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Shut up and train.

I once read this idiom on the back of a guy’s sweat-soaked shirt as he labored through a set of throwing some weights around. I thought nothing of it at the time. Macho men wear shirts that say things macho things I guess.

I think he was making a statement about the nature of a Bally’s or a 24-hour at around 6 pm which looks more like happy hour with spandex than a gym. No matter. If this is what he intended I’m sure the sweaty socialites were too busy looking busy to notice.

But “Shut up and Train” got me thinking, not about gym fraternizing, but about the things we say to ourselves and others when we train. On any given day I am given objections from our  athletes about what they “know” they can and can’t do.

These objections along with complaints and excuses, to me, are the single biggest handicap to an athletes progress towards elite fitness. No physical condition albeit gender, age, illness, or injury will do more to blunt advancement than a Well crafted excuse we are convinced of.

I believe the bulk of excuses are not given to avoid hard work because of sloth or laziness but because we believe them. We are too quick to argue for our shortcomings. We accept that old age means our physical condition HAS to get worse. Aging MUST be accompanied with weight gain and prescription medication. Ya…no.

We need to get in the habit of challenging the things we think we “know”.

The truth is, We have no idea what we’re capable of. Not even close.

I can’t even count the amount of times I’ve fed myself  some excuse or rationalization to absolve me from a workout or anything I just didn’t want to do. Luckily, I got a crazy Red-Head for a training partner with a nasty habit of asking…

“why not?”

“Uh… I already told you. My big toe hurts.”…Ok Fine I’ll do it.”

I got into the habit of just refusing to believe my own objections to do things that will enhance my fitness/life.

And wuddya know… Most of the time my excuses were unwarranted.

This is not to say if you have a bad knee to run a marathon. But instead of shooting yourself down with an “I can’t”, stop and think about what you are telling yourself. Is it something you’re saying out of fear or is it a real concern. If it’s the latter ask yourself “how can I make this work?”

I once broke my leg and was so bummed out that I would not be able to work out. Then I said to myself, “Can’t Workout?! says who???” I ate better and worked out just as much only avoiding those things that would interfere with my healing. I got my self out of my head and realized that things would be more difficult but not impossible.

“Until we’re willing to go too far, We’ll never Know how far we can go.”

With that, Here is the list of DO NOT SAY’s

  1. “I’ve already tried that.”
  2. “I can’t….. (run, jump, lift weights)”
  3. “I won’t….. (run, jump, lift weights)”
  4. “I’m old enough to be your mother” {my favorite}
  5. “I already know I’ll never be skinny/fit/strong/etc.”
  6. “I’m too old for that”
  7. “I have a thyroid problem”
  8. “I’m not a runner”
  9. “I wish I was as young as you”
  10. “That’s easy for you to say!”
  11. “I wanna lose 30lbs. Is it possible?”
  12. “I don’t feel up to it today”
  13. “I think I’m just going to get Lipo”
  14. “There is no way I’m doing that!”
  15. “I can’t/ don’t-have-time to eat at work”
  16. “I don’t have time”

All these phrases express in one way or another feelings of defeat and ineptitude. It places you as a victim. Placing blame on outside circumstances rather than accepting responsibility for your own  well-being. You are not a victim. Much of your reality is negotiable so fight mercilessly to squeeze the every bit of juice out of the little orange called life to make your life better. C’mon..what do you have to lose besides a few pounds and a little pride??

So next time you are tempted to throw yourself a pity party remember there are those people who have had it way worse and have done so much. Their stories are more compelling because the odds were stacked against them.

So don’t just accept, but embrace your shortcomings because they make you more interesting and your victory soooo much sweeter. So shut up and train 🙂

Can you think of any phrases that’d be better left unsaid?

xo

image by  legdog