It’s really easy to write a blog post when you’ve got something to brag about. It’s like a wordy pat on the back for a job well done. It’s a lot harder to sit here and think about how to write about failure. You’ve somehow got to find a nuanced way to say ‘I wanted to do a thing but didn’t’.

I wanted to be able to squat 90kg by the end of last month and I failed to do so.

See? Not much nuance there. So what’s to be garnered from this failure? There had better be something positive coming out of all those hours and all that sweat. Join me, then, as I try and figure out what I can learn from, quite simply, failing.

The first thing to be noted is that I really gave this a good go. Like, a ‘proper’ go. A ‘meaty’ go. An ‘extra large’ go. So that’s something to be proud of, I suppose.

The second thing is that whilst I didn’t hit 90kg, I did hit 82.5kg, which is a lot closer than where I started (around 70kg). So now, the idea of hitting 90kg isn’t a goal as much as it is an inevitability. I will hit 90kg, I just won’t hit it as quickly as I wanted.

I made mistakes which I learned from. Some really stupid mistakes, like not eating enough food during the day so I ended up at the gym hungry. This naturally lead to the worst performance I’ve ever had in the gym and saw my form turn to crud. I luckily escaped without injury, though I’m sure I came close.

I’m also much happier with the programme I’m on, which is the Stronglift 5×5. I have reduced the time I’m wasting in the gym and am far more confident with the lifts I’m doing. I’m also sure that I’ll notice when it’s time to switch things up. I’ve noticed progression slowing down but this is totally natural. Those first few months when you start are more to do with your brain reconnecting with your muscles rather than your muscles growing.

Another thing I found out was that most people count the bar when talking about how much they lift. Which makes total sense if you’re competing against others.

See, the twist here is that I ‘technically’ squatted over 90kg. With most barbells weighing between 20kg and 25kg, I actually squatted over 100kg.

But that was never the goal. My aim was to put 45kg worth of plates on both sides of the bar and do 5×5 squats.

To which I failed.

Still – I made progress, I’m more comfortable with the lifts and in the gym and I learned a bit about what works for me in terms of food and my gym routine as a whole. Which means this month wasn’t a total failure.


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