Working out – the mental game at its best

Participating in a fitness program, especially an intense Functional Fitness program takes a certain level of mental tenacity. We often talk about the mental game here at Kemme Fitness.

In that regard, I want to share with you one of the most motivational pieces of advice I have come across in a long time.

I received this second hand, so bare with me if you are familiar with this man.  His name is Eric Greitens and he is a motivational speaker, among many things.  He is also the author of The Heart and the Fist. How I heard about him, is my wife participated in a webinar with Eric Greitens as the key note speaker. I’m sure he talked about many great things about leadership, but there is one story that my wife shared with me that I want to pass on, as it directly relates to fitness.

Eric Greitens was a Navy Seal and he shared during the webinar a bit about the application process, one of which  many of you may already be familiar with.  We all know that it is brutal with like 600 trying out and 30 getting in type of brutal.  However, there is one little aspect of that process that I loved hearing about.

I want to talk about the bell. I’ll try and explain, but I’m paraphrasing things from second hand information so bare with me if you know this story better than I do. There is this bell that applicants/recruits can ring whenever they can’t go on and have to quit.  They drove this bell around whereever the recruits were. Go on a hike…it is there for you ring at any time.  Crawling under barbwire…you’re just a ring away from quitting. Up at 4:00 AM to get your butt handed to you on a platter with intenseness…ring ring and the pain goes away.

My wife explained how Mr. Greitens talked about how one evening all they asked the recruits to do was sit on a hill and watch the sunset.  They either said, or alluded to, having an all night workout. The thought of that painful next several hours was too much.  Ring, ring, ring ring.

Here was the point the instructors made. All of these people quit when all they were asked to do was watch a beautiful sunset. In fact, the mission that night ended up being to go to bed. Yet, all of these people quit. With the exception of only a few people, the majority quit NOT while they were engaged in some intense physical challenge. No, they quit before the challenge. They quit just thinking about the challenge.

How does this apply to our fitness program. I’m sure you guessed it…the toughest part is not completing the workout, but the anticipation of the workout. “I can’t do that many Burpees!” “Another circuit, really?”  Yet, once you start doing the Burpees or the extra circuit, you know you will finish it.

So the next time you don’t feel like working out. Or the next time you think you might just jog a bit instead of doing an intense workout, just think about that bell.  Are you going and ringing it during the sunset?

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. John White

    Thank you for bringing up ‘the bell’. I’ve heard about the bell + SEAL training before, but never heard the sunset anecdote. I agree wholeheartedly; every time I’ve nearly quit something, it’s been out of anticipation of the event, racing in particular. Of course, once the starting gun goes off, all doubts disappear. I’ve never heard this expressed as clearly as you have here. In fact, this provides a great deal of reassurance that it’s a widespread phenomenon!

  2. Kemme Fitness

    It comes out for us at large events, but also I still apply this to the daily workout. Most days I work out, I feel apprehension. I am just not up for it. Inevitably, once I begin, I might be cursing myself, but I’m loving it!

  3. Dave Murphy

    Thanks for the post. Great reminder to not let your mind beat you. I’m great proponent of trusting your plan: “just do it” as a very rich marketer once said. Keep up the great work.

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