As my new career as a CrossFit and Olympic Weightlifting coach escalates, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out the key to unlocking a person’s fitness potential. Back when I walked into the gym to meet my trainer for the first time, I had every intent to make a difference in my life. I had hit rock bottom, and scared myself with ugly thoughts of leaving my husband and son without the “burden” of me. I really did want to change, but once things got hard (like five minutes after starting), I’m not sure I wanted to continue. Those first few months were spent in tears, throwing up, getting angry with my trainer, crying again, throwing up again, at the doctor’s office with pulls and sprains…I had a list of excuses a mile long at the ready, thinking that I could get out of the suck. My trainer never let me off the hook. Neither did the doctors. Both would patch me back up and kick me back into the suck. Right when I would start to adapt, a new challenge would arise. I know now that this is called training – if the workouts are not adapted as the body adapts, there would be a never ending plateau. At first, I had trouble just fitting into the machines. Then, I had to conquer step-ups. One day, and this was an awesome day, I conquered jumping up onto a tractor tire. Another day, I actually resisted the urge to throw up and managed to push on. Then came the food. (Oh, food, why doth thou vex me so?) I would win some battles, lose others.
Today, as I remember all of this, I realize that nothing much has changed. I may have conquered many things, but as each benchmark is reached, four more open up as possibilities. I just got my first pull-up, now I have to work on getting several in a row. I eat mostly clean, but still have trouble staying away from too much sugar, and still tend to binge if all the stars aren’t aligned just right and I’m able to resist. When it comes to fitness, it never gets easier. Again, this is how training works. It must stay hard, or adaptation and growth wouldn’t exist.
P1010642As far as unlocking potential, I think the one way I am blessed, and continue to see success, is that I work hard. I admit that I am human and have my weaker moments. But when it comes to training, I manage to muster all the effort I can and get it done. Maybe it’s the fear of hitting bottom again. I do know that none of the pain I’ve felt in the gym even compares to the agony of depression and aches from being a hundred pounds overweight. That is the honest truth. My worst day at the gym always beats the best day I had before I started to work hard on my health. Taking my word for it doesn’t seem to be enough for some people, though. The only way to find out what you’re made of is to give it your best shot. No one is ever judged poorly if he works hard. I think putting in maximum effort is a great place to start. Every day, just work hard.

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