I love deadlifts. Love them. I get excited when I do them - there's a smile on my face. I drop the weight and celebrate. And I usually high-five my trainer when I lift more than the previous week. Last week, I did them by myself for the first time. There was no one to talk health and fitness with. It was silent. And silence puts my brain in top gear. In between set 5 and 6, this was one of my thoughts:
"I keep adding weight. This is like my life."
You're right, I process strange thoughts when I'm catching my breath and waiting for my heart rate to drop, but hear me out. It won't sound so strange in a couple minutes. Anything can resemble life - from an umbrella, to strawberries, and even your favorite sweatshirt. So deadlifts isn't too far off.
Here are ten life mantras inspired by doing deadlifts:
1. You have to have perfect form to execute correctly
You'll hurt yourself if you don't lift correctly. This means to execute what ever you're looking to do in life, you need to have perfect form. Don't hurt yourself.
2. Your feet have to be firmly planted on the ground
Having a personal mission, values, and underlying principles, to me, means they have both feet firmly planted on the ground. They're stable, confident, and they know everything could fall apart if they lose their balance.
3. You have to start somewhere
Anyone who has ever been successful has started somewhere. With weightlifting, and life, you need to start somewhere, too. Once you get your rhythm down, and progress to heavier weight, you'll dominate.
4. Every muscle has to work together to accomplish a common goal
Your back, hips, calves, spine, all come together to perform a deadlift. Similarly, you'll find yourself on teams throughout life - whether it's at work, on a sports team, or married to your spouse, you all have to come together to accomplish a common goal. Always rely on your teammates because two heads are almost always better than one.
5. When you add weight, it becomes more challenging
Before each set, I added ten pounds. It became increasingly challenging. This is similar to adding more commitments. It harder to perform at your peak with so much weight. Look at your life and see if there's some heavy weight you can take off your own barbell. I said no to a commitment last week and it felt awesome.
6. Lifting heavy weight is only a mind-game
When you get up into heavier weights, it's all a mind game. If you think you can't handle it, you won't. But, if you go into the set knowing you can do it, you'll crush it. Get in the zone and focus on the task at hand.
7. There's always another set to do
It's never over at one set. You have to lift the weight multiple times. Life is never over (except when you're dead, I guess). It's always going to be a challenge. You'll always have to lift more weight, over and over again.
8. Everyone has a one-rep max
You get to a point where you can't lift anymore weight. It's your maximum, or burnout. Find your one-rep max and don't add any more weight before you know you the time and resources to handle it.
9. There are different ways to approach the same weight
Not everything has to be solved the same way. In deadlifts, there's 3+ ways to lift the same weight. If it's not working for you one way, try reverse grip, or sumo deadlifts. They may get you to the same point in life, but have a different affect on you - because you went a different way. When you're faced with a tough decision, remember there's more than one way to get there, but it may have it's own set of consequences.
10. When you do heavy lifts, there's someone there to support you.
When you get up into the heavy weights, the tough stress, the increased responsibility, remember that there's someone there to support you - your spotter - whether that be your coach, trainer, spouse, or best friend, they're there to keep you safe and help out when you need it.
See? I'm not that crazy.
Have you used any activities as a metaphor for life? Let me know in the comments below.