The Journey is The Destination

A few months ago a group from Pinnacle competed in New Jersey at a powerlifting meet, which was for many of us our first official competition where our attempts would be recorded and forever remembered somewhere in the depths of the internet. It was a great day that set new personal records and also taught valuable lessons, and for myself the lessons haven’t stopped.

After that competition, it was brought to my attention that I was close to the PA State deadlift record and the total (all the lifts added together) record through that federation and decided I would go for it, no problem! I just pulled 600 pounds and the PA record for my weight class is 611 pounds and if I could squat 500 pounds and bench 315 I would be in reach to beat the total record too if I could slightly better numbers in all 3 lifts.

At that moment my entire vision shifted from, I love strength training, being healthy, and the journey is the destination to, I have 16 weeks to prove how awesome I am. I forgot the importance of the actual training, focusing on the programming, and following the program.

Taking my own advice.

I know full well the importance of programming, having a plan, and following it. My ego told me I didn’t need it this training cycle and there were days I threw the program out the window because I was feeling awesome, what harm could a little extra work cause? When any of my clients come to me and say they want to add 2 sets for an exercise on the program, I would say, “Stick to the plan, everything will work out in the end, you don’t want to overdo it”. I did not listen to this advice for myself, being blinded by the end range alone and forgetting the importance of having a plan and sticking with it.


There were some training sessions that I would feel like I could not get ramped up and into the training, but I had records to beat and goals set, I can’t be wasting time with rest… If you have talked to me ever about lifts not going well the first question I will ask is, how’s your recovery? Are you taking rest days and get plenty of sleep? Do you need to take a deload week to let the body catch up? Again, I did not care to listen to my own advice I would give to a client and my ego told me to keep pushing! So at this point in my training preparation there were 2 main things going wrong… I was not following the plan strictly, and I was not listening to my body and the signs. This spiraled even further when my lifts started to go the wrong direction and I decided to push harder to overcome the issue and skip my deload week, convincing myself I needed more days to focus on the technique; and not just technique, but technique at a heavier weight where it matters most! So foolish. This was 6 weeks before the competition, so the pressure was really being laid on thick, by myself.

5 weeks out and it turned tragic when my squats were failing 40 pounds below my target and my deadlift failed 50 pounds below my previous best and 65 pounds below my target. On top of that, I wasn’t able to sleep well at night, lost my appetite, and was in all kinds of moods from frustrated and angry to sad and feeling blue. There was a time when I said that overtraining wasn’t real, but then it took me until this day, the writing of this post to even want to lift weights again, for me to realize that overtraining is not a myth and I pushed my body so hard that my entire training fell apart, and I put my goals to what seems incredibly far from reality.

The Journey Is the Destination.

Anytime that you work towards a goal, the journey towards that goal will be more work than the actual goal itself. I spent my time focusing on what I wanted to achieve and neglected everything else. When I reflect on this I think of it as, I put less focus on 16 weeks (112 days) than on 1 day, which is .8% of the entire time. If that were a pie chart, the 1 day that represents the competition would be such a small sliver it would be almost impossible to see!

A book I’m currently reading called The Passion Paradox put the perspective of how passion can turn from a wonderful thing to a dark and dangerous thing if it isn’t directed properly. I ignored how much I enjoy the training, the programming, and the discipline, which ultimately delivers the goals; and put so much stress on reaching the goals that I overlooked the things I am passionate about.

Whatever you set your mind on that you want to achieve, the goal needs to stay in the back of your mind, but if you make the goal the only thing you see, you will be blinded.

Ryan Sensenig