My Ego vs Me

There’s an inside joke I have with a year 10 boy I teach.

He think’s I’m an egomaniac- raving mad, borderline sociopathic and in love with my own voice.

I wouldn’t say I’m an egomaniac.  Do I think I’m awesome?  Sure, who doesn’t.  And do I think my voice is more huskily manly than Clint Eastwood, yet more pleasant to listen to than Morgan Freeman?  I don’t think anybody could deny that.  And do I plot world domination on a daily basis?  Sure, but then again, so does every child who grew up with ‘Pinky and the Brain’ cartoons.  Right?

Maybe I do have a big little bit of an ego problem.

Today, my ego problem got me into trouble in the gym and, subsequently, I’ve concluded that, more so my physical limitations, it’s my ego that is hindering my progress.

No personal bests were shattered,  or even attempted.  I struggled to achieve the all important mind-muscle connection for the entire workout.  My total volume and reps dropped significantly from my last chest workout.  In the end I walked out without completing my finisher- 100 pushups- because I was over it.

Off the top of my head, I could think of any number of excuses I could delude myself with.  I’ve lost my BCAA’s, my sleep routine has been inconsistent due to school holidays, I became distracted during my warmup and was never able to get ‘in the zone’, fluctuating T-levels, or I was simply frustrated by not being able to beat the Penny Hardaway/Shaquille O’Neil Magic team with the Patrick Ewig led Knicks in NBA 2K12 despite three attempts.

At the end of the day though, if I’m being honest with myself, I know it was my ego that ruined my workout.

I was prioritising the amount of weight lifted at the expense of logic.  For example, three weeks ago I was using 30kg for the DB incline bench press.  Without fault, I banged out 4×8- easy.  The next workout, I jacked the weight up to 35kg then struggled to comprehend why I couldn’t move the weight with the same ferocity.

I know, logically, I should have slowly increased the weight- maybe 3 sets of 30’s with 1 set of 32.5’s- until I’d laid the necessary foundations.  Unfortunately, my ego got in the way and I became more concerned with the notion of being able to write down big numbers in my workout log, even if it meant cheating on reps and lying to myself about my realistic strength.

We’ve all been there and done that, and it’s amazing how easy it is to delude ourselves into believing false accomplishments.  Think about it, how many times have you seen a guy pumped after hitting a new bench press personal best only to realise his spotter is rubbing his sore biceps from doing most of the work?  Or someone boast their squatting weight, only to watch as they un-rack the weight, drop down by 5cm, then re-rack the weight screaming their awesomness?

Next workout, I know what I need to do.  Drop the weight down, focus on hitting the top end of my assigned rep range, and SLOWLY and GRADUALLY increase the weights in a logically coherent manner.

Even if that means setting aside my ego and plans for world domination- at least temporarily.

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