I have to drive off course for this entry and discuss the other passion in my life…fitness.
I am constantly asked for advice on losing weight, getting bigger, getting stronger and eating healthy. The problem is that too often when people find out I don’t have a simple or easy answer, they almost always lose interest. Everyone is hoping I can suggest a pill, diet, machine or exercise that will solve their problems. When I can’t give that to them, people then assume I must just have good genetics or that I am using some supplement or steroids that are the source of my results. People don’t want the truth…because the truth is work.
The problem is that you’re not with me. You don’t see me at 6 am in the gym. You’re not there when my lungs are burning, my legs are shaking, my hands are raw, when the bile is rising in my throat. You’re not there when every fiber in my body is screaming at me, a symphony of sweat, pain and lactic acid rising to a thunderous crescendo. This is the moment I live for. There is no mortgage, no job, no deadlines. I live for the peak of that crescendo. That moment when time slows and I am completely in my head and there is nothing but a choice. A choice to give in to the voices that tell me to stop. The voices that tell me I’m not strong enough, not fit enough, not good enough… that I should just quit and give up and get out. In this moment I am alone and my only obstacles are fear and doubt. This is gut check. Choice.
There is me…I am in my mind and there is a mirror. There is sweat and pain and fatigue, and as I look myself in the eye I nod. I smile. I feel a sense calm rising from the base of my being and as it spreads that calm drowns the fear and doubt. I have made the choice. As time quickens I am drawn back to my task. Fear, doubt and fatigue are replaced by calm, focus and energy. My legs are still shaking, my hands are still raw, I can still taste the bile… but I am at peace. I have succeeded in the face of my only true opposition, the barriers I impose on myself. I have prevailed. That is the source of true contentment.
The more I look in the mirror and nod and make those choices the more I feel free. The more I make that choice in the gym, the easier it is to make that choice in the face of the other challenges in my life.
Whether it is in a gym, the pool, on a bike, on a climbing wall or on the ice rink, find your own challenge. Find those mirror moments. Find choice…that choice will set you free.
PS A huge thanks to Ken, Lindsay and all of the great people at Crossfit Ramsay…you’ve helped me find that moment again and I am grateful.