A couple of weeks back we had a workout at The Quad that involved running, more running and honestly, not much more than running. Actually, here is the workout.
– Run 100m
– Do 1 burpee
Repeat for as many rounds as possible in 30 minutes.
Now, this is not characteristic of The Quad in anyway. We are all about doing the big moves in a regimented, varied, fun and competitive fashion but this one was different. It was an endurance challenge and everyone had to compete. As I was explaining the workout, I saw faces shrink smaller and smaller and when I said “This is all you’re going to do for 30 minutes and, one way or the other, we’re going to make sure you work for the entire 30 minutes!” most faces turned sour and then sad and then angry!
About 8 minutes into the workout, one of my best, most intense and most dedicated athletes looks at me as he runs and goes “Boring!”. This came as a surprise to me but then I realized that this was one person who said it but we probably had another 100 trainees who thought this at various points of time during the workout. But, being diligent and sincere Quadsters, every single trainee did the entire workout. Some did 30 rounds, while some others did 60 but most of them (except the running enthusiasts) were thoroughly annoyed at the end of the session.
But guess what? We’ll do this challenge again at a later date when it makes sense as a part of the periodized training program. And again.
Why? Because just like there are foods that make you feel great instantly and there are foods that make you healthy in the long run, you understand the point of certain elements of training only after you’ve given it time to rest and sink in.
The number of emails, text messages and in-person comments we received a week after the challenge was amazing!
“I never thought I could ever run for 30 minutes! I was angry at first, but you guys have done it again!”
“Coach! Didn’t realize I sucked so much at running. What should I do to improve?”
“If not for that challenge, I never would’ve even considered running. It was a shocker that I was able to run for 4 kilometers while doing burpees every 100 meters!”
“That endurance challenge made me ask you think – Is my endurance is that bad? Can we work on it please?”
“I was able to run, albeit slowly, for the entire 30 minutes. Do you think you can help me train for the 10k that is coming up in July?”
“I just realized I ran 3 kilometers!”
I can list another 20 quotes, but you get the idea. You need to venture out of your comfort zone and test yourself. Sometimes you’ll be pleasantly surprised and sometimes rudely shocked. But that is the nature of the game.
It is very common to see people doing what they like and only what they like. Runners run. Lifters lift. Sportsmen play. Cyclists cycle. But fitness is beyond just doing what you like to do or what you’re good at. Fitness is about honing your strengths by conquering your weaknesses. It is about challenging yourself. It is about getting out of your comfort zone and testing yourself in order to understand your true capabilities. Fitness is a mindset.
Getting out of your comfort zone, challenging yourself, accepting your weakness and rebuilding yourself is not easy. You may not understand it today. You may not benefit from it immediately. You may not enjoy doing it the first time. But trust me – believe, commit and give it all you got and you’ll soon have your Aha moment.
I’m going to end by quoting something someone who I respect plenty said once to me –
“Not everything we do in life needs to have a point. Or maybe, we just don’t see the point… yet.”