Trust and Respect the Process…Fitness is a Journey

LeighChmilarPatiencePersistencePracticeFitness is all about trusting the process that you are going through (or the journey), and not rushing things. When we start to get impatient and want more results quicker, we end up falling on our faces (in more ways than 1)… Often we think if something is a good thing – then more of it must be better. That’s true sometimes, and to some extents. However, when we rush a process that is properly thought out and planned for specific purposes (like training for something), then usually we either get injured, overtrain to exhaustion, or let ourselves down because we aren’t where we “think we should be”.

My training program is like that – I’m learning a brand new skill, Olympic Lifting, and it takes time. It is all about technique, and mastering a technique requires repeating the movements over and over again until your central nervous system does it automatically. When you watch professional lifters, you see how everything happens in a split second, and that requires years of training. I’m learning that the lifts are too quick to be able to think them through. Or even think them…the movement is so quick you have to just do them. 

So far, the first month of my training has been pretty crazy. It’s a mixture of everything that I need to know, and we still haven’t covered it all. It’s about building foundations (in strength and stability) and learning techniques that will prepare me for the high intensity lifts and workouts that will come. This is to ensure I can lift heavier and more explosively without injuring myself. We’ll call it Phase 1: Technique, Stability and Strength Building. So far my workouts have included classic power lifts like:

LeighChmilarOverheadSquat– Deadlift (regular and snatch grip)

– Back Squats

– Front Squats

– Frankenstein Squats

– Overhead Squats



We are also building stability in specific muscles (shoulder and glute stabilization) to prepare for gymnastics exercises such as:

– Kipping pull-ups

– Muscle-Ups

So what I’m learning (and I LOVE it), is that all of these pieces are going to come together soon in the workouts. I love building these blocks and working on all the little, individual components because I know that each one has a purpose. Each movement has multiple, specific components to learn, that all come together in seconds (or less) to form the whole part.

For example, the most technical movements I’m learning at this point is the clean and the snatch. There are some little pieces that I practice regularly with just the barbell (35lbs) to get better at the small pieces of the movement. Then we start to add weight to practice more. The video below shows a High Hang Clean (meaning I am doing the clean from the High Hang position – or standing straight up). We did 6 sets of 3 lifts, each increasing weight, up to 95lbs. The focus in this one for me was to really pull the bar by shrugging the shoulders, really extending my back and getting full hip extension and then quickly dropping under the bar to “catch” it in a front squat position. What I really need to work on is getting under the bar faster and bringing my elbows around high so that I don’t drop the bar, or jam my wrists (which is what actually happened….).

And due to me not getting under the bar fast enough, this bruise showed up about 5-8 hours later…

Bruise From Cleans

The cool thing about this journey for me is slowing everything down and forcing myself to trust in a process I’m not used to. Learning new skills and techniques is something I haven’t done since I started playing sports. I also have to trust and listen when I’m told to rest, because of how demanding powerlifting is on the central nervous system. Rest is tough for me, mainly because I love playing basketball and refuse to give it up, and I teach 5 fitness classes per week. I have to be very careful and ensure I’m sleeping enough and eating properly.

The past month my weekly workout schedule has essentially looked like this:

  • Monday: Strength session (morning or early pm), then HIIT class (metabolic).
  • Tuesday: Teach Get RIPPED! (metabolic/endurance weights)
  • Wednesday: Spin Class or Rowing (if no Basketball game that night)
  • Thursday: Training Session usually involving heavy strength or technique/skill work
  • Friday: Yoga 🙂 & Women’s Basketball Game
  • Saturday: Teach 2 RIPPED! Classes and HIIT (3 hrs of metabolic work)
  • Sunday: REST

So stay tuned to how this will progress and change, because as I learn more and get closer to March, things are gonna get a lot different 😉





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