If you watch a MMA fighter in the cage, it can get pretty ugly quick. It doesn’t take that long to figure out they really need to be able to take some punches. They have to learn to get out of bad situations, and they have to have a lot of stamina to endure some of those strong holds – and fight through the pain.
It’s really not much different than life, as well as our fitness journey. To the outside world, they may see us getting beat up day after day – constantly dieting, constantly working out. They may see us get knocked down, and they may even see us get knocked out – BUT, that doesn’t mean we are failing.
How many fighters get pummeled the entire fight, only to win? How many guys have you seen get knocked out, only to turn around and reclaim their title.
What can appear as struggle, really can be a sign of someone not willing to give up. Because, if you aren’t struggling at all, you aren’t trying hard enough.
Hang in there, keep fighting, be ready to take some punches and be ready to throw some punches too…because you can be a winner!
How many times have you heard someone say, “well, she doesn’t have kids”, “I’d look like that too if I didn’t have to work”, “he’s just genetically gifted”, or “if I could afford a trainer, I could lose weight too”?
It’s so easy to think that people who reach their goals don’t have struggles, just because they may not be experiencing the SAME struggles as you may be facing. Believe me, losing weight, eating healthy and exercising IS a struggle at times. Some may even say it’s a CONSTANT struggle. However, those struggles don’t dictate whether you fail or not. It’s how you deal with those struggles that will determine if you succeed.
Do you let your struggles, or your goals, define you?
You WILL have struggles, but you don’t have to focus on them. You don’t have to give in and you don’t have to let them win. Instead, keep your eye fixed on the prize!! Seek, conquer, destroy!
7 Ways to Conquer Struggle
In many ways, you are in a battle – a battle with yourself, your weaknesses, your life and anything else that might get in the way of your goal. You face an “enemy” every day, so every day you should be prepared for battle. Here are 7 ways you can defeat struggle..
1. Acknowledge It. You can’t conquer something you don’t even acknowledge. Be honest with yourself. Make a list of your struggles and share them with people who support and love you.
2. Build You Army. Once you have a known enemy, you gather your troops – so why not do the same with fitness? Once you pick a few strong fitness soldiers, read them in and make an attack plan.
3. Hide Your Weakness. An army doesn’t want it’s enemy to discover their weaknesses so they are very careful who they share certain information with. So, if you have weaknesses, besides sharing them with your own secure group, don’t talk about it, post about it, complain about it or even whisper about it.
4. Strengthen Your Weaknesses. Your weaknesses will remain weak unless you purposefully work on them. Everyone loves to work on their strengths because it leaves them feeling strong and victorious. However, it’s often times that one weak spot that can bring even the strongest man to his knees.
5. Protect Your Investment. Armies build barricades and walls to protect their investment, so why don’t you build barriers to protect YOUR investment. If you work hard in the gym, then work even harder to make sure nothing destroys what you are working hard to create. Don’t let people, and stuff, in your life that could destroy you or set you back.
6. Navigate Around It. If your struggle is something you can avoid (like a restaurant or type of food) do all you can to keep it away from you. It’s up to you to come up with the safest path of attack.
7. Fight Back. If you are attacked, you fight back. If your enemy calls you weak, you show them you are strong. So, if you feel weak, lift something heavy. If you feel like a failure, then be sure to succeed. Basically, whatever your struggle is, prove it wrong. Once you have conquered it once, you will know you can conquer it again. Each time you do it, you will get stronger and stronger – and be unstoppable!
*This image of Pauline Nordin (pictured above) appeared on the cover of the March 19 issue of Marine Corps Times.
We all have our share of struggles. From struggling with our weight, our workouts, our marriage, our carriers, our family, our finances….we all experience tough times. But there is a great reward for toughing it out and not giving up.
My grandfather, who was a Geologist, once explained to me that Diamonds weren’t always beautiful. They were formed from ugly rock buried deep beneath the earth, under great amounts of pressure and extreme temperatures over long periods of time. I’ll never forget him explaining that to me – and I think about it all the time.
Some of the greatest accomplishments require us to withstand extreme pressure and uncomfortable situations, deep beneath the earth (unnoticed and unappreciated) for long periods of time – and it’s not until we are finished enduring what it takes to be molded and transformed into what God has intended for us, that we can ever quit. If we truly want to be transformed, we can’t avoid it.
If you try to avoid it, and quit too soon, you will remain the “ugly rock” – unfinished. If you stick it out, you can be totally transformed, sculpted into something beautiful, inside and out. I’m not just talking about outer beauty and sculpted muscle. I’m talking about a total transformation process – transforming your mind, your spirit, your body and your life.
