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Prepared for Nationals – Ariel Stephens’s Training Blog


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I can officially say that Nationals is right around the corner.

I compete in 10 days, at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time, at the Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah. I am looking forward to competing, but not allowing the thought of Nationals consume me.

About 4 weeks ago I began working with a sports psychologist, and it has already helped me tremendously as I continue to train around minor injuries. Two things have really helped me change my outlook on life and training.

The first is being more aware of the things that are in my control compared to things that are out of my control. The second is the ability to keep my focus during every training session.

Every athlete has good days and bad days, but I’m learning that it’s the approach to training that makes a difference. I have placed emphasis on reminding myself why I am lifting weights before, during and after every training session. The biggest conclusion that has helped me remain calm is understanding that I am lifting for myself and nobody else. This seems obvious, but it’s easy to lose sight of this when there are so many expectations coming from multiple directions.

I’m definitely mentally prepared for whatever comes at me next weekend. Since I have been struggling with minor injuries, my training has been a little hectic. I have been doing what feels like, a million pulls every week. I load the pulls between 90 – 102.5% since I am not able to consistently train these weights over head.

I am consistently snatching and clean & jerking up to 85% and still feel strong. At this point, I am trying to maintain my lifts through accessory exercises so that I’m not taxing the minor injuries. I am not worried about my ability to perform at Nationals. I am confident that on Saturday, July 19 at 5:00 p.m., I will be ready!

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