“Your hand can seize today, but not tomorrow; and thoughts of your tomorrow are nothing but desire. Don’t waste this breath, if your heart isn’t crazy, since ‘the rest of your life’ won’t last forever.”- Omar Khayyam
I once had a conversation with a judge when I was talking about my lifting as he was watching my lift. He noticed how much time I spend holding onto the bar before a lift. He said that the best lifters he’s ever seen don’t burn time holding the bar. They may stand in front of it, thinking, centering themselves… but they don’t spend any time holding the bar unless the lift is happening. I said perhaps that is because more experienced lifters are the best lifters, and their time on the bar has been honed. It is a product of the amount of time they have put on the bar, and not necessarily a testament to their skill.
I am a retrospective, even nostalgic person. I often think about past times, and even visit past places to bask in what emotions are there to be experienced, or viewed in a new perspective. I find growth to be found there. Some say don’t look to the past, only the future. I think viewing your past allows you to understand where you wish to go. Choices must be made, and it is your past experiences that allow you to make sound choices based on what you think will benefit you, or others. It is your experience from failures that allow you to see the path you wish to partake.
However, relishing in your mistakes can petrify you. What if you don’t succeed? What if you get hurt? What if you’re not ready? This is burning time on the bar. When I approach the bar, sometimes I sit there for a minute and this often times burns a lot of energy. Physically it requires energy to sit on the bar, even if not entirely in a starting position. Just the same, when standing with the bar in your rack, before Jerking… you are burning a tremendous amount of energy, especially at that point. You can often miss a Jerk, or a lift, because you burn this energy. I have and so have many, many others.
There are several types of energy that burn as well. If you’re going for a lift within your 90% range, the easiest thing to point out is how detrimental burning physical energy is. Another type is your mental flow. The time to prepare yourself for a lift is before you touch the barbell, preferably, and mostly, before you step on the platform. There are mental exercises you can perform before you approach the platform to help with your success. Hopefully you have already had a healthy training cycle and successful taper. At this point you have done all you can physically to prepare, so leave those thoughts from your mind. Now, when you arrive, take 30 minutes before you warm-up and visualize your day and lifts. Visualize yourself walking to the platform, approaching each lift, and hitting them. Go through the sounds, the smells, the sights… the pulls. Do this over and over. Assure yourself you are ready, because you are. Right before your lift do what you need to do to keep your concentration focused, and your heart calm. This is sport psychology and developing flow (https://onefootonestep.com/2015/07/30/7-30-15-developing-flow/).
At this point, when you approach the platform you have done all you can do to be ready. Stand over the bar, line up your feet, think your last thoughts for that lift. When you grab that bar is when you are ready to lift. Don’t burn time on the bar. You will over think it, drain yourself, and burn energy. When you grab the bar, it is time to lift. You need to let go of yourself and allow your body to do what it has trained to do.
Just like in my own life, my best moments are when I surrendered myself. Before I approached my decision, I thought about my past and all lessons learned. I then thought about what I want to do, heavily. At some point, I just made the choice, and then followed through. My best decisions are when I conquered fear and made a decisive choice… rather than procrastinate. Procrastination burns your time on what could otherwise be successful. Don’t burn time on the bar. Don’t burn time in your life. When you are there to do the thing, you have already made your choice, whether you know it or not.