Focus on Yourself
Greg Everett

I vividly remember years ago when my wife Aimee was still competing watching her run home from the gym and get online to see if Natalie Woolfolk or Carrissa Gump had posted any new training videos. She would obsess over what these other girls were doing in training and get discouraged if they were outlifting her. I begged her to quit looking at their videos or anything they said - I reminder her that there was exactly one person whose training she could control, and it wasn't either of those girls'.

Now that Aimee is coaching, she has to tell her lifters the same thing and gets what I was trying to say back then. You can't do anything about what your competition is doing in the gym or even on the platform (short of dick moves like messing with their clocks, etc. - personally I think you should win by outlifting your opponents, not with tricks, but I suppose I'm just old-fashioned), so there's no need to know what they're doing.

People will claim it's motivating, but I have yet to see that actually be true - all I've ever seen is frustration and discouragement and a reduction in focus and hunger. If you can truly use it as fuel for motivation, then knock yourself out. But be sure about that.

You have to prepare yourself as well as possible, physically and mentally, for competition, and this means doing every single thing you can in and out of the gym to improve.

Your goal is to lift as much weight as you possibly can in competition - this has nothing to do with what your competition is lifting. Granted, there are examples of lifters pulling out incredible lifts in clinch sitiuations to beat an opponent, but this is done in competition - not in the months and years leading up to it. You have to prepare yourself as well as possible, physically and mentally, for competition, and this means doing every single thing you can in and out of the gym to improve. If you're wasting time and energy watching other lifters train, you're already not doing as well as you could. If you're getting discouraged because you see other lifters beating you or catching up to you, you've just set yourself back significantly.

You have the power to affect the training and mindset of one person: you. Keep that your focus.

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Greg Everett is the owner of Catalyst Athletics, coach of the USA Weightlifting National Champion team Catalyst Athletics, author of the books Olympic Weightlifting: A Complete Guide for Athletes & Coaches and Olympic Weightlifting for Sports, director/writer/producer/editor/everything of the documentary American Weightlifting, co-host of the Weightlifting Life Podcast, and publisher of The Performance Menu journal. He is an Olympic Trials coach, coach of over 30 senior national level or higher lifters, including national medalists, national champion and national record holder; as an athlete, he is a fifth-place finisher at the USAW National Championships, masters national champion, masters American Open champion, and masters American record holder in the clean & jerk. Follow him on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, and sign up for his free newsletter here.

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