Today’s Coaching Log is based on stuff I’ve heard a million times over the years, but heard twice today and it is Things You Should Never Say to Yourself. I am willing to bet that most if not all of us say these things at some point.

As usual I have to set the story up for you in the Irish way.

I had a Log planned for today, but two separate occurrences of the same thing (almost) made me feel like the universe was telling me to write this.

The first thing that made me want to write about Things You Should Never Say to Yourself today occurred this morning.

I was training a long time client and they were having a LOT of trouble doing something that should have been easy.

It was a simple circuit of Farmers Walks, Lunges and Shoulder Tap Planks. She was having more difficulty picking up a pair of 20kg kettlebells off the floor for the Farmers than I’ve ever seen.

And I knew why.

I’ve been training this person for a few years and there is a consistent pattern of success negating inner talk with them. You can see it on her face. She tries hard all the time, but often cannot do something that she is capable of and I know why.

She is talking herself out of it.

When you think you know what Is in someone’s head, never ever tell them.

You know why?

Because you are probably wrong.

I’ve learned to use phrases like:

You know, from my perspective, it seems like you are thinking “______”.


It seems to me like you could have been thinking “______” and that is why you missed the weight.

And then:

It’s important for you to know that I won’t give you something that you are not capable of doing. That would break your confidence. My job is to build it, not break it, so trust that if I tell you that you are capable of this, you are.

This way, you are not TELLING them what is going on in their heads, only suggesting what you think is going on. They are less likely to get defensive and more likely to remain open to communication this way.

So what was one of the Things You Should Never Say to Yourself that was getting in the way today?

It was more than one today. First up was a chronic fear that this person has of reinjuring an old back injury incurred before they trained at TPS. The topic of fearing reinjury is good enough to write several logs on so I won’t touch it. Suffice it to say that she was afraid, she was saying to herself “you’ll get hurt if you do this.”

As we went to the last set I asked her that if one of her kids was stuck under a 200 pound object, could she pick it up?    Obviously she said yes.

I added, would you think about it  or would you just pick it up?  

She shook her head in the affirmative and said she would just pick it up.

I then said to just pick up these kettlebells. They are far less than the 200 pound object we discussed, just pick them up.

And guess what?

She did.


Telling herself that she was going to get injured again affected her ability to work. It made her afraid.

We also discovered that she was telling herself that the weight was too heavy and she couldn’t lift it.

I told that of course she can’t with that attitude. Now just pick them up.

Never tell yourself that you can’t. Never tell yourself you will get injured doing this.

And the next instance was later on while I was helping Bonnie the Dog Stealer with her Front Squats.

, Bonnie the Dog Stealer, I can't;
She's thinking about dog-napping right now!

Bonnie is one of those gym members that you want.

Hard working, pleasant, never bounces her dues, works hard, educates herself on how to train and asks for help when needed. If you took away the fact that I am pretty sure she is going to dognap Brandy she’s aces.

After giving her a few pointers on the Front Squat she said something like:

I feel so stupid not knowing that.


I feel like I’ve been doing everything wrong.

Don’t quote me, it’s as accurate as I can remember.  

So, on her Front Squats I was helping her with the rack position and using straps to work around a wrist injury. We went over the ‘ole elbows up/forward/out cue and the round your upper back cue to fix her rack position.

Bonnie commented that it felt much better doing this and then the self-depreciating comments began. I said that she should not blame herself for not knowing these things! Even someone like her who does the digging to learn how to do things right will not get it all right away.

And, that you have to sift through a lot of bad information to get the good. How is she to know what is bad and good as a beginner?

We then illustrated this by talking about a post she showed me from a REALLY reliable source of good information on the deadlift, which was actually one of the worst and possibly moist dangerous pieces of advice I have ever heard.

How was she to know???

Never tell yourself that you are stupid for not knowing something.

And never tell yourself that you are doing everything wrong. Try using a good/better/best model.

Even if you are doing something in the gym wrong, it is still good.


You could be like Peg Bundy and sit home on the couch all day eating Bon-Bons. You are doing something and that is good!

Take my examples of Things You Should Never Say to Yourself and turn your self talk around from negative to positive.

A little positivity goes a long way towards success.

And remember, as Stuey Griffin said, whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

Did you miss last week’s log?

Read it here.

Old Man Conjugate, Everything Opposite, CJ Murphy;, hip; replacement, enjoy the ride;


Get your schedule cleared.

I’ll be flying to Ohio this month to be on Table Talk with Dave.

We had to postpone my appearance due to the surgery.

It’s gonna be a good one.

If you have questions you want answered on the podcast, leaved a comment.

Did you miss last week’s log?

Read it here.



Vincere vel mori

C.J. Murphy

March 2, 2023

Total Performance Sports