I just got back from Hot Yoga. Well, kinda. I got back and made coffee first (coffee before morning Hot Yoga is BarfYoga so I skipped it earlier.) I ate because I had breakfast nearly 5 hours ago and am fookin’ starving. I pet the dogs because they looked pathetic so besides all of that, I just got back from Hot Yoga.

I first started Hot Yoga two years ago in my off season. My commitment to myself was that I would go to 3 classes per week for four weeks and then drop down to 2-60 minute classes per week after that. I learned a lot very quickly. For example, never go into the hot studio 15 minutes prior to a 90 minute class. 105 minutes in 115 degree heat sucks balls. Don’t do that.

Also, rent a yoga mat. The last thing I need to do each day is scrape the mold off of a yoga mat. Let them worry about that stuff. Namaste. Thirdly, place said rented yoga mat near the door. That way, if anyone opens it you get a puff of cool air. You just wouldn’t believe how vital a puff of cool air is when you’re 50 minutes into the suck zone. Lastly, have food waiting for you after. You’ll be starving. If you’re not, you’re weird. I have a protein shake ready to go just to get out to the car to eat some more. OH! Bonus lesson, don’t go to the Starbucks near the Hot Yoga studio afterwards. Yes, it will be tempting, but don’t. They are idiots and will frustrate you to the point that you’ll want to pull them out of the drive-thru window and punch them in the face which will yank you out of the zennish Namaste you just spent an hour in 115 degree heat trying to find. Save the frustration. Wait until you get home to make the coffee.

I learned which instructors I can’t do. Just.Can’t. Usually the ones who don’t shut up. Most strike a nice balance between calm teaching and quiet. There were a few; however; who literally had their mouth moving for an entire 90 minutes. Srsly. Shut. Up. You’re fucking up my Namaste with your constant running of the mouth. Srsly. There were a few who wanted me to “get into” positions better. Nope, hands off. I’m fine. I’m here for specific reasons and really don’t give two shits if I’m Standing Bow Pose as well as I should. I’m good. I don’t put my back into flexion; I don’t crank on my knees. I stretch and sweat. Usually not in that order.

There were a few instructors who became my favorites. Still are. Today was one of them. Pretty hippie-ish but great energy and she walked me through a few hip stretches to help out from tightness due to throwing and training. I haven’t been for a while and I’ve forgotten how helpful it is. Once I’m done with this lifting thing for the year, I’m going to make a point of getting back a couple of times per week. After.

Today I had arrived a bit early. I got my mat and laid it by the door and then came back out into the lobby and grabbed a book to read. I turned to a Buddha quote that said,

Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.

Huh. Today that spoke to me, especially in terms of getting ready for competition. Especially THIS competition. See, I really want to win. Shocking, eh? But this will not be a walk in the park. There is a Hungarian ranked above me with a stated total 20kg ahead of mine. There is a Hungarian ranked just below me with a stated total 15kg behind mine. Now, I believe that my total does not reflect what I can do since both of my meets came after a long season of Highland Games and last spring while I still had the plague. So I believe that I’m within reach of that number one ranked lifter. I know what she’s done so far this year and if I do what I can do, I’m within reach. Which could also be the case for the 3rd ranked lifter and myself. Could be she has much more in the tank and she’s on my radar for sure. All the lifters in my session are. Nothing is a given, especially in this sport.

I’ve tried to do everything I could to prepare and this is what I reflected on after reading some Buddha. I’ve looked at the past and what I need to do differently at this meet. I watch my videos to see what I need to fix for the next rep. See, looking back is okay. I won’t dwell, but I will look back. I’ve tried to train around my hamstring injury from Buffalo and so far so good. I’ve made the final adjustments to my lifts that I believe I can pin down and will leave the rest for later. I’ve had my food and booze as dialed in as it’s going to be (a little sugar bump last weekend had me waking up on Monday with swelled up eyes and fingers and that’s all I need to shut that shit down.) I’ve listened to my body so if I feel tired A.F. when I begin training and things go to shit, I shut it down. I don’t need the frustration and my body obviously needs a break.

And that’s how I roll. I never want to leave anything on the table that I could have done to be better. As I laid down and began to sweat a few minutes before class started, I started running through everything in my mind on what I’ve done and tried to think of things I’m missing when it hit me. I was missing the quiet. The present. I was looking ahead to what I needed to do. Looking back on what I’ve done. But I wasn’t still in the present. I haven’t taken time to appreciate myself for my work all year. Hell, we never even celebrated my World Championship win in Buffalo. Talk went immediately to Germany and what I need to do to get my leg healed up while still hitting the lifts. I’m sad about that as I type it. I didn’t celebrate the very thing that I waited all year for the chance to try to accomplish. Who’s fucked up in that scenario?

I don’t take time to just be still. And more than anything else in the next 8 days, I want to be still. I don’t want to just feel strong and prepared. I want to feel calm. I want to have faith in myself that I’ve done everything I could to try to get this and believe in my abilities when I get there. (When I lifted in Savannah last spring, I picked up the empty bar for warm ups and I had a brief moment where I panicked and thought I had forgotten how to snatch. Which made me laugh and relaxed me for the rest of the competition.)

Oh sure, I’ll still look forward each day. There’s lots to do before wheels up next week and the weekend will be spent on Fields with our Highland Games friends both Saturday and Sunday which is pretty kick ass for me ‘cuz I just have to sit there and look pretty. Or something like that. But I will approach these final training sessions completely different, or at least, that’s my goal. Calm. In the moment. Phone off (I actually put my phone into Airplane mode when I train so I can use it to video) and fully present.

That Buddha. What a smartie.

Let us celebrate the occasion with wine and sweet words.


About tosabarbell

For training opportunities at tosabarbell, call or text Juli at 320-296-9313. e-mail to jep6095@gmail.com At tosabarbell, I build relationships cultivated in a strength and learning environment. There is no 12 week magic pill program to strength but rather a lifetime commitment to be the very best and most useful human you can be. tosabarbell is a private, home grown gym with three lifting platforms; squat rack; prowlers; throwing implements; bars, bumpers and everything else needed for an effective strength and conditioning program. Straightforward barbell programming including the Olympic lifts; sound (read: not fancy bullshit) diet advance for weight gain or loss; and strong coaching will ensure you will meet your goals such as becoming stronger, more explosive, and better conditioned. I have been coaching teams and athletes for over 30 years. I grew up participating in various sports at various levels but was always drawn to those that require strength training. I have multiple local, national, and world records in the sports of Weightlifting and Highland Games Heavy Events as well as a combined total of 5 World Championships. My 5 years of training and coaching under Mark Rippetoe provided a wide range of influence from some of the top strength & conditioning and throwing coaches in the country. I will strongly encourage tosabarbell athletes to compete (and prepare you to do so.) However, tosabarbell is also for those who wish to be stronger and go through life feeling better. Matt WanAt is a retired Professional Strongman who competed frequently with Strongman Champions League in Europe. He played a year of D1 football with Iowa before concentrating on his Chemical Engineering degree in Iowa City. He is a native of Wauwatosa and still remains a staunch supporter of Tosa East. This blog will be a mixture of strength notes, coaching and nutrition tips, personal shit; bacon delicacies, and a whole lot of fun.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s