Lifter, Coach And Training Partner

 Training in a garage gym has many advantages; convenience, no waiting for equipment, as well as no need for childcare if you’re a parent. However, a few shortfalls exist when training in a garage gym as well. One of them is the lack of sufficient training partners. Of course, not all garage gym rats feel this pain; it seems much more ubiquitous among exclusive strength athletes who participate minimally in popular social circles.

Athletes – and even regular gym goers – who are left to train alone may soon discover that finding the motivation to get in the gym and push through a tough session may actually be more challenging than the workout itself. Working out alone is seldom fun; working out in a garage is no different. Therefore, I have developed techniques to help get me through those rough days where I really did not feel like doing anything. Those days when I am tired from working all day and people are driving me nuts. Those days when I would rather take a nap than put my body through so much stress that when I do sleep, I fall into a coma-like state!

Anger and Hate

Now I do not consider myself an angry person. But I do view myself as an average athlete, with average numbers, and average performance. This perceived mediocrity angers me and I hate it. Before each session I remind myself that champions are above average and champions do not skip training days – so I get my ass in the gym. Before each lift, I’m reminded how average lifters train with the weight that I train with. I imagine how “easy” other lifters (with their training partners and cool equipment) must have it and I hate it! So I smash through training in a pissed off state. All this may sound a bit over the top, but it works. Visualizing something and becoming pissed off at it can really get the adrenaline flowing and could also increase cortisol levels – fight or flight!

My Kids

– I do not go into every session pissed off. Sometimes I actually have a good day and need to lean on other factors to get me going. My kids help to fill the void that hate fails to reach. Serving on active duty already keeps me away from home for a substantial amount of time. Throw in 1 or 2-hour training sessions, 4-6 days a week and I barely have enough time to provide homework assistance. However, my children understand the predicament and (as athletes themselves) know what it takes to be a champion. Not to mention they view me as dad, coach, Super-, Spider-, and Batman all-in-one. With standards this high, how could I let them down by not training my ass off at every chance I get. My little monsters help coach my lifts, judge, and even spot me on those max efforts lift from time to time. I certainly cannot lose focus with them in my corner.

My Own Goals and Aspirations

–  One thing that military service (and life) have taught me is that you will achieve very little without hard work and a laser focus. “Good things come to those who bust their ass” is more than a cliché. Too often people get wrapped up in what others are doing and lose sight of their own destiny. We become consumed with the idea that we can achieve our wildest dreams with little or no effort and within 30-60 days. Get rich quick or 7-minute abs rarely helped anyone and we should not forget that nothing beats determination, hard work, sweat, and some occasional blood.

So the message to all my fellow solo garage lifters, and all others in-between, is to use all elements to help keep you moving forward. Never allow yourself to view your training as mundane and a second priority. The picture at top is what it actually feels like when I’m in the gym. I have to be lifter, coach, and training partner all at the same time. I zero in on my goals and at that moment nothing else matters!

About the author

Mike "Bird" Parrott has been certified as a personal trainer and is currently studying as a strength coach. He provides nutrition counseling and exercise programming. Two of his athletes have become National champions with numerous others achieving many National, American, and Military records while under his tutelage. Moreover, he has assisted with and facilitated over 10 powerlifting meets spanning a 5-year period. He is also a certified state-referee for USA Powerlifting. With only a few years of competition experience under his belt, he is a member of the U.S. Air Force Powerlifting team and is credited with a 250 kg/551 lbs. squat, 160 kg/352 lbs. bench press, and 280 kg/617 lbs. deadlift for a (cumulative) total of 690 kg/1518 lbs. with a bodyweight of 87.3kg /191.8 lbs.

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Preserving work life balance when you own your own business is tough! Being an entrepreneur bleeds over into the rest of your life in so many ways it's a cliche. I've tried to strike a healthy balance between working twelve hour shifts at my full time job, being a good husband and father and building our brand in whatever time I have left. That makes for a lot of late nights and early mornings!

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