Back in my high school and college days, I used to preach to my younger brother that confidence was everything. That without having confidence in himself, it would be very hard to be successful. Now, we were mainly talking baseball terms, as both of us were heavily involved in baseball at the time. I remember telling him that when he was in the on-deck circle getting ready to hit, he had to take a systematic approach to prepare himself to step in the box for real. Whatever that was, whether it be watching the pitcher’s release point, timing up his trigger with that release point, or to find something different that worked for him... the key was to repeat the same systematic approach every time he was in the on-deck circle. This was something that I did to raise my confidence before I stepped in. After doing this consistently for years, it became habit for me, which in-turn built my confidence… and that confidence never wavered regardless of how hard or how good the opposing pitcher threw the ball at me. I was prepared with the confidence that I was going to crush the ball.
I have brought that mindset and attitude with me through my life from the experiences I had on the field and in the on-deck circle. Confidence is key, but to really obtain confidence, one has to have a systematic approach that is practiced consistently. Much like the systematic approach I took with baseball, the same applies in the gym. Nothing comes easy in the world, especially in the weight room. The great thing about the weight room and training is that you are going to get out of it what you put in- just like in life. Weight lifting and training are both so relatable to life in almost every aspect, which is why I am so passionate about it.
Back to confidence, if you have 500 lbs on your back as you get ready to squat and you say to yourself, “Holy shit...this is heavy”, chances are that 500 lbs is going to crush you. A huge factor in that would be the fact that you lacked the confidence required to make that lift. This brings us back to the systematic approach I was talking about earlier. Just like in the on-deck circle, you need a mental checklist to make sure you are confident in what you are about to do. The checklist for that lift might be keep your upper back tight, brace the core into the belt, push your hips back and knees out… the list goes on and on, and can vary depending on the training routine or the lift that is attempted. Regardless, this type of mental checklist should be compiled and run-through before every lift that you attempt in order to ensure confidence and consistency with your lifts. Pretty soon that 500 lbs is not going to feel so heavy and you will have the confidence to complete the lift.
Another way to gain confidence in life and in the weight room is to have a plan. More so than just the mental checklist for individual lifts and exercises, you should have a well-developed plan for your entire training session. Do not guess or fly by the seat of your ass when determining what you are going to train day to day. Remember... people who “workout” do not have a plan, people who “train” do. So with that said… set a plan. Whatever that plan is to make you stronger, do it 100 percent every single time. Remember, that the best training program in the world will not produce results if the effort is not there. So pick a plan and stick to it. I bet after the couple months of following that plan, good things will happen. Put the work in, give it 100 percent, go through a mental checklist before each lift, and have the confidence that everything is working the way it should... and I guarantee that good things will happen.