I’m writing today’s post in response to a comment on the recent post about Deceiving yourself hoping for more tips to improve our ability to not do exactly that.
I’m also writing this because a few of you who are reading these actually got to see a good example of deception and the ability to smell it out and overcome it.
I’m going to turn the clock back a few hours to this morning’s boot camp. For those that weren’t “lucky” enough to be there, here’s a quick rundown. Each Saturday we workout for 90 minutes and each weekend I try to make it the toughest workout of the week. I view it as my workout and I get to “invite” some lucky people to join me along the ride.
Today’s session was as follows:
– 1 arm, 1 leg tipovers (x10) followed by lunges on the same leg (x12) on each leg, followed by a lap up the stairs and around the track. That’s one set, do 4 sets total.
– Plank drags ~30 feet down and back, 6 push up/wall walk ups, 30 medicine ball wall slams. That’s one set, do 2 sets total (or was it 3?).
– Squat toss (x10), burpees (x5), lap up and around, +1 to the toss and to the burpee on each round, for a total of 4 rounds.
– Forward lunge walk length of side track, reverse lunge walk back, run around the track, down the stairs, up the stairs and back to the start, for a total of 4 sets.
– Death by burpees. Let me explain…each minute you perform a burpee, but each minute you add a burpee. So first minute, 1 burpee, second minute, 2 burpees, third, 3, and so on. Starts out easy, but by the time you get to 8, 9, 10 and more, it gets pretty tough. Oh, and these are the toughest burpees in the burpee progression video here.
So here’s where deception snuck in.
We were around 8 minutes in, and my 8 burpees were taking me about 16 seconds. I thought, “pssh, I can get 20 of these.” And then reality hit. Each minute kept getting tougher, each rest break getting shorter. 9, 10, 11…lungs burning, legs shaking, but still, I thought “Ok, maybe not 20, but I can get 15.” Rest periods go from 20 seconds, to 17, to 15, then 12….
The thirteenth minute. 13 burpees. Right after finishing off 12 burpees with about 10 or 11 seconds rest, I think, honestly it was kind of a blur.
I finish the 13 stupid burpees (by this point, yes, they become “stupid burpees’, try it and you’ll agree) and I’m done. I’m finished. I’m cooked. I’m shaking my head because my lungs are on fire, my legs, arms and chest are all shaking. I just want to collapse and call it a workout, because to this point, it’s been a great one. Surely, I could throw in the towel now and be happy. 13 was good enough, right? I mean, I had done more than anybody else, I was gasping for air and my muscles were on fire. Dude, you’re good.
Everybody even started to grab their waters, possibly heading for their keys and the door. But I saw the timer was still running. It was about 10 or 12 seconds into the 14 minute and it happened. I saw the deception in my head. I saw that I could do more. I could AT LEAST ATTEMPT MORE. If I didn’t finish, I would at least revel in the joy that I TRIED. I didn’t just throw in the towel.
Let’s just get this clear too, I’m in shape, but I HATE burpees. They never get easy. They always kick your butt. Yes, burpees suck. But, I’m able to do them, so I must do them. Seriously, not to be over-dramatic here, but there are people who are bound to wheelchairs who are not able to do burpees. I can guarantee you that if given the choice, they would choose the ability to walk and perform burpees rather than be confined to their chair. I am grateful that I can perform the exercises that suck, because one day I may not be able to.
Back to fourteen. Did I finish? Does it matter? The point is that I tried. The point is that 12 or so seconds past what was the starting pistol, I realized I could still go, I realized that my limit had not been met yet. I realized that everything in my body and my brain was screaming to stop, but I also realized that a small bit of my MIND said I had more.
So I gave it.
And when those last 3 seconds ticked off of that 14th minute, I collapsed. I couldn’t breathe. I could barely move. I stood up, only to collapse back onto the massage table in a lump of sweaty, gaspy, ass-whooped satisfaction. Boot camp was done…I was done. I was happy, even if I couldn’t breathe enough to tell anyone.
What does this have to do with you? You already know that succeeding takes expectation, not desire. But did you know it takes sacrifice? Are you aware of what sacrifice truly means?
Sacrifice will mean different things for people of different levels.
For somebody who’s never worked out and is trying to get into the routine, sacrifice is going to the gym before or after work (or school) when you DO NOT feel like it. Sacrifice means sucking it up and going because you know you’ll feel better afterwards, even if every ounce of your being is telling you to sleep in or to go home and relax.
If you’ve been working out for a little while now, sacrifice means pushing yourself. It means on that set of walking lunges, you go to the point that you said you’d go to, not stop 5 feet short because “oh my gosh, my legs are on fire.” Could you have gone a little further? Ask yourself that question. Could you have done another rep, or 5? Ask yourself that question.
YOU WILL KNOW THE ANSWER. Your ego may try to chime in with “yeah, that was pretty good, you did good…I mean, it was definitely good enough. Nobody else is doing this. Good enough work!” But deep inside, there will be a voice. It may be just a whisper initially, but the more you learn to hear it, the more you learn to listen for it and follow it, the louder it will become. But that voice of your true self, your guiding light, your heart, your soul, you inner Hero…it knows. And it tell you. It tells you if you truly left it all out there or if you could’ve done more. It doesn’t chastise, it doesn’t insult, it just watches. It observes you and lets you know the truth. And when you learn to hear it properly, you hear the truth. On my 14th minute, I didn’t have a choice. I had to, HAD TO, do more burpees, because my inner voice was screaming at me that I had more left to give.
Listen to yourself.
If you can’t hear the voice yet, know that it’s there. Know that the simple act of asking it the question “did I give it my all?” provides the ability to search deep down for the answer. It may be a quiet whisper. It may be almost imperceptible. But if you listen, you’ll feel it in your gut. Your gut instinct will translate the voice for you. And you will know the answer. Just like any other muscle or ability, the more you work it, the better you’ll become.
Things like tracking your food or workouts help. They help you see the progress you’re making. They help you know where to go.
Having a training partner can help push you, or if you’re alone, having an imaginary adversary to push you does wonders as well. I actually used that trick for a long time, and still do. If I’m lifting and starting to feel good about my lifts, I think of somebody who’s lifting more. Not 100’s more, just a few pounds, so it’s not a crushing sensation, but a realization that I can give a little more. If I’m running, I picture somebody just a few feet ahead of me, or a loved one in danger at the end of the track, and I kick it up another notch. Try it, I promise it works.
Reading motivational material helps fire you up and keep you focused during the day. Keeping the fires burning extrinsically is an extremely important thing to do and it can help you drive towards your goal.
Writing your own motivational thoughts and thoughts of gratitude can help light the intrinsic fires of self-motivation, which is even more important. It is probably one of THE most important things you can do. Finding your WHY will take care of the how, when, what and where of your fitness and life journey.
These are all great things to do, and I highly encourage you all to pursue them.
But when it all comes down to it, ask yourself, are you sacrificing what you have to give? Are you pushing yourself out of your comfort zone? Are you taking action?
Ask yourself, “Did I really just do everything I could on that set?” Ask yourself, “Did I really make the best effort to eat healthy this week?”
Everybody’s answer will be different, so don’t compare your answer to that of anyone else. It is only when YOUR answer to those questions is a YES that comes from deep within, a YES that fills your gut with excitement and satisfaction, a YES that fills your heart with the joy of achievement…only then will you know you can EXPECT YOUR RESULTS.
Have a great rest of the day, I’ll see you tomorrow!!