Failure, Metrics and Great Coaching

“Other than death, all failure is psychological.  You will lose some battles, but as long as you don’t quit, then you haven’t failed.  You’ve made a temporary, tactical retreat, so that you can regroup, re-attack.” 

-Jocko Willink

When we start any type of program, we must first establish a starting point.

Here at Vernal Fitness & Nutrition, we can do this a few different ways.

When we have an initial consultation with a client, we give the option to get a body scan.  This scan will measure your weight, lean body mass, fat mass as well as a few other metrics.  We can then use this as a measuring tool by re-scanning a few months down the road to see if what we are doing is getting that client closer to reaching their goals.

Another way to measure progress is by maxing out on a lift.  Now, we aren’t going to start you on a program and first thing have you lift a ton of weight.  We have a strategically designed path for each and every client, based on their goals, so that we can start safely and always be progressing forward.

Once we feel comfortable with your technique and skill level, we start incorporating “maxing out”. This is where we safely increase weight on a certain lift and continue to increase until you can no longer perform the movement at full range of motion.  This is where we hit failure, and this is a good thing!  We now have a measurable metric. (It is important to note that we do not max out on our lifts more than once a year per movement)  We can also use these numbers to determine percentages to lift at during our ‘building’ phase.

Story Time

About a year ago, we were working on finding a one rep max on a Front Squat.  This movement requires mobility in the ankles and wrists.  One of our awesome members, Chad, has struggled with this movement due to mobility issues in his wrists.  This often led to frustration and sometimes setting limitations, telling himself that because of that immobility, he couldn’t do that movement.

As we’re lifting and starting to get into the heavier weights, I can see his determination kick in, but his frustration is pushing back.  I head over and have a simple, yet inspiring conversation with him, that went something along the lines of this:

Coach:   “Chad! Have you found your one rep max?”

Chad:     “No…”

Coach:   “Did you go until failure?”

Chad:     “No…”

Coach:   “Why?”

Chad:     “I don’t like failing.”

Coach:   “I want you to break that mentality!!”

A good coach will give you knowledge and guide you.

A great coach will make you see what you can be, not what you are.

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