The saying we’ve all heard a million times before sometimes actually runs true.
“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Most of us avoid hard work. We take the easy way, the short cut. We try to get by with just the minimum. But when it comes to working out, you can’t skip, skimp, or wimp out. Not if you want results.
This past January, I switched from jumping long and triple jump in track to training to run a 400. Call me crazy, but I wanted the challenge and to see how far I could push myself.
It has been hard to adjust to the new training schedule – long workouts, high volume and intensity and increased mileage.
During a recent grueling practice, after I had straightened from the bent-over-heavy-breathing-and-can’t-feel-my-legs position, I asked my coach what I was doing wrong in my workouts. The pain was awful and it didn’t seem like my teammates were in quite the same agony.
His response: You need to want the pain.
Most days, it’s hard enough motivating yourself to head to the weight room or go on that run. Sometimes you slack; sometimes you lace up the shoes and head out anyway.
And when you know the workout is going to be painful it’s a whole lot harder to motivate yourself out the door.
We all start at the same point in fitness. Sometime in your life you make the choice to start playing a sport or working out more often. Michael Phelps or Allyson Felix didn’t wake up one day and succeed in their sport. Talent only got them so far, whereas countless hours of hard work pushed them to where they are today. They didn’t quit during a grueling workout or intense practice; they pushed through.
You have to push yourself in your workout. Whether you are debating to get off the treadmill 10 minutes earlier than you originally planned or don’t want to increase your squat weight because you’re a little tired, you have to do it anyway.
It’s one more rep, five more minutes, one more mile – it adds up and that’s how you get better.
Stop making up excuses in your workout. You have to motivate yourself to push through and work harder than you have ever before.
I’ll admit I wanted to quit after that workout last week, but I knew that would just lead to me sitting alone in my room, probably with a cat, eating an entire package of Oreos by myself. Obviously not the best scenario, but we’ve all been there.
Instead, I sucked it up and pounded out a few more reps. My desire needed to be larger and stronger than the pain, and that is what my coach was getting at.
You don’t necessarily need to want the pain of a workout, but you need to want the results of what that hard work will bring.
My result: I ran my first 400-meter last Saturday at Augustana’s track meet and survived. I even nabbed 8th place.
The race was as awful as I expected, but the feeling afterward was pretty incredible. It’s the same feeling when you go an extra mile on your run, set a new max on the bench, or run your first 5K. Whatever the goal, the feeling you have when you reach it is potentially the best feeling in the world.
You can survive your workout. What doesn’t kill you will definitely make you stronger, fitter, healthier and happier.