“Woah.. what do you mean, Coach?!”  

That’s right – your workouts shouldn’t ALWAYS be fun. 

In case no one ever told you.. Doing things you don’t like can make you better – as long as those difficult things bring you closer to your end goal.  In the case of training your body and mind, doing things most people don’t enjoy produces some of the greatest adaptation.  

If you’ve been letting yourself get a little too comfortable, here’s a quick reminder.

Train Your Body

Training your body has levels.  There is a spectrum regarding how serious you are.  If you are willing to exert great effort, exhibit discipline, and be consistent, you can really change your body.  

Working out requires you to occasionally put yourself in an uncomfortable position.  While I generally enjoy exercise, I don’t always enjoy my workouts.  The best analogy I can make is that I love my work but I don’t love every single aspect of my work.  Similarly, you should love the outcome of your training.  Enjoy the experience and the results that come from it, but are you expected to love it when you are in the moment, breathing heavily and completely exhausted?  Absolutely not!  

If your workouts are safe and effective, don’t worry whether or not they are enjoyable.  Train your body to accept a reasonable amount of discomfort.  Understand that if you want results, you are going to have to pay the price.  Training your body to be a resilient machine will make your miserable workouts seem less miserable.  However, almost none of this is possible without the accompaniment of the mind.

Train Your Mind

Training your mind to endure things that aren’t always enjoyable is one of the most important aspects of life (if you want to achieve anything worthwhile).  Personally, I think pushing yourself in your workouts is a fantastic way to develop mental toughness and discipline.

One method of building mental toughness is to make a mental promise to yourself and then KEEP IT.  Promise yourself that you are going to train ‘X’ days this week and, indeed, you should train at least ‘X’ days this week.  Meeting or exceeding your own expectations is a very effective way to build your own self worth. The question is: Can YOU count on YOU?

Making promises to yourself can be a slippery slope.  If you say you are going to do 10 reps, NEVER stop at 9.  You will lose credibility with yourself and that is detrimental to your mental fortitude.  Only make promises that you are committed to keeping or else this type of mental training will not be productive.

Mental toughness is just as important as physical capability – perhaps even more so.  I have no doubt that conquering many grueling workouts has improved my ability to trust myself.  Training hard and pushing yourself builds character.. And we can all use a bit of character.

Pay The Price

When you’ve completely exhausted your abilities and you have nothing left to give, what percentage do you think you’ve truly given?  Everyone is different, but I’ve heard the figure 40% used when describing how much the average person gives before they think they have nothing left in the tank.  

We are all capable of much more than we think.  If you have a trainer or coach who pushes you, they need to get more than 40% of your max effort.  It is their job to figure out how to maximize your work output, which we know requires both physical and mental training.  

Paying the price is an important concept that we’ve talked about before.  The price is different for everyone.  Every goal has a different price as well.  It is up to you to determine what it is that you want and how hard you are willing to work to get there.

Closing Thoughts

While much of this article is philosophical, I can tell you that completing brutal workouts has enriched my own life in many ways.  You learn a lot about yourself when you are faced with extreme pressure, discomfort, and exhaustion.  Working out (in a controlled environment) is one of the safer ways to emulate these extremes without the dangers of the outside world.  

What are some of your LEAST favorite ways to work out?  Why do you still train like this?  Share a brutal workout below and maybe you’ll inspire someone to try one!

Here’s mine:  27-24-21-18-15-12-9-6-3

  • Calories on the Rower
  • Burpees Over the Rower

I hate it, but I still do it.  I encourage you to keep doing things that you don’t enjoy – as long as those difficult things move you in the right direction of your overall goals.

Until next time.. Stay moving!

2 Comments

  • Skylar says:

    The most brutal workout I’ve ever done is either DT:
    5 rounds
    12 deadlifts (105#)
    9 hang power cleans
    6 push jerks
    Or
    Badger
    3 rounds
    30 squat cleans (65#)
    30 pull-ups
    800m run
    I enjoy training because it gives me an outlet — helps me relieve stress and allows me an hour ton just shut my brain off and just go.

    • Milo says:

      Sylar – 100% agreed! DT is absolutely brutal. I’ve never head of Badger, but squat cleans always get spicy in high volume! I may have to give it a go sometime.

      -Alex

Leave a Reply