I’m not sure if you knew but I’ve been looking at ways to manage my stress and become a more mindful person through a little bit of meditation.
I’ve got a fair bit of stuff on the go at the moment and between running a business, coaching group classes, 1:1 PT, hanging out with Becca and my girls, training myself and sleeping at night – I find that my mind can end up all over the shop. Anyone that knows me or has been coached by me would probably be aware that I can be more than a little direct and fired up at times and I find meditation a great way to shave off my rough edges, keep me planted and help me “enhance my calm” ~ John Spartan, Demolition Man
I’ve been using the Calm app (available from the App Store and Google Play Store) and find it’s a great way to clear my mind and get some clarity. It’s not too hippy-dippy – just simple, focus-on-your-breath stuff. Sometimes there might be a zen-esque story/example to learn from but I think I like it…
This morning after vacuuming the gym, I sat down and listened to a guided meditation on leaning into your emotions and naming your dragons. It outlined the problem with avoidance and that the more you avoid something – the more power you give it – essentially making it harder to overcome.
Dragons and a treasure cave…
I listened to a story about a cave filled with treasure that was guarded by a fierce dragon. Many brave men had tried to subdue the dragon and get to the treasure but lost their lives in the process. One day a warrior came along. On entering the cave he found the dragon and whispered something in it’s ear. The dragon stepped aside, the warrior passed through unharmed and was rewarded with treasure. Upon exiting the cave with the loot and his life, other men demanded to know his secret: He explained that in order to pass the dragon you had to know it’s name… If you can name it – you can tame it.
What the hell has that got to do with fitness?
Well I coached both the the early am sessions this morning. One of my athletes – let’s just call him [Bob] got to experience the concept firsthand. Now [Bob] is a super strong guy who generally prefers to play it safe – If it’s heavy, he’ll shine but if the workout is outside his comfort zone, he’ll usually err on the side of ‘whatever-is-easiest-and-get-
Today I asked [Bob] to step up and perform the workout as it was written (RX’d). He’d already loaded the bar with a weight that would have been too easy for him. I asked him to load it up to the prescribed weight (which wasn’t actually that much heavier) and after a little protest and a bit of a shaky start, he got to work. Not even 15 minutes later, Bob had demonstrated that not only was he well and truly up to the task but he proved to himself that he could finally take it to the next level. Not by avoiding his dragon: of playing it safe – it but by naming it, stepping up and getting after it.
Now I don’t expect [Bob] to go RX’d every single workout from now on but I guarantee the more times he does the easier his mental game will be. No, the workouts don’t get any easier but the initial battle of the mind: in choosing whether “to accept the challenge or not” will be significantly easier.
It’s easy to forget, but resistance is a good thing. The more you experience the more you’ll grow and that’s not just under a barbell. Sure, move more weight and you’ll increase your strength. Run for longer and you’ll develop your stamina. Adversity builds mental toughness and hard work builds character. It’s unfortunate, in this day and age there’s not a lot of either as people tend to take the easy option whenever they can or quit when the going gets tough.
Avoidance is the enemy of growth
Avoidance is always backed up by an excuse. I’m too unfit. I’m too fat. I’ll stand out. I’ll move like a gumby. People will look at me. Don’t worry – I can tell you that other people are way too busy worrying about themselves to worry about what you look and move like.
I’m not sure exactly where I originally heard this but “Effort Earns Respect” and at Adapt – it truly does. The coaches and the athletes that train here don’t care what you look like, how much of a noob you are or how much you move like a total gumby – all we care about is the fact that you’re making the effort.
So all that being said….
What are you avoiding – Name your dragons?
Growth only occurs when you get outside your comfort zone. The easiest way to do that is name your dragons:
- Too scared to start this whole CrossFit thing – Call us. Walk through the front door. Organise Fundamentals or some Personal Training.
- Fallen off the horse (regular training) and too scared to get back on – Call us. Walk through the front door. Organise a catch up with one of the coaches about getting your Mojo back.
- Avoid lifting heavy (getting under a barbell) in favour of long slow cardio (5-10k runs) or vice versa – Get comfortable with training outside your comfort zone or preferred modalities. Develop your capacity across all modal domains by coming to training every single day. Don’t cherry pick WODs based on your strengths.
- Prefer to fly just under the radar (sub RX) – Leave your ego at the front door and start putting your hand up for workouts as they are written (if you know in your heart that you can do them). It may take you longer and it may expose your weaknesses but you’ll be the better person for it.
Whatever your dragon is, I’d encourage you to name it and then go after it. The more times you try – the easier the mental game gets. Effort Earns Respect. Yeah?
If you’ve got any questions and/or feedback regarding this newsletter leave a comment, give the gym a buzz on 0262519284 or hit me up next time you’re at Adapt.