Shut up, stupid jerk brain, I’m trying to be the sane one.

“The statistics on sanity are that one
out of every four Americans is suffering
from some form of mental illness. Think of
your three best friends. If they’re okay,
then it’s you.” – Rita Mae Brown


I squatted this morning, so I don’t actually have to train.

But, I do need to train.

Because all I have been doing for the last 3 months is squatting.

I couldn’t squat, and then I could squat, and now all I do is squat. I’m supposed to be getting fat and strong and not worrying about anything else.

But, I worry.

And, I miss weightlifting.


I miss weightlifting when I am happy and my mind is right and I feel like I can snatch the enitre world.

The rest of the time, I do not miss weightlifting because I know that weightlifting is evil. That barbell will tempt me, and I will try to clean it, and then my brain will realize what is happening and fuck it all up.

And, then I will hate weightlifting again, and I will feel the whole world crashing down on me, and I will start thinking about how long it has been since I set a clean PR and how I will probably never set a clean PR again for the rest of my life, so I might as well quit now.

So, I try to train tonight.

Amy is cleaning, so I say I will clean. I was going to snatch but snatches are easy. My brain has learned to deal with snatches and squats. I cannot deal with cleans, so I think I will be a grown up and try to do something hard.

Maybe tonight will be the night that I conquer cleans.

I am wrong.

Amy is going to go 35, 40, 43, 46, 49, 51. I know because I told her what jumps to make. So, I just make those jumps with her. She hits a 51 clean and jerk, which is a PR, so I load 53 on the bar for her. I go to power clean 53.

And, I can’t.

I pick it up, and my brain says no. So, I do 3 clean pulls with it instead.

53 kg.

53 kg.

53 kg.

Fail. At. Life.

The downward spiral begins.

How can I fail to power clean 53 kg? Just pick the fucking thing up and rack it. It’s 53 fucking kilos. Reverse curl the fucking thing and strict press it BECAUSE YOU CAN. You KNOW you can.

But, I can’t.

So, I quit.

And, I try to snatch. 35, 35, 35, 35, 45. Bruise my hip bone. Another rep at 45 that is something, but I am not sure that I would call that something a snatch.

I am failing at snatching.

I never fail at snatching. Snatching is the best thing on earth. How can I fail at snatching?

Down, down, down.

I can see it happening. I mean, I can actually argue with my own brain while this is happening, and I do. It really is like Dr. Jekyl and Mr. Hyde or something. So fucked up.

Just put more weight on the bar and fucking snatch it. You are failing at snatching 45 kg. You know you are being stupid, and there is no reason to let yourself plummet down into a pit of despair when this doesn’t fucking matter. It’s just a training session. YOU DON’T EVEN NEED TO TRAIN TONIGHT, YOU ALREADY SQUATTED, YOU FUCKING IDIOT.

So, I quit.

I tell Nick that I need to do something that won’t stress me out, and he says he doesn’t know what that something is because different things stress me out depending on the day… or the hour… or the minute.

I say I can do clean pulls. I don’t know why I say this. I already know that this will be a mistake. I can tell. MISTAKE. Nick says that sounds like a good idea. I say maybe I can do bodybuilding. I am supposed to do bodybuilding, and I have been running out of time. Nick says that sounds like a good idea because he knows I have been wanting to do bodybuilding. How can bodybuilding be stressful? It can’t be. IT CAN’T BE. IT’S JUST BODYBUILDING. GO DO SOME TRICEPS PUSHDOWNS AND FRONT RAISES AND FUCKING SMILE.

I do clean pulls.

2 x 75 kg
2 x 85 kg
2 x 90 kg
1 x 105 kg

And, I know. I know this is a mistake. I should have just done bodybuilding. What the fuck is wrong with me? It’s like I see the Mack truck coming toward me and instead of swerving to avoid it, I plow head on into the motherfucker.

I load 115 kg on the bar. I DON’T EVEN KNOW WHY. I walk up and wrap my straps around the bar and set my back and…



I walk out of the gym.

I go outside and take off my shoes and knee sleeves and put them in the car, and then I sit on the ground next to my car and think about how stupid I am.

Because I saw this coming.

I knew it.

I could have stopped it, but I didn’t.

I go back in the gym and try not to cry. I’ve been trying at not crying all night long. I already cried earlier today. Once? Twice? Not about training. About my brain in general. And life. When I have days like this, it is easy to forget that I felt perfectly normal yesterday.

Everyone leaves and we get in the car.

I cry.

And, then we go home and I start writing and Nick makes ramen noodles with some sort of amazing pork ribs that we bought the other day.

Nick says that I am not allowed to say anything negative about my training. I am supposed to say positive things out loud. I am supposed to find the positive thing because there always is at least one positive thing, and I have to say it out loud whether or not I believe it because saying it out loud somehow starts fixing things.

Sometimes the positive thing is obvious but I don’t say it out loud because there is this weird part of me that wants to argue about it. It’s almost like my brain doesn’t want to get better.

Fuck my brain.

I squatted 5 x 110 kg today.
I did some cleans.
I did some snatches.
I did some clean pulls.
It was a good training day.

Fuck my brain.

Author: Tamara Reynolds

Share This Post On


  1. weightlifting makes us crazy, its an addiction and it messes with our brains. Loved it, write some more, made me feel ok to be crazy, like a weightlifters anonymous support group blog. Fuck brains, just lift.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks, Kevin! I am up for a support group with bourbon!

      Post a Reply


  1. Renshu: 8/20/13 | Weightlifting Academy - […] Ever wonder what’s going on in other people’s minds when they lift? Read about one of Tamara’s training sessions…

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *