Zach Homol

Anyone who trains at my gym (Iron Valley Barbell) has definitely heard me say, “Raise your expectations.” I take the phrase to heart when I say it. I truly believe that everyone has more inside of them than what they will ever know. Most just aren’t setting the bar HIGH enough, and simply limiting themselves to their full potential. I’ve witnessed this hundreds of times, so I wanted to share a more recent story of success from one’s ability to raise their expectations and see instant results!

It’s a typical Tuesday afternoon at the Iron Valley. The 6 o’clock crew starts rolling in around 5:45, each guy poking fun at one another, laughing, and talking about their day. I start to tie my shoes when I hear Alex, a regular on the afternoon crew, express how much he enjoys the GRIT of the Iron Valley. I chuckle and say “Imagine going back to a globo gym where you are yelled at for being strong.” We laugh and start to share our own personal globo gym experiences. Dillion, another afternoon regular speaks up: “Just by training here with you guys, I know I have to lift more. No one here allows you to be weak.”

We all start getting warmed up and ready to deadlift. We have about 8 guys in our crew today. Each guy can deadlift over 400lbs, a couple guys in the 500lbs range, and a few of us in the 600+lb range. We set up the order from “weakest to strongest” and start training. Getting loose with 135lbs, 225lbs, & 315lbs. Alex is up and starts to put on a quarter. I stop him –“No F*N small plates ‘till we hit over 4 (405). Raise you F*N expectations when you train with me or train by yourself.” I keep it simple when I train - I don’t count by pounds on the bar, I count by efforts applied to the bar. If you give me all you’ve got, you have earned my respect. If you try to cut in early- you get cut out early. Alex looked at me and smiled, he took the quarter off and through on another plate. His best 5 rep max was 365lbs, but seeing how he had no other option but to put on 4 plates he was forced to set a PR in that moment. “Alex, you get 5 reps. I DON’T CARE WHAT IT TAKES!! YOU GIVE ME 5 REPS!” Sure enough, Alex raised his expectations. Not only did he give me 5, HE PUSHED FOR 6! That’s all it took. Alex forever will have my respect. 

The workout continued, I advanced to 4 plates, then 5, then on to 6 plates. The crew knows I don’t mess around with 5’s, 10’s, or 25’s. I mean business. I refuse to let myself let a NUMBER (590 for example) limit my accomplishments. The only time I use “small plates” is when I am attempting my final working sets. The majority of my lifting success has come from raising my expectations, and believing I was able to take bigger jumps in weight. I finished my day off hitting a big PR: 650x4. Alex hit 2 more PR’s that day- 455x2 (his old max) and 475x1. A 20lb PR after hitting 2 previous REP PRs!  ALL FROM JUST FROM RAISING HIS EXPECTATIONS.


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