Running Toward A T-Rex…

Brave; possessing or exhibiting courage or courageous endurance.   

 Instant Experience

Brave is a word I have begun to use with clients, to motivate and to help them take that extra step; breaking new ground and living beyond perceived limits. I began using this word when I challenged a triathlete I have been working with to complete a set of 100 repetitions on the leg press – seemed like a good time and a good place for her  to be brave.

She was brave in that instance – very brave, and as soon as I used that word her tired legs and worn face became more aggressive as she made short work of the final 25 reps. To witness that moment of increased determination – just for offering her a word, gave me a new appreciation that the a single word can motivate immediately.  Increased bravery, this taught me, can simply happen upon consideration. The question then became; can one summon the word for one’s own self, or need it be summoned by an outside presence? 

Brave in the gym, braver still on the road...

 To Teach Is To Learn

In subsequent days I contemplated heavily on this.  I began to question just how brave I have been with my own training regimen. In truth, I have settled in; cruising on fitness autopilot for over year.  I have grown complacent and comfortable with where I am. Complacency, even when one is considered to be fit as I am, is not the reasonable plateau one might suspect.  I have become a participant in the slow and certain back-slide of complacency.

Not that I don’t workout frequently, intensely, and eat well to support it, I do.  But I have not been going that extra mile recently – at my gym or at my dinner table.  Until recently, that extra mile has been the primary characteristic of my entire adult life.  I have gotten too comfortable with stopping at particular distance, a certain number of repetitions, and with allowing a few extra calories from salad dressings and alcohol – these places I thought I would never know.   

Though not out of control, these have added up to too many calories I don’t need, which have added up to increased body fat I no longer accept.  And though I am way ahead of the game for pushing 50, this is not who I have been, and not who I will be.  But it seems, for the moment, it is who I have become.

Back To Brave

In just considering this term, brave, I find myself wanting to push for more these days, from my workouts and from my meals – seeking new ground to escape from the same-old same-old. I have been inspired by my friend Jody who at 52, is as brave as brave can get in the gyn. I am humbled by Bobbie, who has balls so large they actually have a have created gravity that I have been pulled closer to her new found fitness bravery — eating in particualr.  Also, I have been inspired by Dr. J for years.  He bravely and quietly paddles upstream, not against the current, but against all the fish swimming in the wrong direction, as he simply lives, and leads by example.

My brave face; with a little help from my friends...

 I should know and respect my limits; that I will only get so fast, so lean, or so strong.  However, if I stay comfortable within those limits, then I should plan to stay in my current state of fitness – or backslide even more, and that’s not acceptable.

 Your Bravery, Your Fire, Your Lesson From My Story

If you exercise regularly and try to eat mindfully but don’t like you’re current fitness level, there is a good chance you haven’t recently considered, or you have forgotten what motivates you – this is where I have been, living without a source of bravery.  If you don’t feel like you are getting what you seek from your current fitness program, it may not be the program, it just might be the motivation to maximize the program – the bravery needed to succeed.

Bravery is turning and running toward him...

I suggest that you keep doing exactly what you have been doing with your fitness and eating program – even if you have not been getting the results you seek. Perhaps this might be a good week to embrace the same-old same-old, but to embrace it – more bravely. Take it a step further, a minute longer, or 200 calories less than before.

Being brave doesn’t necessarily mean doing 100 reps on the leg press. For many, it can mean turning 10 reps into 12.  For others, being brave might be the act of walking into the gym – for the very first time, or for the first time in years. Others still might find bravery in saying “no” to that second helping of anything, glass of wine included.

 For me, being brave means to bypass my evening cocktail, to push the pace on the run a bit more, and then a bit more still.  Being brave is also to remember that greens taste best untouched by Paul Newman’s salad piss in a bottle.  I will increase my repetitions, minimize my rest between sets, and live my fitness life as though I am running toward a T-Rex – knowing that I am better for the confrontation.  Be well.  rc

 Question:  Tell me, what have you done this week, in your fitness life, that is worthy of the term, brave…? 

14 responses

  1. Great post as always and a reminder to us all that we can always push just a little bit harder, try something new and re-evaluate what we’re doing now when it isn’t working or it is stagnant.

    To answer your question, the bravest thing I have done this week is to do that set of 100 jumping jacks at the gym. Doing the jumping jacks back in elementary school was fun and easy, but when you add a good 90 lbs or so onto your body it’s no longer an easy task, in particularly in front of others when your jiggly bits are here and there. LOL

    • Bobbie: Yes, we can push harder — we just talk ourselves into believing we can’t. I defer back to my G. Gordon Liddy and the rat story — readers, if you don’t know it, google it. As for the jumping jacks; they are easier in elementary school becuase kids are made out of nerf!

