Authors update: I no longer believe that working hard is a good thing. You can get results without it. Please read The Secret Service Snatch Test Is Not Hard.
October’s almost done, but there’s another aspect of fear we haven’t talked about yet.
I’ve started teaching a kettlebell class on Tuesday nights at a local Crossfit gym. The gym is run by a couple of great friends of mine who are both tough as nails and really strong. If you don’t know what Crossfit it, it consists of doing really, really, really hard workouts, doing them often, and always trying to do more work in less time.
I don’t do the Crossfit workouts. I have my reasons. It’s nothing personal, I just have different goals. But one thing about Crossfit has really gotten me thinking lately.
Fear of a good thing?
When I arrive at the gym for my own training, I’m often there just as a group of CFers are getting ready for their own workout. They usually talk as if they are terrified of what they are about to do. Many of them are terrified. They know that 15 minutes later they will be lying on the ground moaning. They may vomit. When you do puke during a CF workout, you do get to write your name on the Puke Board.
Yes, such a thing exists. Yes, my name is on it, but I was sick that day and went back to the gym too early. And it was heavy day on the sublime Return of The Kettlebell Program. It’s a freaking glorious thing.
Is the fear healthy? Is it logical? Is it dangerous?
No guts no glory.
No pain no gain.
Pain is candy.
Pain is weakness leaving the body.
These slogans make great slogans and t-shirts and half-time speeches for coaches in the movies who are trying to fire up their underdogs. But they also imply–at least indirectly–that the pain might be the purpose, rather than the physical benefits. The pain is not the means to an end, but an end of its own.
If that’s true–I’m not saying I think it is–but if that could be true, it would be a bad thing. This probably sounds hypocritical from the man who wrote the See You In Hell post a couple of months ago right before I went to the gym, but bear with me.
If you push to the point of fatigue so that your form breaks down, you need to quit or go lighter. Slop is slop. A sloppy rep is not worth counting. Most things that are worth doing are worth doing every day, but also worth doing correctly.
So I pace myself, I do everything as well as I can, and I focus on the quality of the work, not the quantity. I never get so tired that I can’t move. I never get so tired that my form breaks down.
So…I never get myself into a state that I would need to fear. I look forward to my workouts. There are days when I can’t wait to get in there and tear it up. That doesn’t mean they don’t hurt. That doesn’t meant that it’s necessarily fun while it’s happening. But I never approach any of my strength pursuits with the slightest bit of dread. I love it too much for that.
What do you think? Any of you scared of your workouts, or exercise in general? Does it help you or hurt you?
If you liked this post, please Subscribe To The RSS feed.