Isn’t that what they say? I’m changing some habits in the gym. Some I’m changing by choice. Some are evolving of their own volition. We’ll see how they go.

The first habit that needs to change is the 200 Air Squats every Christmas season. I’ve done this one every year for three years. Each year I get a bit faster, but next year, I’m starting a new tradition and picking a different WOD.

200 air squats leaves me borderline debilitated for DAYS afterward. For 3 days after completing that workout, I don’t trust my own legs to carry me down stairs one step at a time. I need to two foot every step. It’s completely counterproductive because I don’t work out for a complete week after doing this one. During the holiday season when my eating habits are at their most lax, this is definitely counter productive. As I said on Facebook today, today was “time to pay the piper, and the butcher and the baker…especially the baker.” Next year I’m looking for a new body weight benchmark for the holidays.

One thing I’m changing in the gym is I no longer step up to the rack or the barbell immediately after some one directly beside or in front of me misses their lift. It sounds purely superstitious I realize, but hear me out. I don’t think it’s completely irrational.

I try as hard as any body to be positive when I step up to a bar for a heavy lift. But the reality is there are thoughts creeping around in my brain that don’t necessarily inspire confidence.

“That’s a lot of weight.”

“I’ve never lifted this much before.”

“That last rep was heavy.”

I can minimize those thoughts. I haven’t yet been able to eliminate them. With those things niggling around in my brain, I don’t want the last image in my mind to be neighbor failing. That’s completely counterproductive.

So what do I do? I go for a walk. If a neighbor misses an attempt before I take my turn, I head to the water fountain, maybe the chalk bucket too. Maybe I just go and stare out the front window, stop and retie my shoe laces, whatever. Just anything to take a moment and let that image of that miss ebb away and reset the mental image of me hitting my next attempt and bring that to the forefront of my brain.

Does it help? I believe it did today. I matched my all time high on the back squat at 305#! I haven’t seen that number in a LONG time.

The other conscious change I’m trying to make is no more shaking my head no in the gym. Often when things don’t go my way during a lift or a WOD, I shake my head no. The funny part is that it’s a ‘destructive’ manifestation of what I feel are actually constructive thoughts. When I miss a lift, most of the time the thought running through my head is something along the lines of “don’t accept that failure. Reject the frustration. Do it again.” Still it manifests itself physically as an action with a negative connotation.

So I’ve made the choice now, no matter what happens to nod up and down. “Yes, that just happened. Accept it and move on. Figure out what went wrong and fix it!”

It may seem a trivial thing, but I’ve read a bit about positive self-talk and I’ve tried to embrace it. Now I’m trying to take the next step to take that positive inner dialogue outward and reinforce it physically.

I think it helped this morning when I split my shin open missing a 30″ box jump during the METCON. As soon as my shin slammed the box, I nodded and said to myself, “Yup, that just happened. You’re cut, but you’re still on your feet. You’re all right.”

I was bleeding, but it wasn’t severe at all. I was able to set my feet, take three fast breaths and get the very next jump.

It will be interesting to see if these particular quirks can become habits and if they’ll have a long term impact.

What about you folks? Anyone else have particular pre-lift habits or routines they follow?

Just for the sake of record keeping the METCON was 10-8-6-4-2, Hang Power Cleans at 75% and 30″ box jumps. I scaled the cleans to 65% at 135. Final time was 7:21. For what that’s worth, I had finished the last jump, sat down on the floor with my back to the clock and was examining my bleeding shin before it actually occurred to me to check the clock.