From one athlete to another

“Sometimes it takes a really hard push to get yourself there. Sometimes you literally have to force yourself to put your shoes on and go. Sometimes you even think twice as you walk over because you are so sore from previous workouts, or so tired from working all day or supporting your family. Some of us fight anxiety and stress everyday from various parts of our lives, making the gym the last place we want to be mentally-BUT, this is the one place we are able to leave it all outside for an hour. We might be overtaken by it for 23 hours of the day, but this one hour is ours, and ours alone. We give so much of ourselves to everyone else during the day, but I am here to tell you that this hour is not only good for you, it is good for all of the other things and people you give yourself to for the rest of the day.

During this hour we are forced to think about how we can become better people and better athletes. What weight do we use? Do we push for that higher weight and sacrifice time? Do we stay comfortable and work on cycling? How do we pace ourselves to hit the target time or reps?

Coach yells 10 seconds and all the sudden we get butterflies and you freak out because maybe your weight is too heavy… what if I can’t do it? Shit… 3..2..1.. Oh well, too late to change, here we go!

We crush that first set feeling pretty good, and then you have to do it again… maybe even 5 more times? Our lungs are on fire and we don’t want to touch the barbell, how do we force ourselves to pick it back up? We pick it up anyway. Our hands get tried and sweat makes the bar slip, we walk over to the chalk in hopes of a small break, and the coaches tell you to get back on the barbell (thanks for doing that by the way). And so we get back on it.

When we are mid workout and it feels like there are a million sets, or a million minutes left, we look up at our classmates and they’re crushing it… and you feel like your lungs are exploding. Okay, you have to push more. And so you do, as hard as you can. You think in your head ‘these reps are sooo ugly, but hey they still count, right?’. And you keep pushing, minute after minute you force yourself back to the barbell, back to the box, back to the bar.

And then this miracle thing happens: one minute left in the workout, and you think ‘shit! maybe I should have gone harder, let me push really hard for this last minute’. And then you do, down to the very last second. You drop the barbell at 0:00, and you immediately think ‘I can’t breathe’, ‘shit I’m so glad that is over’, and even sometimes ‘man I crushed that’!

I want you to know that you did crush that workout, no matter what time, how many reps, how many rounds, it doesn’t matter. You came and took that hour to work on yourself, and you gave all that you had today. How much you can give might differ from day to day, but that is just the point. You show up every day, not just your PR days- and that is what makes you the athlete you are. So I thank you, for being the athlete that you are, for pushing me to be better, and to do better, because you never know what it took for me to show up today. So keep pushing and keep lifting your classmates up. Because sometimes we all need it.”