Don't Quit at Mile 20

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Most people who run marathons finish them.

Most.  But not all. 

At the 2016 New York City marathon
there were almost 700 people who didn't make it to the end.
It's hard to find serious data on this
but conventional wisdom is that most people who quit
drop out at about Mile 20.

But people don't quit at Mile 1.  Or Mile 2.  Or Mile 5.

They quit when they're 75% through, or 80%, or 85%.

They quit when they're so close they can almost taste it.

Most people I see quit CrossFit, quit at Mile 20.
By which I mean they quit right at that point
where you've gone through the pain and put in the work
but the results you've been dreaming of haven't come yet.

And every time someone quits at Mile 20 I try to talk them out of it
because it's a tragedy to give up when you're that close to the finish line.

I get it.  The urge to quit a 5-round workout is always strongest for me
at the beginning of round 4.  The pain is there,
but it doesn't seem like it's worth it yet.  But you're so close.

And you might not be at Mile 20 right now,
thinking about giving up when the finish line is almost in sight...
but your friend might be.

So tell them.

Say, "you're almost there.  Stick with it a little longer.
I'll pick you up before class.
I'll schedule my workouts with yours.
Let's cross that finish line together."

Keep moving FORWARD
and cross that finish line
and get that medal.

It's yours for the taking.

3 ways to STOP skipping workouts

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The WOD starts in 70 minutes and there you are...
The ZP app is open, you check the workout.

Looks rough.

And then your thumb moves back to "Calendar"
and heads on up to "Reservations"
and you click on the class
and see that bright red bar on the bottom of the screen...
"CANCEL RESERVATION."

And there your thumb hovers.
68 minutes now.
64 minutes.
61 minutes.  If you're going to cancel, now's the time.
You click it and put your phone down and go back
to what you were doing.

How do you feel as you crawl into bed that night?
Proud?  Accomplished?  Satisfied that you did your best today?
Or... something else?

I totally get it, by the way.
I've been training consistently for the last decade
and with CrossFit for the last 7 years.
I thought one day I would no longer struggle with
wanting to work out and I'd just have an eternal fountain of motivation.

False.

But it doesn't have to derail you.
And the fact that you canceled yesterday
(or have already canceled today)
doesn't mean you can't right the ship.

Here are 3 questions to ask yourself before you cancel that next class.
Ask yourself them each time you see that big red "Cancel" bar.

1. Am I worth it?

Name one thing more important than your health (there are only a few right answers here).  Being healthy makes you stronger (so you can help others), happier (endorphins, look it up), more useful to other people, less stressed, lowers your health care costs, makes you more productive, more patient, more resilient when life gets hard both physically and mentally, and makes you sleep better and live longer, to name just a few benefits.  There is almost literally nothing in your life that is not better when you're exercising.  One hour is a pretty small investment in making literally your entire life better.  Are you worth that investment?  (Spoiler: YES).

2. Who am I letting down?

Rough question, right?  I'm ok with that.  People believe in you, you know.  Coaches and athletes, EVERYONE at the gym does.  We're all excited to see you on the roster and glad to see you when you walk in, no matter how long it's been since your last workout.  You have family and friends who are proud of you and the work you've done.  You may not even know it, but people see you and are inspired by you because they know that if you can do it, they can do it.  Don't live your life to impress others, but if you have a hard time taking care of yourself for YOU, then do it for THEM.  Do it because your Dad is proud, because your daughter looks up to you, because your friend finally quit smoking because of you.

3. Am I motivated?

That's what we call a trick question.  Because the answer doesn't matter.  The most important thing I've learned about success in fitness or any other area of life is that if you rely on motivation, you will fail.  Motivation comes and goes with things like whether or not you had caffeine, whether or not you're hungry, how much you slept last night, if you're sad, if your blood sugar is low.  It is fickle and unreliable and if you wait for motivation you will not get to where you want to be.

What you need is DISCIPLINE.  Discipline is what allows you to go work out even when you're not motivated.  And the good news is that every time you use your discipline it gets stronger.  Just like your legs or arms or any other muscle.

 

Next time your thumb is on that button ask yourself those questions...
Am I worth it? (YES)
Who am I letting down? (Mom, Dad, Susan, Jimmy?)
Am I motivated? (I DON'T NEED MOTIVATION)

Then cancel if you want to.

But you don't have to.
And I hope you don't.

Win the Mental Battle

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What's the hardest part of the workout?

The burpees?
Kettlebell swings?
Thrusters? (by FAR, my least favorite)

Nope.  It's not that those things are so hard...
It's making yourself do those things that's so hard.

When your pulse is pounding faster than the booming music,
sweat is pouring into your eyes,
you're gasping for air,
and all you want to do in the whole world is stop...

Making yourself pick up that bar,
drop down to the floor,
swing that kettlebell...
that's where the real battle is.

Here are maybe the 3 most powerful words in your arsenal...

JUST GET ONE

When you finish those pull-ups and walk over to the barbell,
dreading the burn that you know is coming...
pick that bar up and
JUST GET ONE.

When you're so blasted you can hardly see straight
but you can still make out that kettlebell on the floor...
waiting for you... mocking you...
pick it up and
JUST GET ONE.

Those things you hate to do rise up and they look like unbeatable demons.
And they have the most power in the moment of your fear and hesitation.
You do one rep and you take their power away.
You do one rep and it proves to you that you can do it.
You do one rep and it keeps you moving FORWARD.

And 9 times out of 10, one rep turns into 3 or 5 or 10,
and before you know it, you've destroyed another workout
and left it behind you.

It's a huge psychological win.
And that's not half the battle...
It's the whole damn war.

Grab that bar.
Swing that kettlebell.
Drop to the floor.

And JUST. GET. ONE.