I had an epiphany. Well, okay, so it's nothing ground breaking, really, it's just I came to a realization, and now feel like I know what direction to take with my training.
I decided at that point to just take a break from heavy lifting and focus more on bodybuilding and hypertrophy. I had someone write me up a leg program to follow, since that's what I wanted to focus on, and that's what I've been doing for the past 3 or so months. I've been mostly doing a push and pull day for upper body and a quad and hamstring day for lower body, with reps in the 10-15 range.
Like I said in a previous post, I did enjoy the challenge, and it was fun to try something different...but what I learned during these last few months is that for me, physical results come secondary to enjoying my workouts and having fun.
I realized(which, really, I knew all along)that I would much rather do things that make me FEEL amazing than make me LOOK a certain way. I would much rather do things that make me feel strong and fast and powerful and athletic. I realized that I do NOT enjoy bodybuilding workouts. I do not enjoy just doing high reps. I do not enjoy going to the gym and training with the sole purpose of changing my physique.
Deep down, I knew all this, but I let self-doubt play tricks on me and mess with my head and make me think I was doing things all "wrong"...when really, I was doing exactly was was "right" for me all along.
So Monday I decided to just play around and have fun at the gym, and y'all-I really did have sooo much fun! It's crazy what just a simple change in mindset can do. I didn't go in to set a PR or try to break down my muscle so that it will grow-I just did movement than made me feel good. It proved to me that this what I need to be doing. I love feeling like an athlete. I love doing heavier weight and lower reps.I love doing supersets and finishers and Olympic lifts and sled pushes.
From here on out, I'm no longer going to worry about the "perfect" set and rep scheme or what's best for building muscle. I'm going to stay true to myself. I'm going back to doing what I enjoy!
For me, it's not about adhering to one specific training protocol, whether it's bodybuilding or CrossFit or powerlifitng, or whatever. I don't fit into any of those categories, and I don't believe you have to train one certain way to get results. You don't have to put yourself into a box. Branch out. Be different. Ignore how everyone says you're "supposed" to train or what's best. There is only one thing that is "best", and that's doing what makes YOU feel amazing.
Now, yes, if you have goals, you should be following a plan and focusing on progressive overload over time, especially if your goal is building muscle and getting stronger. You don't wanna just go in and "wing it" every workout. Have a training plan and stick to it. But it's okay to alternate periods of having a plan with just going in and having fun sometimes! Over the long run you should be getting stronger and challenging yourself with harder workouts, but my main point is- don't do something you don't enjoy just to get a certain look!
So my next phase will be going back to what I love. My powerlifting coach gave me a program to get stronger on the main lifts, but I love that it is also a well rounded plan with some bodybuilding stuff and conditioning worked in as well. The only thing I will add back in at some point is some explosive lifts and jumps.
It feels awesome to get back to doing ME!!