I’ve been lifting weights long enough that I’m confident knowing when I have another rep or two, or three, left in me (i.e., “reps in reserve” or “reps in the tank,” as it’s known) when performing a set of an exercise. But I can still be wrong.
Like that time a few months ago when I got stapled by my attempted 10th rep on a set of close-grip bench presses. Rep nine came up strong and smooth and I was certain I would get the 10th. Once it came off my chest it immediately grinded to a halt, and then gravity did its thing. (I had safety bars in place so the barbell rested on them and I could easily squirm my way to freedom. Use safety bars when training alone!)
There was a previous time in my training career when I would’ve been frustrated by this, even allowed myself to get mad: “What the hell, I should have got that!” I would’ve said once I escaped from underneath the barbell.
Now, I just laugh. “Well that did NOT go as planned!” was what I said after that failed rep. And I laughed it off.
We all have goals we want to achieve. We want to do our best in every workout. We want to improve our performance. So it’s easy to take this Fitness Stuff seriously. Too seriously, sometimes. We tend to be our own worst critics, so we berate ourselves when we fall short; when we fail; when we don’t meet our own expectations. Even when we have a bad workout.
Sometimes that can be good because we hold ourselves accountable and ask important questions: Why didn’t this work? and What can I do better? But sometimes it’s unnecessary, and unhelpful.
Chastising yourself because you believe you deserve to be chastised for not being perfect does not serve you well.
Don’t berate yourself for every slip up. Don’t demand (or expect!) uninterrupted perfection. If there’s an opportunity to learn from the experience, then do so. Otherwise, the best response may be to laugh it off, and move on. The little things deserve no more than that.