Tuesday 12.3.13

Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable

From aaron.potomaccrossfit.com

This is one of my favorite phrases.  It applies to so many aspects of our lives whether social, physical, intellectual, or otherwise and it represents a very real problem that a lot of people have.  We have grown to comfortable.  It is necessary to stress any system in order for it to adapt and grow.  That is why we travel to foreign countries, eat new foods, try new restaurants, watch different kinds of movies, and (especially for our purposes) practice CONSTANTLY VARIED exercise.

I see my adage applying to two distinct aspects of the way we train: movement and intensity.

In terms of movements, it is easy to cherry pick WODs.  You come in and do the things you know you are good at.  You skip the days that involve exercises you don’t like or, more likely, are not good at.  You become a monster at Fran because you practice it everyday, but have no idea about your heavy Grace because you never do heavy cleans, especially for reps.  Maybe you have no idea what your 5k time is.  Well, get over it.  Be OK with being bad at something.  Have faith in yourself that you can get better at it.  Deal with frustration and finish.

If you are a Crossfitter, you are probably ahead of the curve.  This is MUCH more applicable to the person who trudges to the globo gym and does their 45 minute treadmill or elliptical session.  Similar for the guys who stick to bench press, bicep curls, cable crossover, and calf raises.  These people are lucky if they even attempt to improve on these repetitive routines.

As for intensity, discomfort is synonymous with pain.  Pain is a very difficult feeling to get comfortable with.  It takes work and effort.  It means that your daily workout is going to make you nervous, give you butterflies in your stomach and make you want to quit half way through.  It would be so easy to ease off and cruise to the finish, but you will have cheated yourself.

It is an unquestionable truth that you will be a better athlete and a better person if you can face discomfort and adversity, stare it in the face, and overcome it.  Confidence in your abilities, both physical and mental, to try new things, place yourself outside of your comfort zone, and succeed will serve you in every aspect of your life.

Perhaps more improtantly, it will give you an advantage.  Watch the people around you crumble when placed outside of their comfort zone.  Travel with a friend or coworker who is terrified at the prospect of communicating with someone who can’t speak english.  Go to a social event at a sushi place with someone who is scared of food they don’t usually eat.  Watch some businesses collapse when a booming economy turns into a bear market and adjustmant is required.  Face off in a competition with someone who has never come face to face agony and discomfort.

I’d wished it was 115 degrees and humid at the games.  I’ve run up mountains in Iraq in ungodly heat and trained for marathons in Washington DC’s August.  Discomfort is like being in the ocean.  Terrifying to those who look around and see no shore, who flail around looking for purchase.  These are usually the people who drown, not because they can’t swim but because they are scared.  The person who is calm, collected, and used to facing the unknown, who is used to being uncomfortable, is the one who survives.  It’s being able to swim when those around you are merely trying to stay afloat.

3 rounds:
400m run
15 push press (95/65)
-rest 2 min-
800m run
-rest 2 min-
3 rounds:
400m run
15 deadlifts (225/155)