There is a reason God allows us to struggle at times. It is required for transformation. There is a reason we aren’t “lifted up” out of the shadows and dirt – sometimes we are just not ready to shine …yet. There is a reason we get humbled. Many times, our ugly pride needs to be crushed.There are reasons we experience sloooooooow success, it grows patience and forces us to rely on God more than ourselves.
There are reasons fitness takes work, it teaches us discipline and self-control. It teaches us about calories, about our body and bout what we are capable of. It shows us our potential. It challenges us, it humbles us, it drives us, it exposes our weaknesses and shows us our strengths.
I encourage you today, no matter what you are going through in life, or in your fitness journey, remember to continue to endure and not give up so you can be radically transformed. You are a diamond in the making. Stick it out.
People tell me their fitness struggles often. They explain how they struggle with their weight, struggle getting to the gym, struggle making time, struggle eating right, struggle feeling motivated, struggle knowing what to do – the list of struggles goes on. My answer is this: “If you’re struggling, that means you haven’t given up yet, so that’s a good thing. It means you are a FIGHTER.”
I can work with someone who hasn’t given up. I can’t work with someone who doesn’t even try to fight it out.
The question I have next is what type of fighter are you.
1. The Beginner: Round one. Beginners have no clue what they are doing, but they know they want to be a champ someday. They show up and do what they are told. They’re punches are weak and their form is off, but if they keep showing up they’ll improve day after day. They just need to realize becoming a champ doesn’t happen overnight.
2. The Dancer: Dancers prance around the ring dodging anything that might hurt. They want to be in the ring, but they don’t want to fight. They want to have a body of a champ, but they resist doing what they must do to get the results they want. At first glance, this person appears to be doing all the right things. They train hard, they go to the gym often, and they play the fit part. But when push comes to shove, they prance around the issues they need to hit the hardest. The same way a boxer bounces around the ring hoping to wear their opponent out, a Dancer in the fitness world hopes to just work the fat off without taking any blows to their diet or to their comfy fitness routine. The do the workouts they like, not need – and refuse to give up the things that are holding them back. In the end, their sloppy theory and cockiness gets them in trouble, and they normally always lose the fight.
3. The Spectator: This person sits ringside, and will tell you every punch you need to throw and every move you need to make – but they’ll never get in the ring. They know all the right things to do, but they won’t do it themselves. Whether it’s fear of failure or that they’re just not ready to commit, if this person ever wants to raise their gloves in the air, they’ll have to be willing to be step outside their comfort zone and step into the ring with the best of them.
4. The Fighter: Fighters are the pros – they actually work hard every day to eat right and workout, they just aren’t throwing the right punches or they’re leaving themselves open for bad hit. If they ever wanna be a champ, they have to keep getting back up after they get knocked down, figure out what they are doing wrong (and I promise, no matter how great they are, if they are losing the weight loss battle, they are doing something wrong), and they have to be patient. They surround themselves with the best athletes and coaches, and avoid distractions at all cost. They are focused, they are determined, and they will become champions.
Ideally, we should all be fighters – but we should be fighters that keep improving. A good fighter trains often, has a good coach and never, ever, ever gives up.
No matter what you are training for, if you want to improve there is one thing that’s always required. It’s something we try to avoid. We detest it, we run from it, and we do anything to not experience it. I’m talking about a good old-fashioned struggle.
No one becomes a better musician by playing easy pieces and no one gets stronger by lifting light weight. Strength comes only with a struggle – because that’s when strength is really required.
A good musician will struggle through a difficult piece, over and over, until they’ve mastered it. Physical strength is required. A guitarist’s fingers may get so tender their joints ache, their muscles cramp, and their fingertips bleed. Mental strength is also required. No one likes failure, yet failure is requirement to success. Rarely does anyone master something challenging on the first attempt, so they must resist the temptation to give up no matter how many times they fail.
Easy Develops Weakness
You don’t have to be strong on a good day. Strength is not required to do things that come easy to us. Therefore, those things will not make us stronger. Of matter of fact, we may even become weaker.
Change only happens you are challenged, yet we’ve been taught to avoid challenges – as if challenges and difficulties are bad. So, we avoid discomfort, we avoid inconvenience, we avoid pain and we avoid difficulties. However, those are the things we will need to endure to produce change.
We tease around our house “don’t pray for patience, or God will just give you more opportunities to practice”, but this is so true. If you want to improve an any area of your life, you will need more opportunities to WORK on that area.
If you want to become leaner, stronger, faster or run longer, you will have to challenge your body in those areas. Otherwise, expect to be exactly where you are ten years from now.
If you aren’t struggling, you aren’t changing!
1. Try to lift your one-rep max (the heaviest weight you can push for one rep) on at least one exercise today.
2. Try to sprint your fastest pace for a quarter mile.
3. Forfeit one of your favorite regular foods or drinks today as a reminder you are in control.