STRONGER THAN EVER // NO EXCUSES
No matter where you’re at on your fitness journey, there’s always going to be an excuse as to why you’re not performing at your best.
Lack of sleep. Cursed with bad genetics and a weak upper body. The hips/pelvis of a 90 year old. The weather just wasn’t cooperating. Blisters and callouses galore. The list of potential excuses for lack of progress is seemingly endless. Wake up, spin the wheel, and see which factor or obstacle is going to stand in your way; keep you from reaching your goals. This doesn’t make you weak or lazy…it makes you human. It protects your ego and your self-esteem (which is honestly necessary to some degree if you’re like me and struggle in the self-esteem/confidence areas).
Still, sooner or later you have to stop with the excuses and push yourself outside of your comfort zone. Run just a little bit faster when your body and mind is begging you to just hold your current pace or slow down just a tad. Grab the heavier dumb bells or load up the barbell with more weight than you’ve ever done before. Go the extra mile, do the extra rep. All of these tings are far easier said than done, I know from experience. On top of these preconceived limits, you’ve also got your body image to deal with. For me personally, that seems to be the biggest barrier these days.
I suppose for anyone that’s lost a significant amount of weight or dealt with body image issues for the most of their life, this makes perfect sense. You look in the mirror, see some physical changes, but not enough given just how much work you are putting into this whole fitness thing. In my case, it’s seeing my shoulders, rear delts, and upper back/lats slowly develop while the rest of my upper body doesn’t seem to change a lot. It’s only training legs (lifting wise) twice a week, yet having them be the leanest/strongest part of my body.
In a nutshell, making excuses is a whole lot simpler than accepting the fact that you’re just not pushing yourself enough.
This week, I’m valuing my gym and running time a whole lot more than I normally do. This week I’m taking the entire weekend (Saturday and Sunday) off from working out to go shopping in Illinois and sleep following the long trip. I ONLY get 5 days to lift, run, and put everything I’ve got into getting stronger. I don’t have the luxury to half ass anything this week, make excuses or skip workout because I’m “too tired.” I actually have to make sure I’m eating in a decent (300-400) calorie deficit everyday this week so I don’t have to stress about food while on this day trip.
With all of this in mind, it’s no wonder than yesterday’s workout was so incredible that words could never do it justice. First, I somehow managed to run 3 miles in a time of 27:29…despite the humongous blister on my left foot and the fact that my legs should have been sore from Sunday’s leg day. Then, I randomly decided to change up my playlist for my upper body day with a little bit (or a lot) of super motivating music from Demi Lovato, Maren Morris, and Kelly Clarkson. These songs were exactly what I needed to go that extra mile both weight and rep wise.
The weight that I was able to put up with pretty decent form for multiple reps was shocking given how mediocre my upper body strength is. I barbell bench pressed 90 pounds for 4 reps, then I bench pressed 45 lb. dumb bells for the first time EVER in my entire life for 2 reps. Finally, I decided to give incline dumb bell bench press a try since I hadn’t done it in a while…and benched 40 lb. dumb bells for 3 reps. It literally felt like I just got super strong and confident in my upper body strength over night. Which, obviously is not possible.
All of new strength and confidence in my athletic abilities was an absolute necessity during today’s 4 mile run in 30-35 mph winds.
Today, it really didn’t feel like it mattered all that much how fresh and ready to run my legs were. Which, I get makes zero sense, but just bear with me. I knew before I had even ran a single step that today was not going to be the day for PR’s, jamming out/lip syncing to my favorite songs mid run, or destroying the min hill. This run was going to be a battle against the wind, and self doubt from the very start. A battle between just showing up/letting the weather conditions (and that fudging blister) win and running hard no matter what.
Looking back now, it seems sorta obvious which side to go with, but when you’re mid run getting blasted by the wind and wondering why on earth you had been so stupid as to wrap your entire foot over one measly blister…just showing up and going through the motions doesn’t sound like the worst idea in the world. However, I didn’t go that route at all. Instead I encouraged myself every step of the way to run as fast as I could. I took advantage of every single instance in which the wind was at my back, giving me some extra speed/motivation.
And, during those moments when the wind was blowing in my face, making it nearly impossible to make any forward progress, I reminded myself of how strong I am. Over and over again, one block at a time, I proved to myself that I am stronger right now than I have ever been. Because, let’s face it, it would have been so much easier to cut this run short or just complete the entire 4 miles inside on a treadmill.
I’ll leave you with this parting piece of advice, “You never know how strong you really are, until being strong is the only choice you have.” That one quote completely encompasses how 2018 has gone so far for me, and how it’s given me the strength that I have today.