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Mind Games and the Workout…

Posted Nov 06 2010 12:00am

As I approached the end of the first of 10 rounds in this afternoon’s workout, my mind was racing with ideas/strategies of how to modify the training session in order to make it less painful.  Finishing 10 – 225 pound dead lifts, 10 – 105 pound squat cleans and 10 – 33 pound kettle bell shoulder presses plays significant games with the mind.  A reminder, this was only the first round!

With a heart rate soaring close to 160 beats per minute, I began to think about changing the workout from 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 each of the dead lift, clean and press, to a more condensed version with less rounds that would follow this format:

10-8-6-4-2-1.

Doing it that way would speed the process, but I wasn’t worried about the time, I was more worried about how difficult this workout was going to be once I picked up the first weight!

I decided to finish the second set, and after 8 minutes I figured that I could average 3 minutes per round, or quit at the 30 minute mark.

So, satisfied with my new theory,  I continued with the agreement that I would work until the time ran out, hoping to complete the prescribed reps for a successful workout.

Eventually, exhausted and relieved, I finished the entire program in 25:35.

That’s 55 dead lifts at 225 pounds, 55 squat cleans at 105 pounds, and 66 pounds (33/arm) of kettle bell shoulder presses in 25 minutes.  For me that is a good time to complete such a heavy load, and I am happy to be able to rest until next workout which is on Monday.

Why does this matter?

Because I approach training as a metaphor for my life.  If and when I am able to tune into my mind chatter when times get tough in the gym, I am certain that I can do the same when times get tough outside the weight room.  Overcoming difficulties is not easy to do when we allow ourselves to listen to the negative self talk which tries to derail us from achieving our goals.

The flip side is that when my body begins to fatigue, and my mind comes up with an easy way out, I don’t receive the physical benefits of lifting the weight, sprinting up the hill or holding the warrior pose for another 3 breaths.

Many people approach their fitness as something they have to do in order to lose weight, whereas I approach training as something I choose to do on a physical, mental and spiritual level.  Ever watch a dog run wild in a field?  They are doing the same thing as they release pent up energy while doing what dogs are meant to do…play wild and free.

Think about your approach to fitness.  Is it one of necessity?  Desire?  Compulsion?  Or something you approach on a more primal/spiritual level?

Consider your approach and re-evaluate why you do/do not move your body.  Are you doing too much?  Are you doing enough?  How do you feel about the process, and what, other than physical benefits, do you achieve each time you exercise?

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