OK, can I get a count by lifting your hands: Who wants to be weak? I’m pretty sure no one is raising their hand right now. No one is jumping up and down saying “Meeee! Meee!” No one wants to be weak. People want to be STRONG! And even if they are not strong, they want to appear strong.
What is required for strength? Well, in the fitness world, building strength requires lifting things that are quite difficult. It requires putting your body under great pressure. Our body doesn’t get stronger using the same 5lbs weights we started with. No, we have to keep moving up, keep trying heavier weights and keep challenging our body – many times to the point of failure (or perceived failure).
I personally HATE to fail. That’s why I hate pistol squats. I only can do so many before complete failure. Not only that, I can’t do them really well, and I can’t do that many of them. Even if I do as many as I set out to do, I consider myself a failure because they aren’t deep as I want, I’m not flexible enough to hold my dang foot out in front of me and I am not strong enough to pump that many out. I leave that exercise every time feeling like a big fat failure.
This is why I don’t like doing them. This is why I want to quit trying them. I stink at them. BUUUUT, I know I will NEVER get any better, any stronger or any more flexible unless I keep trying them.
Part of success is mastering the art of failing without it getting in the way of your goals.
We must realize every success requires many failures. We MUST fail to succeed. Every failure teaches us what not to do, it tests our strength, it teaches us discipline, it challenges our poor attitude and it grows our character. The good news is with every failure, is also a mini-success. These smaller successes help keep us trying. BUT, without trying, we never experience the small successes.
No one likes to fail. In fact, people try to avoid failure at all costs. People don’t love, for the risk of a failed relationship. People don’t pursue their dreams, because of the risk of failure. Many people don’t even start a diet or workout program because they don’t believe they can succeed and don’t want to be a failure in that too. However, if you want to succeed, you need to be ready for many failures (big or small) along the way. Part of success is mastering the art of failing without it getting in the way of your goals.
Don’t give into your weaknesses. Decide to be strong today. Accept that failure is a part of life, and the more chances you have to fail, the more chances you have to succeed.
Imagine dieting for weeks, training twice a day 7 days a week, taking all the right supplements, and ordering all the products you need to be on stage to look your best wearing next to nothing to expose every muscle to judges and hundreds of spectators – and BAM! You get injured 10 days away from the big day.
The Monkey Wrench
That’s what happened to my husband, Steve Pfiester, last week. Everyone who was there in the room with him heard the dreadful snap of his MCL and medial meniscus. It’s what every athlete fears most. He couldn’t walk. He couldn’t even dangle his leg without supporting it to prevent pain. He was afraid to move. He was paralyzed. Within 2 hours, I bought knee braces and crutches just so he could get from the couch to the bathroom. His plans of competing September the 22nd appeared to be gone.
The next day Steve was in and out of doctor’s offices, getting checked out and getting an MRI. Within minutes of his MRI, his General Physician and Radiologist were reading the results and sending Steve to Vero Orthopedics. That’s when he heard words that were music to his ears. “Steve, this is just a bump in the road”. This was the second time he heard this statement in one day – first by his general physician, Dr. Nick Cappola of Compassionate Medical Center, and now from Orthopedic Surgeon, Dr. Steinfeild.
Dr. Steinfield continued to explain his diagnosis. The MCL will require 6 weeks recovery and rehabilitation. The medial meniscus could require surgery, but we won’t know until the MCL heals. The best news was the doc said Steve could be weight-bearing and workout as long as it didn’t hurt him. Although exercise didn’t seem possible at that moment, Steve wanted to at least try.
Get After It
Just 8 days later, we are full steam ahead getting for Steve’s competition, packing his bags, and preparing his food. Steve has decided he will be on that stage even if he has to limp his way through this thing. He doesn’t want to take the easy way out. He has EVERY excuse to quit, and to grab a big fat pizza and cry over his broken knee. But, instead, he’s using this as even a bigger part of his challenge – just one more thing to conquer.
Not only does he have to get through his workouts still, he has to fight the swelling, bruising and pain. His knee is not only swollen, he has fluid and blood pooling down in his ankle. He will have to get all of that out by Saturday so he is as symmetrical as possible at the NPC Daytona Beach Classic – because the judges won’t care if he’s been hurt, so having one fat Flintstone foot isn’t an option.
Personal Challenge vs. Public Contest
This competition is not about winning first place. It’s not about being seen half naked so people can admire his abs. This show is not about vanity or notoriety. This is about pushing his body to its limits. It’s about practicing discipline and self-control – and that hasn’t changed. If nothing else, it’s become harder and requires more discipline and more pushing. For Steve, this is a personal challenge that will be victorious as long as he doesn’t quit. Win or lose, he is a winner for not giving up when he had every excuse to.
You don’t have to be a bodybuilder to learn from this. We ALL have good excuses to quit trying, to cheat on your diet, or to skip a workout. Whether it’s a bad day, a busy schedule or an injury, we can all justify quitting if we want to quit bad enough. Believe me, Steve could have come home the night he got injured and dive in big fat juicy burger, and down some beers to wash his sorrows away, but he didn’t. Instead he focused on why he SHOULDN’T QUIT – and there were more reasons not to quit than there were to give up.
No matter what excuses come your way – you can use them or you can beat them. It’s your choice.
Read Steve’s blog, “Train Hurt or Go Home (or Should You?)” for more on training through an injury.
It’s not that I WANT to do the WORK, it’s that I WANT the REWARD.
So I will RUN, I will TRAIN, I will DIET – no matter how I feel at that moment, because it’s how I want to feel in the moments to come that matters most.
pFIT pFACTS: It’s Not What I Want to DO, It’s What I Want to GET
- One hour of fatigue and muscle soreness will improve the other 23 hours of my day.
- One 3-mile run clears my head and my body fat.
- One high-calorie splurge only tastes good for 15 minutes, and makes me feels bad the rest of the day.
- Healthy food fuels me and makes me feel fit.
- Protein fills me and helps my muscles repair.
- Pumping iron makes my muscles hard and tight, no matter what mood I’m in.
- Abs suck, but a flabby belly sucks a lot worse when you are half naked on the beach.
- Laziness fuels more laziness. Activity fuels more activity – energizing me to another level.
- No one wants to grow up to be Fat & Lazy.
- Being disciplined gives me power and confidence.
- If I don’t run, I will waste the same amount of time doing something meaningless.
- If I don’t train, I will likely give in to crappy food and compromise.
- If I DO run, I will feel empowered and successful because I fought laziness and won.
- If I DO train, I will not screw it all up on tasting something stupid for 5 minutes.
The pFACT is, I am lazy. I like food. I don’t like working out, I don’t like running. I don’t like being out of breath. I don’t like when your muscle burns to the point it feels like it’s going to catch fire. BUT I DO like feeling fit and tone. I DO like feeling good in my clothes. I DO like the energy and feeling fitness gives me. SO, I no matter how much I don’t like it, it really doesn’t matter because if I do the work, I’ll get the reward whether I felt like doing the work or not – and in the end, I know it will all be worth it. No Regrets.