We’ve all seen it. Most of us have done it many times. You’re near the end of your workout, the clock is ticking away, and you’re out of breath. Your legs are jelly, you’re exhausted. You CAN’T. GET. ENOUGH. AIR. Finally, it’s over, and you’re done!
Now you’re laid-out on the floor, gasping for air like a fish out of water. Another “tough workout”, right?
Here’s the thing, if you find yourself in that position every single time you finish a workout or conditioning piece, you’re missing the forest for the trees. What if I told you that you could get more out of your workouts without killing yourself every time the clock starts?
There is a widespread mindset among the “High intensity functional fitness community”, that in order to make progress, you’ve got to really push yourself. That’s not entirely wrong, but I’m here to tell you that adopting that mindset to every workout you do is extremely counterproductive, and dangerous. Not to mention, it’s a surefire way to burn yourself out mentally, and end up dreading your workouts.
To improve, and perform better, we need to work at a level of intensity that allows us to not only move safely, but to move well. If you are moving at a rate that is sacrificing your technique all so you can shave a few seconds off the clock, or get a few more reps in, you’re asking for trouble. Developing our energy systems takes time and practice. Just like our strength, it takes consistent and deliberate effort.
We are all different. We’re built differently, and our bodies respond to various training modalities differently. That’s the beauty of our biology. One of the biggest assets you can have in your “fitness arsenal” is an understanding of your own unique strengths and weaknesses, and when it is appropriate to test your limits. This starts with exposing yourself to various training stimuli, and gaining a perspective over time. It also requires working with a qualified Professional who can help guide you, and hone that understanding.
Ultimately though, what you choose to do with that understanding is up to you. Every time you walk into the gym, you are surrounded by unique individuals. People with various backgrounds in fitness, sport, lifestyle, you name it. It’s fine to occasionally “compete” with one another, but that’s not how real progress is made. For real progress, you need to keep your blinders on, and focus on YOU.
You’ve got nothing to prove to anyone in the gym but yourself. So the next time you think that you need to go H.A.M because Sally or Ken is kicking ass right beside you, remember, you’re here to run YOUR OWN RACE. You’ll make much more substantial progress, and your body will thank you.