Saturday, July 25, 2009

What are you holding back for?

I had just finished a long night shift and got home for my usual breakfast then sleep routine. But instead of getting home at 10, it was only 7:30. I thought I could go for a workout. Had 2 celery sticks and little peanut butter for some energy then went down to the gym. I started my workout and kept convincing myself why I couldn't finish a particular set since I was so tired. And how hungry I was so it made it tougher to lift. Then I looked around and wondered how many people at the gym where so concerned about their recent calorie intake vs. workout performance. So I pushed through all these negative thoughts holding me back. I finished set and did extra set. Put on heavier weights and just stopped thinking about all the petty details. Then I went for a swim. 10 laps into it I was again exhausted. Instead of taking a breath every 3 strokes, I switched it to 2. Each lap felt farther and a mysterious current was constantly coming against me. I slowed down my strokes to preserve the oxygen in my system. Then I decided just how ridiculous I am. So I started taking long full strokes with as much energy as I have. What's going to happen? My muscles will give out? I will drown in a 4 ft deep pool? The lifeguard will point and laugh? No, none. So I spent a good 20 laps of taking full strokes. Tired on some laps, revitalized at others. I barely took a break when I hit the wall, just enough to turn around and keep going. I must say despite it being after a long work day and tough lifting session, those last 20 laps were my best yet.
Andre Agassi, an incredible tennis player still well after his prime, had a philosophy that resonates in me.
In an interview about his workout routine he said it is better to workout intensely for a short period of time instead of a long drawnout session.
As a kid I tended to "save" my energy during a game. Especially soccer, with so much running around during a game, I was concerned that if I ran at full speed in the beginning of the game, I may not have anything left at the end.
Then came football. There was no jogging or 50% in football. The plays were so short and quick that I had no choice but to go all out on each play. And it paid off tremendously. I would knock the other guy down easier, make plays more often, and truthfully, have a better time. I started having this mentality during soccer matches too. Again, a great payoff. Why I have forgotten how good this feels I don't know. But it is a feeling that I tasted yesterday in the pool. So no more holding back during my workouts, playing sports, etc. Naturally I will apply this to my personal and professional life too, but that will be posted on another blog. Let's keep this one focused on my what will be chiseled abs one day.

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