I’m on Facebook quite a bit, and I’m friends with hundreds of weightlifters. This means a lot of lifting videos pop up on my home page every day. People post videos of the big lifts they do in competition, or the gym, etc. Many of you are on FB or Instagram, so you probably see plenty of these too, right?
I like watching them, even if they’re not from big national or international athletes. Deep down inside, I’m a weightlifting fan. I probably check out the vast majority of the videos that come up on my feed.
In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with posting videos of accomplishments. Some people think it’s narcissistic or some kind of desperate reach for attention, but I don’t necessarily believe this is true. I like watching them, and I don’t develop a bad vibe towards the people who put them up. It’s actually the opposite. I get enthusiastic and excited for them.
But there’s a point where it crosses the line, don’t you think? Sometimes, the video posting turns into a conceited, awkward mess. In my eyes, this usually happens when the videos are accompanied by some really embarrassing smack talking or self-worship. It comes across as vain and arrogant.
It’s hard to describe exactly when this line gets crossed, but we all know it when we see it. Know what I mean? Every single one of you has a sense for when somebody transforms from excited weightlifter to bigheaded D-bag.
So let me present you with a few philosophies I’ve developed over the last few decades in this game.
First, the lifters who run their mouths the hardest are often the same ones who piss down their legs when the pressure is really on. It’s an easy connection to see, isn’t it? They brag and boast because they’ve got a weakness inside. Sometimes they have enough self-awareness to know they’re internally weak, so they launch these desperate campaigns for attention because… they’re desperate. Other times, they’re too stupid to understand any of that crap. They just blast the world with their smug attitudes because they’re full-blooded thoroughbred idiots.
During the big years of my career at the national level, I definitely noticed the best lifters usually didn’t talk about themselves much. I can remember gabbing with the guys who were on the Olympic and World teams back in those days and asking, “How’s your training been going?” Their answers would always be something like, “Pretty good, I feel strong,” or, “It’s been solid.” No specific numbers, and no big sermons about how much they were going to lift. They didn’t have to convince anybody they were the best. Their performance spoke for itself.
And then you had the posers who ran around the meet all weekend lecturing anybody who would listen about how much ass they were going to kick. You know the end of that story. Fizzle… fizzle… plop.
Hell, we can probably apply this stuff to just about any field you can think of, weightlifting or not.
Keep in mind, my era was before yours. I came up before we used Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to provide the world with a complete chronicle of our snatches, cleans, jerks, squats, deadlifts, breakfasts, lunches, dinners, margaritas, cats, pregnant bellies, tan lines, hobbies, vacations, family dysfunctions, cats, favorite songs, political beliefs, babies, religious beliefs, sexual frustrations, cats, friends, tits, new houses, divorces, desserts, and cats. Social media wasn’t the foundation of our existence, so everything was just a little different. Don’t get me wrong, I love the internet. But it’s definitely provided the biggest loudspeaker in the history of civilization for people who never learned to hold anything back.
When it comes to weightlifting, I prefer the Ninja approach. This is where you don’t give anybody a clear idea of what you’re capable of. You keep it a mystery, sneaking around under the radar… like a Ninja.
Did you know Ninjas actually had a technique where they would lay on the ground curled up in a ball in their black suits, immobile, so they looked like a plain old rock in the dirt? Their enemies would walk right by them totally unaware (thinking they were walking past a rock), and then the Ninjas would jump up and nail them from behind.
As I gained more experience and maturity, the Ninja-lie-like-a-rock technique became my mentality as a competitor. I just lay on the ground like a rock, so you don’t even notice me. I’ll be sociable and friendly, but I stay quiet about how much octane I’ve got in my tank. You just walk right by, running your mouth about what a badass you are. And then when you’ve passed me and your defenses are down, I jump up and BAM!! NOW YOU’RE GONNA GET IT!! RIGHT IN THE BACK OF YOUR FRIGGIN HEAD!!
Plus, I’ll give you a tip. If you’re a serious player, your competitors will already know who you are. They’ll be thinking about you. And trust me, they’ll think about you even more if you don’t say much. Because they don’t know what you’ve got up your sleeve, they’ll be making guesses and trying to predict how you’re going to perform. In other words, they’re thinking more about you than their own game. That’s exactly what you want. Before you know it, they’re rattled. If they’re rattled, you’ll probably beat them.
Does this mean you’re putting yourself at a competitive disadvantage if you post your lifts on the internet? No, it doesn’t. There are some pretty dominant athletes out there who post a lot of their lifts, and it’s not stopping them from being champions. We’re really talking about how to handle your interactions with the weightlifting world without looking like a silly loudmouth.
Keep posting those videos of your big lifts, all my beloved Facebook friends who I’ve never met or even been in the same room with. Be excited about what you’re doing, seriously. When you make progress, get happy about it! I like seeing what you’re doing, and the things I’m saying aren’t intended to discourage any of it. It’s about the overall mentality you should have as a competitor, and the way you present yourself to the rest of the sport through our precious social media galaxy.
If you want to be a blowhard, go right ahead. Just don’t come crying to me when you have a pick a Chinese throwing star out of your butt cheeks one of these days.