Believe it or not, I used to wish I was exercising for weight loss, not just for my general fitness. Sometimes I thought I could push myself a little harder, last a little longer or jump a little higher if I knew in the end, I was going to move the scale and have some proof that I dug deeper. Some sort of tangible evidence that made me go that extra mile.
In a recent workout from Insanity Max:30 I heard some words that changed my thought process entirely, and it has made all the difference in my workouts and my results. In the very last few minutes of a pretty intense workout, Shaun T (who somehow always knows exactly what you need to hear, when you need to hear it, despite being on a friggin DVD and has no idea who you even are) says “don’t be afraid.” It sounded stupid at first, I’m just working out. What the heck do I have to be afraid of?
But what I didn’t realize is that I WAS afraid. Not of hurting myself, not of the workout, not of not being able to finish but I was afraid that I wasn’t who I thought I was. I have been training for years and have made a lot of progress in my fitness. What I didn’t realize that being GOOD at fitness can be just as much a hold up as being BAD at fitness. It is easy to understand how someone could be scared of a workout because they aren’t used to exercising; but someone who works out daily? How could I be afraid?
I was afraid that I wouldn’t live up to my expectations. If I pushed as hard as possible, what if I was disappointed in exactly how hard that was? By not max-ing out, I could continue to be exactly who I wanted to be in my head. Super fit, capable of whatever I tried. But only because I was only trying what I knew I could accomplish.
We have to be willing to fail, even welcome failure. I cannot tell you how different my workouts are now that I am willing to suck at them. If I kill my workout every day, I am not pushing myself hard enough. I am not super human, I am exactly just a human. Now, I go as hard as possible with the intent of gassing out and having to take a break, because each day that break comes later and later and eventually I will need to dig into something completely different to reach the same max. That is not failure, that is exciting. It means we don’t even know what limits we have to break. Imagine that….
So next time, run faster from the very beginning, squat as low as you possibly can, keep going for just an extra three reps, increase that weight, even just a little bit. Don’t be impressed with what you know you can do, be surprised by what you didn’t.
We all work to get to a level of “good” but don’t get cozy there. Don’t let good get in the way of your GREAT.