whether that’s your deadlift PR, body fat percentage or WOD time.
Sure it’s cool to have friendly competitions and push the ever living sh*t out of your training partners but at the end of the day, the health of your mind and body matter most.
Enjoy the process of lifting without the constant comparison and I guarantee you’ll notice faster times, less pain, stronger lifts, and improved body composition.
How? Because you’ve let go of trying to prove yourself to the world. You’ve created an internal environment where you have proven to yourself that you’re satisfied with who you are no matter what.
That is how you regain motivation. That is how you succeed in training. That is how you succeed in life.
There is a great group called The Athletic Weightlifter which consists of lifters, doctors, competitive athletes, physical therapists, trainers and many more.
This group is all about supporting your training. Whether you just want some advice on form or have been struggling with motivation, this group is for you.
Let’s make a comeback.
Rooting for ya,
Dr. Phil Gauthier
Instagram: @dr.philipgauthier @element26_athletic_gear