The 6 things I learned by doing a 12 week weightlifting program

I’ve been on my fitness journey with CrossFit for 8 years now. I saw tons of gains in the beginning, on occasion I’ve trained multiple times a day, on other occasions I’ve struggled to get to the gym more than once a week, I’ve been set back by/rehabbed injury countless times, and I’ve had to rewrite my goals and outlook on fitness countless times. I’m coming from a place I think everyone has been at one time or another.

At the start of all of this, I needed something to feel strong again both mentally and physically. Strength has always been a catalyst for empowerment for me and training towards a goal has been a great way to focused on specific areas. So, I found an Olympic lifting meet and signed-up, it was time to get serious!

The things that became apparent to me during this are probably the same things you would find on a motivational poster somewhere, but talk is cheap and until you feel the changes for yourself they’re just words.

1. Strength can’t be learned

As fantastic as the study of movement and the theory of lifting are, ideas are much different then application. If you want to lift heavy weights, you have to lift heavy weights. That sounds simple enough but if you’re still daunted by the weights on the board of a CrossFit WOD or are finding it challenging to break through PRs on your lifts, I would suggest focusing on building strength. The only way to do that is to actually lift and lift often (see consistency). And WRITE IT DOWN!

2. Technique is extremely important and can/must be learned.

If you’ve ever done a snatch correctly you know the feeling. The ease of the barbell into the pocket, the feeling of weightlessness, the strong connection under the bar. it almost makes weightlifting seem easy…This isn’t an accident, this is good technique.

At the beginning of my 12 week cycle I felt like I was completely new to the sport of weightlifting; unstable and timid, flash forward 12 weeks and hundreds of lifts later, I’m just starting to feel like I know what I’m doing again. The tiny nuances of good lifting require more attention than most are able to give in the middle of a WOD. When your heart rate is at 93% and you’re on the 4th of 5 rounds you aren’t thinking about “weight in the heels”, “keeping your chest up”, “stay tight in the landing”, “knees out”… you’re in survival mode, just get it done. That’s when we try to muscle through bad technique and that’s when we see injuries.

You’ve got to slow it down to learn how to lift well before you lift a lot!!!

Slow is smooth, smooth is fast!!

3. Good days and bad days are equally important.

You will not feel good every day that you workout. These are what I’m deeming as character building days. When you’re worn out and beat down that is when you build resilience and strength. I missed lifts that I had done the day before with ease. The bar alone felt really heavy most days. My hips and knees would feel funky on the other days.

If I only made it to the gym on the days my body felt 100% I would have completed less than 10% of my program.

Learning what my body needed for mobility and recovery are some of the best things I took from these days. When in doubt just show up and have some grace with yourself, you’re doing your best!!

4. The work is yours to do!!!

**(Insert any performance, weight loss, rehabilitation goal here)**

No one is going to do the work for you. The coaching staff at Progression Fitness will provide you with all the tools you need but ultimately your success depends on you. Period.

5. Consistency is everything

(Again, insert any goal!!)

What you continue to do over and over is who you become. One salad doesn’t lower your BMI, one workout doesn’t get you fit, just like 1 hour every other month won’t fix your snatch or clean and jerk.

If you have a goal in mind, you have to commit to attacking it and do the work.

Making It to the gym 2-3 times a week and hoping you hit those strength days you’ve been striving for will not lead to consistency, sometimes you have to take the initiative on your goals. Remember, It could take weeks, months or even years before you see the results you want, but all the work you do is completely worth it.

6. Enjoy the process

Our bodies are amazing. Enjoying the process has always meant taking time to appreciate what my body is capable of. This is a journey and health is always a moving target so having fun in whatever it is you choose to commit to is so important!!

It took 12 focused weeks but I’m now lifting at PRs that I set and didn’t know if I’d be able to hit again! Whatever happens at the upcoming meet is secondary to the work that I put in to get there. I’m proud of the work I’ve done and I’m proud of my body!

I hope that sharing my journey helps at least one person in finding their way toward their own goals!!!

Have a goal but aren’t sure where to start?…talk with a Progression coach. We are happy to walk you through your next steps and design a program for you. 

Happy Lifting

Coach Erin Nelson

Erin has been involved in multiple facets of the CrossFit community since 2009. While at CrossFit 702 in Las Vegas, Erin qualified for and competed in the CrossFit Regionals. As a coach, she loves helping and providing guidance to others to achieve their goals.
Erin was a swimmer and water polo player from a young age in Florida and went on to play at Florida State University. She is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist with 10+ years experience with a focus on sports rehabilitation and has a good understanding of movement and the body.