Nerds Lifting Heavy Things: Pre-Lift Rituals

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John: I’m kind of a meat-head. I love to lift. I’m somewhere between a powerlifter and a bodybuilder. Not great at either, but not bad. A power-builder? Anyway, I have a pre-lift ritual. I put my Bluetooth headphones in. I crank whatever it is for the day. Today it was my old go to, AC/DC. I loosen up. I tighten key muscle groups that will need to be used in the set I’m about to do. I hit the bench or station, growl, and hit it. I get loud. Not obnoxiously, but yes, I do what I have to. Some people hate this, as evidenced by those Planet Fitness commercials. I hate that establishment, by the way. To each their own, but I get annoyed when other newbies also don’t understand gym etiquette. They stare, sit on a station for 5 minutes staring off into space, preen, or give unwanted advice about stuff they’ve heard about. Anyway, it’s what I do to get into my zone. I try to be somewhat reserved, but it’s still a gym. It’s how I get myself motivated to push myself. Alek, you seem more reserved when you hit your set. What do you think?


I’m kind of a meat-head. I love to lift.


Alek: I don’t know if I’m reserved…unfortunately, I think I’m just distracted. Thoughts about work, about my career overall, about my impending nuptials….there’s always something “else” to think about. It’s a horrible habit that I have, and one that I should really try to break since it’s holding me back.

In a perverse way, I miss being angry. As distracted as I am about what’s happening in my life, there’s really nothing that makes me angry. Sure the crap at work is annoying and irritating, but it doesn’t really hit the heights of anger that I had 5-7 years ago. It was so much easier to focus before…easier to channel that rage into something productive…like lifting a heavy object off of my chest.

As lame as it sounds, I need to be more “present” when I lift. In the moment, in the set, in the rep…that should be the only thing that matters..

…or I just need someone to piss me off before my set.

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