Saturday, August 14, 2010

Mental Toughness

Being in gyms and participating in sports and crazy dangerous recreation my whole life, I have been exposed to a lot of situations that tear people down to their base components. Watching people strip away the layers that they have built up to expose a spirit that is driven and determined is cathartic and inspiring, watching them quit when the work gets hard is disappointing and shameful. These people are separated from each other by their mental toughness, their ability to bear hardship and see it through to the other end. Many lack this trait because they are afraid to earn it, and many more have not ever been put in a situation in which they can progressively excel.

Sports tests people, sets them against themselves and others. At the end of the day it is not how well you did against another person, it is how you lived up to the expectations you have for yourself, if you don’t have any then you better set some.

The other day I got a group of seven young guys (16-17), they are all Norwegian so their English is a bit variable, these guys were hungry for a change of pace, they wanted something different, something to make them stronger, which is why they choose to work with me. I put these guys through a fairly basic workout:

Dynamic Warmup

1a)Pushups : 4x15

1b)Diesel Rows: 4x5-10

2a)Zercher Squat: 4x10 (30kg sandbag)

2b) Bear Crawl: 4x35m

2c)Band Press-outs: 4x8 (each side, black band)

It kicked their collective ass, but those guys dug deep within themselves and went the extra mile; a couple more reps, pushing through the burn, puking and coming back to finish. I asked the one who puked if he was ok, this was his response; “Yeah I’m fine, I've never done or seen training like this, so it’s ok”. I thought he would take it easy, lots of people get scared by throwing up, both clients who have thrown up (another guy lost it on the bench mark workout), collected themselves and came right back.

These guys are being challenged and they are rising to that challenge, these physical challenges will expand their sense of self and temper their resolution for the rest of their lives. When they are done training with me they will be far more able to face physical and mental challenges in any situation that may arise. I am giving them the tools and they are using them. I have a shit eating grin during these training sessions, nothing makes me happier then to see people bettering themselves, unless that is seeing them doing as part of my training.

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