Hard Won Wisdom: Decades in the Arena
Niki Sims and Gillian Ward discuss the failure & successes we’ll face on our strength journeys. From the psychological to the physical, from the philosophical to the practical of training, this series applies to any attempt to improve ourselves.
Ep 1: Winning & Losing on Your Terms
How do we define success? How do we evaluate if we’ve succeeded, regardless of our level of experience or talent–novice or advanced, amateur or elite? Niki and Gillian explore this important question and related topics.
Gillian discusses how she felt more pride when she lost certain events but less pride when she won but knew she left something on the table.
She also explores learning what you’re good at and enjoy and balancing your pursuits with the other important things in your lifes, such as your relationships, which can often suffer in the pursuit of excellence.
Gillian discusses the many arenas in which she’s competed and pushed herself, including attempting to set pull up and push up world records on the same day (about 20 minutes apart, actually).
This topic applies to any pursuit, any experience or talent level, and anyone.
Ep 2: Fear & Failure; Success & Excitement
Failure arrives unexpectedly on the longer road to greatness and self-improvement. Any meaningful pursuit will come with low points and mistakes. Niki & Gillian discuss approaching and dealing with failure, injuries, low points, and mistakes.
We need to enjoy our pursuits–even if we don’t enjoy every minute of them. If PRs are the only thing keeping us in the gym, we’ll reach a point when we’re not hitting PRs. During these times, we need to enjoy what we’re doing, maintain the habit, and learn from the difficulties. Also, be thankful that you can lift in the first place.
Similarly, goals can sometimes get in the way–enjoy the process, do the work, improve your form, and learn. Goals too often come from other people or from our prior selves.
They discuss keeping a training log and some of the helpful things you can record in your log.
Have people you look up to and emulate the things you respect in them–not their achievements, but the habits that brought their achievements.
They discuss distancing yourself from your performance–from your PRs, from being wrapping your identity up too much in something that might not last or that you do. When it comes to your social media presence, think about representing your account. Don’t be embarrassed if you’re injured and lifting less than you used to–your showing a part of training that too often isn’t shown by fitness figures.
Ep 3: Your Sense Senseis
The gym, powerlifting meets, locker rooms: these all have specific sensory mosaics specific to themselves. Niki & Gillian talk about all the many senses you experience in the different strength settings–the sights, scents, tastes, noises, and textures). They then delve into how these can affect your performance and how we often get comfortable with our typical environment, so we should both control what we can (bring plates, sleeves, chalk, etc.) but also potentially prepare for other environments if we must (we’re preparing for a meet).
Many things can change our settings and how we interact with them: sickness, music, travel, temperature, mood, time of day, food we’ve recently consumed.
They also share lots of funny and ridiculous stories.
Ep 4: Staying Grounded Through It All
Bringing it all together, how do we stay grounded with body image; gaining & losing weight; fueling training; staying excited for months, years, and decades of training. Niki & Gillian share their thoughts.
We need to develop and maintain realistic expectations and remain grateful for what we have and can do. We need to define success for ourselves and not base it off others. We have to ignore the noise and remember why we’re doing what we’re doing. Sometimes, we need to really think about what motivates us and keeps us going..
They discuss social media and finding clothes that fit muscular bodies, routines & rituals, newness & excitement wearing thin, pre-workout meals, and much, much more.