And, on the eighth day, God created squats

“And Moses stretched out his hand over the sea;
and the Lord caused the sea to go back by a
strong east wind all the night,
and made the sea dry land,
and the waters were divided.”
– Exodus 14:21


I was on a roll with squats. I was in a zone and nothing could touch me. A rough day didn’t matter. A hard set didn’t matter. A slow rep didn’t matter. I knew I just had to do the work, and the progress would keep coming. I was invincible.

Then, we went to Florida. I only squatted a few times there. We came home, and I had a week where I only squatted a few times. My volume was in the toilet. I was tired. I wasn’t eating enough. We had other serious work to do. Training took a backseat for a bit.

All of a sudden, it was like I had forgotten how to squat. It felt wrong. I was missing weights that had been easy warmup reps a few weeks before.

And, I found out that I wasn’t actually indestructible. I was human after all.

I had been in this happy mental place with squats. Squatting was the best thing ever, and then it wasn’t. The negative feedback loop started. I’d hit a rep that I thought should feel easy, and it felt like a million pounds. My brain started telling me how awful everything was, how I was weak, how I must have imagined squatting 300 lbs because it surely was never going to happen again.

I could see the downward spiral happening.

At one point I commented to Nick, and I don’t even remember exactly what I said or what his response was, but it was déjà vu…


I’ve been here before.

I went to find the email conversation between Jim and me. I couldn’t remember exactly when it had happened, but I knew what I was looking for.

It was a day when he told me to max, and he said, “Anything above 65 and 75 will be a plus.”

I did 68 and 77 that day.

And, I was so upset. I thought I should have done more.

Jim said, “What part of ‘Anything above 65 and 75 will be a plus’ did you have trouble with?”

I said, “But, I wanted more than that. I thought I was going to hit 90 a long time ago.”

Reading that conversation now is painful. I cringe.

Jim must have been pulling out his hair by then, but he responded “You cannot force nature, only God can do that. So unless you have moved mountains and parted seas you should be happy with what you accomplished today.”

It was like a punch in the gut at the time.

Have I learned nothing since then?

Here I am squatting and getting upset because I think I should be doing more. Instead of seeing my training for the day as an accomplishment, I see it as a failure. Yeah, that sounds mentally healthy.

I looked in the mirror this morning, and I didn’t see God.

The person in the mirror hadn’t moved mountains or parted seas, although her hair looked nice because she just got it cut.

Not God.

Just someone who squats.

I think I’ll be happy with that today.

“My God, My God, I pray that these things never end,
The sand and the sea,
The rush of the waters,
The crash of the Heavens,
The prayer of Man.”
– Hannah Szenes

Author: Tamara Reynolds

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