Facing The Fear - 98 Gym
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Kev Toonen

Facing The Fear

After a long week in the gym we finished up the working week with our advance strength session (ADV STR). After warming up and hitting some single reps (working our way to a 1RM) on a strict press the next and final part of the session was 5 x 1 Back squat, my only instruction was to go heavy and don’t be afraid to fail. I would rather you miss one or two and have to bail out of the lift then hit them all, and know you could have done more, thus missing the idea of it all.


Why fail?


Fear can do a few things to us when we train, it can focus us, bring out your inner “fuck you” or it can bring out the excuses. There are lots of “insta” quotes thrown around these days…”face your fear”, “conquer your fear” , “face your fear”, “train like a savage”…the list could go on and on but I’d end up throwing up on my computer if I kept typing this stuff and they are just words. You don’t conquer anything by doing it just once, or posing a pic. You need to continually put yourself in situations that force your hand and scare you a bit, week in and week out.


After finishing up our Friday night session and after some PR’s from a few of the crew the talk turned to fear under the bar. Most of the time knowledge dispels fear, what does that mean?  It means knowing without a doubt you will hit the weight, having your technique down, placing all you focus and inner dialogue into completing the lift. It also means failing and getting back up, assessing the lift/situation dusting yourself off and going again. I’m not saying to be unrealistic about weight or the challenge, but what I do see is self limiting physical plateau’s or coming to a conclusion based on incorrect beliefs.  What was great about Friday night was seeing one of our members (female), squat double body weight and show case what overcoming fear can do.


Its not just the barbell.


Saturday sessions are the same for overcoming fear.  We do them as coaches the day before and I can tell you that I look forward to the end of everyone of those FYF sessions. They hurt, they expose your weakness, you need to look for work or else you look for a place to hide, and after each one I do a little self-assessment. Be critical on how you performed. There will always be a reason for a bad session but look past the excuses and be brutally honest with yourself.  Sometimes you win, this is great, pat yourself on the back. Then move on. Use the win to go on and win some more, don’t settle.


Take away.


Fear inoculation will make you more resilient, you will learn how to calm yourself, learn how to ask better questions when stressed or feeling fear. The fear never goes away, nor should it, you just know that facing it makes you a better human. And we need more of this.