Stop and Smell the Chalk
Mike Gray

Those of you who are reading this are probably now or have been in your life pretty passionate about Olympic lifting. I want you to stop and think about this chapter in your life; for some it will be quick and for others it might very well be a lifetime.

We have all at one time hated and or loved it for myriad reasons. Those days when you feel like absolute crap and getting out of bed is a freaking chore, driving to the gym and you hit every bit of traffic in the city and warming up feels like you are dumping concrete out of your joints just to try and wedge yourself under a bar that weighs too much and every rep feels like your spine is going to snap in half. However, you make it through that day and you know down deep you are the better person for it.

This sport is rough, there is no doubt about it. That bar hates you and all of its blue and red friends want to jump on you and beat you down to the platform and keep you down. Sometimes they will, and sometimes you get the win.

What I am getting at here is enjoy it. Enjoy it all: the good and the bad, and you will have plenty of both, I promise you that. The other day I was setting up a bar on some blocks getting ready for a PR snatch from below the knees (yeah I track all that), and as I was adjusting the bar to find that special spot on the blocks with some Tool pumping in the background with my super serious face on, it just rolled off. Yes, just rolled right off the block and I just started laughing. Brad, my training partner, lost it too. It was funny because I have never in my life done that before and here I was trying to get psyched up for a big lift and I can’t even keep the bar on the blocks.

I am sure there are many people reading this who get way too wrapped up in the day to day attack of the weights, nutrition, watching videos, reading forums & blogs, foam rolling, contrast baths, and just being wound a bit tightly around the axle with the whole thing. Trust me, I get that too: I am the guy who cuts out all beer 12 weeks out from a meet, and let me tell you, I like beer.

I love this sport. I love that sound of bumpers sliding onto the collar of a bar. I love the sound of the announcer calling my name and telling me I have 2 minutes on the clock. I love the way my legs get that nervous feeling before my first attempt, you know that wiggly feeling like you either have nothing in them or you have much more than you thought. However, we tend to just remember the PRs and the meets, not the things that got us there. Those days when you are sitting in the garage with a friend for 6 hours and you just wont stop lifting because you just want to lift. Or the time you couldn’t hit a weight after 12 attempts, so you went and took a nap out back and came back in and nailed it.

Do me a favor, and I am going to start doing it as well: In your log, write down something cool that happened that day while you were training. It can be anything related to that day, and it doesn’t have to be about you. It will just give you something to remember about that day years later when you dig through those old logs.

9.28.12 Decent lifting today. Watched Aaron Slezia hit a PR clean with his wife watching even though I think both of her eyes were closed in fear. Brad writes DO NOT BREAK THE CHALK on the chalk box because he is sick of dealing with dust.

Just something small like that so in 5 years from now when you are writing about your time O-lifting you can go back and remember those great days.

Please log in to post a comment

Matt Foreman
October 8 2012
"I love the way my legs get that nervous feeling before my first attempt, you know that wiggly feeling like you either have nothing in them or you have much more than you thought"

For a long time, I noticed this feeling at meets and I thought it meant my legs were weak. It freaked me out because I couldn't understand how my legs could be weak after all the squats in training. But it was just nerves, and the leg strength was always fine. Adrenaline does some crazy things.
Andrew Fraser
October 8 2012
This is just the pure love of a sport and catches the essence of just continually turning up.....

If you are ever in Australia.... you are most welcome to beaches of the Far North Coast of New South Wales.....

Great article
October 9 2012
Mike, great article! Your enthusiasm for all aspects of the sport is awesome and contagious. I remember watching a video of me PRing my snatch and you jumping around and yelling in the background, almost more excited than I was.