Giving Up on Your Workout? Don’t! It’s All In Your Head!!!

We have all heard time and time again about the importance of not giving up. Every motivational picture and quote out there tells you to push through the pain, discomfort, bite down, and follow through. There are entire Facebook pages out there that are specifically dedicated to motivating people and dissuading them from loosing sight of their goals when “the going gets tough”.

Regardless of how often you look at the copious amounts of fantastic motivational material on the internet, it all means absolutely nothing when you are staring blankly at the loaded barbell, dripping with sweat, with your hands and arms numb from the weight, your hamstrings burning, unsure if you can squeeze out another rep and being absolutely positive that you are pretty much about to die if you try. Normally, during those times, I dig deep. I find that tiny, hard grain of rock solid “truth” that remains constant regardless of the circumstance and I latch onto it like a hungry gator and refuse to let go until I am through with whatever it is that caused me to go looking for “god” to begin with.

Moments like that are rare, but not so rare that I can easily forget the incredible feeling of accomplishment and satisfaction when I am done. After the “dust” settles and the feeling comes back to whatever body part I was training at the time,  I begin to understand how incredibly strong and capable I really am! I believe that, you can walk into training having your “beast mode” on, but you do not earn your beast status until you leave drenched in sweat, unsure if you can drive straight or if you can remember how to get home. That is the true finish to the “beast mode”.

This Wednesday I was all about the “beast mode”. I walked into my gym ready to do some serious damage, train dirty, walk out covered in sweat,  and later “strut my stuff” like an overconfident peacock (yes, it happens and I am proud of it. You have to celebrate small wins otherwise you spend your life waiting for something “big” and missing all the awesome, little details).

I got to the gym, set up my circuits, warmed up, stretched, rolled,  stretched again, and got to work. It was all going well until I noticed that I started getting in my own way. I noticed negative thoughts creeping up: “You can’t breath, this must be too hard of a workout. Why did you plan for 3 circuits with this weight? You’ll never last! You should drop the weight, take a longer break. You can’t breath!!! Stop!!!” Then the guilt chimed in: “You are ruining the whole point of the exercise by stopping. It is suppose to keep your heart rate up. Look at you freaking out, your heart rate isn’t even that high!”

I tried stopping and resetting mind and body. I told myself that I need to cut out the negativity and dig deep and just get through it. I told myself that I’ll be glad I finished. When that didn’t work, I promised myself a new pair of running pants if I finish (you know, reward system, you have to have one), that got me through the first circuit 3 times. Go figure, new running attire would get my butt going! I am such a girl sometimes.

After a minute of rest I moved on to my second circuit and that was when things got really ugly. My body refused to function. I was stuck in a squat for 10 seconds before I finally decided to put the weight down. I gave into my inner voice and lowered the weight. It did nothing to ease my pain. Now, before you start telling me that I was probably fatigued from the previous circuit, I wasn’t. I was just in my own way. It was not the muscle that I couldn’t get to work, it was my head. I got through my second circuit one time and by the end I was almost crying. I packed my stuff and snuck out of the gym with my “tail between my legs” being mad at myself and embarrassed that I didn’t finish.

I got home, put ice on my shins (I am not taking any chances this close to Peachtree) and posted on the Fierce Miles Facebook page about my embarrassing failure. Within minutes I had a text from one of my wonderful friends telling me to go back and finish my workout. The more I thought about it, the more angry I became. Me, not finish a workout? What kind of […] is that?! So, I got up, put my clothes back on and went to go finish. I am proud to say that I finished all of the circuits with marginally higher rest times than initially planned. I had to dig deep, very deep, to make it through. This time I did not allow any of the scary, negative thoughts to crawl into my head and ruin my performance. I did it. I finished, I walked back to my car, I crawled back to my house (I am not ashamed, it was a tough workout).

Today I am very sore. I haven’t been this sore in a long time. It was worth the extra time, and all the extra effort. The best part about it is that the farther I push through my limits during my training the more I realize that I can effectively push through difficult times in my day to day life. I heard from other athletes that one doesn’t simply just train their body, mind and soul need training as well and I see it now. I noticed that since I began my journey of “no excuses” I developed an ability to effectivley deal with some of the things that use to send me into a tailspin of depression. But I am getting ahead of myself, more on that in my upcoming post.

How’s that for a mid week check-in?

Posted on May 30, 2013, in bodybuilding, circuit training, dealing with workout stress, getting out of your own way, hard workouts, motivation. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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