  2. I could probably leave a 10 page thesis about this post, but I’ll try to keep my thoughts to a minimum. First, when you spoke of your clients ability to move forward after being called brave, that really brought me back to a time when I was encouraged by one of my teachers in high school. Sometimes all it takes is an outsider to tell you that they have confidence in your ability to help you find that motivation within.

    As far as something brave I’ve done this week, I’m not sure you’d consider this brave, but I told my trainer that I feel like my arthritis is holding me back. Admitting that some of the more advanced moves he has challenged me with may not be in my best interest, was a difficult thing for me to admit. My joints were aching and popping regularly. His advice: let’s go back to some of the basics. I always say I want to be that 90 year old lady on 60 Minutes who goes skydiving, not the 90 year old on a scooter. Admitting that I need to back up and work with my limitations too a bit of courage.

  3. Great post. I like the idea of being brave. The bravest thing I’ve done this week is get in the pool and try my hand at swimming for the first time in 18 years. The second bravest thing was getting in the pool again a few days later and getting my first swimming lesson.

  4. I LOVE this post. I have been getting a bit complacent lately, such as not going as long with my cardio for one. I saw little signs that I wasn’t moving forward anymore, I was staying the same or even moving backward in some ways. I’m afraid of trying to get more fit because I’m worried that I’ll fail so I settle for less because of my fears. I’m actually afraid of losing more weight, weird as it sounds!!!

    To answer your question, one brave thing I did this week was to make a new set of resolutions on my blog for the second half of 2010. I want the second half of the year to be just as awesome as the first half!

  5. Roy, I love love love this post! And thank you although I am not brave in areas of my life I need to be brave in. At least I do have the fitness down.. I guess one is better than none!

    You brought back some of my bodybuilding days when you mentioned the “100’s”. I remember the first time the guy I was training with said we were going to do 100’s. To myself, I said.. holy sh*t! OK, I said it out loud too! BUT, I did it & continued to do it thru my training.

    I don’t do 100’s per se right now but the way I do train with no rest & circuit training, well, I usually do at least 60-100 reps of something or multiple somethings with all my drop sets & no rest!

    And to Karen, I understand. In my intervals on the treadmill, I actually can go faster than my top speed right now BUT I found that I was injuring the area between my butt & hamstring by going that fast so I dropped the speed just a tad which is still VERY VERY challenging but does not make that area act up.

    OK, I really digress here…. bravery… I need to get more of it in the real world! I am very lacking there!

    Fitness, yes, brave with the acceptance that things are not going to be like when I was younger. I work very hard at parts of me that are not responding the way when I was young… but I continue to push & do what I can…. they may not do what I want them to but at least I am trying!

    Bravery outside the gym is my big problem & many of you have me there 10 times over!

    Sorry for the book! 🙂

  6. Karen: I relate completely. I recently jump into some class IV rapids — without a boat-like thing surrounding me. IT was foolish, and in the process I have wrecked my left knee. Now that is my own doing, so no complaints, but admitting to myself that I me be an ex-runner (at least for a while) was brave — foolishly founded, but brave. Hope to know more about the damage soon. BTW: What you told your trainer was no only brave, it was right.

    DeAg: Thank you so much for dropping in. Good for you on the swim. Just checking out your blog, and will comment more there later, but I will offer you this advice in your goal; STAY WET!!

    Carla: I look forward to checking out your progress during 2010 part II. I will also get back to checking your great blog out as soon as my vacation is over this week.

    Jody Jody Jody: Funny, since my BB days are behind me, I usually don’t do more than 10 of anything — and that is part of the problem. I have to say that I get more out of my 10 reps of anything than most anyone else would — it’s called focus and intensity, but it’s time to reengage for me — to check-in and dial it up a bit more.

    As far as bravery outside the gym goes, my strength training discipline has given me so much confidence over the years — when I battle with fear outside the gym, I try to draw on my discipline in the gym and translated into every day life.

    Dr. J: What…….? You have never been a jerk Sir, just a great friend, inspiration, and brother. We’ll chat soon.

  7. I faced my reaction to someone’s words and saw the motivation behind it. My typical defense is defensiveness which causes me to NOT fully hear or see what is being said. My bravery was facing that, feeling the feelings, and then going back and taking a second look!

  8. Brave this week? I feel like it’s a doozy. I am quitting my volunteer work at the shelter because I am falling short in other areas – fitness and health being one of them. Funny though that doing brave things doesn’t feel brave – it feels like the right thing to do.

  9. Jules: Facing feelings — feeling feelings is a kind of bravery that trumps physical bravery. I bow down — not always able to for me.

    Dawn: “The right thing to do”. Again, bravery of the mind is that hardest kind of bravery. On my end, I’ll make sure your workouts are brave too 😉

  10. Liked your post Roy! Very true… Just hope that you have that 2nd… 3rd…. 4th…. drink in celebration of the big 3-0:)

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