I just read a book called The Fighters Mind, by Sam Sheridan. It was about the mental aspect of combat sports. I am not a big fan of combat sports in particular but I do appreciate the cerebral aspect of almost any form of competition. I firmly believe that there is much to be learned in terms of mental discipline from domains outside of our primary practice. One of the athletes that Sheridan interviewed was a grappler named Marcelo Garcia. He is legendary in his sport and for good reason. Sheridan asked him what his secret was and it resonated with me.
“Why do I beat a lot of people? Because I love it so much, that’s why. Everything about jiu-jitsu, I love it-the school, the mat, the ring. I always believe that. Maybe I am not better than my opponent, but I know for sure I love my training more.”
The author was disappointed in the answer. He was looking for something tangible that his readers could take into the gym and implement. Practice more, eat better, sleep better, all would have been acceptable answers. But “love it more”? How could that be it?
Personally I understand the love it piece. Loving my job makes me a better business owner. Loving my clients makes me a better trainer. It makes so much sense. How can we take this idea and apply it to our fitness pursuits? You may think that Marcelo is a professional athlete. His job is to train. He gets to wear shorts to work. It seems like an easy gig to love. Whatever you do though I doubt that a bad day at work involves getting punched in the face one time, let alone multiple times. There are certainly trade offs.
We aren’t getting paid to train. We don’t NEED to be elite athletes. What if we hate the pain, the sweat, and the early wake up time? What can we find to love? For me it was about my goals. My goals are personal and meaningful. Achieving them holds considerable weight. I love where I am going. I can then take a step back and love parts of the process. I certainly don’t WANT to do 50 pull ups and a 5000m row but I can and I will if that moves me closer to the goal. I will even like it. I will love it in fact.
As I started to write though I realized that Xplore CrossFit provides a whole bunch more things to love about the training. The people for one. I love to see folks in here each day. I love the conversations we get to have. I love the PR’s that I get to witness. I love to suffer alongside someone rather than suffer alone. I love digging deeper because the person next to me isn’t resting. I love first pull ups, first muscle ups, and first squats to depth without knee or back pain. When we start looking at this fitness thing through the lens of a community it is hard not to love it. So next time you are in the gym or maybe next time will be your first time I want you to find something to love. Loving it will make you better.