I'm not talking about training intensity, which refers to how heavy one is lifting on a particular day. I'm talking about mental intensity, and where that comes from. I had a bit of an intensity epiphany the other day.
In the past I was always able to rely on external sources for training intensity:
1) I had a heavy handed coach that I disliked.
2) I had a training partner who was really strong and always nipping at my heels.
3) I trained in "the dungeon" which has a very serious atmosphere.
With all these things around me, I didn't have to dig very deep to find the intensity needed to make the big attempts and approach the heavy weights. And let's face it, you need a sort of intense abandon to make those big lifts. You have to be able to drive with everything you've got and trust that you're body is going to do the right thing and the weight will land where you want it.
Then I changed coaches, and several things changed:
1) Instead of intense abandon, I had to train with a measured focus as he changed my technique, built up my strength deficiencies, and worked out old habits.
2) I found myself in a place where I like my coach, my gym is fun, and my teammates are fun.
3) I lift quite a bit more than any other woman, and some of the men, that I train with.
Basically I had lost most of my sources of external intensity. And it showed. In my level of distraction, in the weights that I lifted, in the drive I had as months wore on.
But last week, something clicked. I learned of three other girls that will be competing in my weight class at the American Open. Three girls that have not been in my weight class, or in weightlifting competition at all. And they are all strong.
That day, I told myself "You're still the MoFo Newman. You can't keep lifting like you're learning. You're done learning and you need to be done pussy-footing around."
That day I had the best training session I had in months. Months. Then I can back the next week and took attempts at weights I hadn't touched in more months. Not weeks. Months.
Reminds me of a favorite quote I have: "People gravitate towards being a pussy. Remove the pussy, son."
I don't know what, if anything, will come of this. But at least I know I've giving it a fair shot.