I laced up my sneakers and headed into my garage for my workout. As I walked through the door, I noticed a nervous anticipation, like the way I've felt in the past entering a conference room before a presentation or waiting in a dentist chair for work to be done. I was legitimately nervous as hell and I was all by myself. No one to impress, no one to compete with. Only me, about to do a pretty standard metabolic workout.
Even after many years of intense circuit training, I still get butterflies before I begin a workout. It's the anticipation of the "suck", the point in my workout when my lungs are screaming for air, my muscles are burning and my mind is wondering what the hell I got myself into. Know the feeling?
The thing with short, intense exercise is that we work at maximum effort throughout the entire workout, with the exception of short rests. There's no pacing. That's a tough transition for many to make, especially those of us with cardio backgrounds like running.
See, with running, we knew it would get easier. We would get to a place where our body would adapt and we wouldn't have to work as hard to complete the 8-minute mile. If we're lucky, we even get to experience the "runners high", where we feel like we could run for hours.
Alternatively, spending a twenty minute workout pushing up against the edge of our comfort zone is well...uncomfortable. But it is, in fact, the goal of a metabolic conditioning workout...to push to our edge over and over and over again in a short period of time. Discomfort then, is the proof that we are doing it right!
How do we learn to love the "suck"? We recognize that that the point where we want to give up is our opportunity to level up. To endure through the discomfort is to offer ourselves over to expansion and growth.
The energetic experience has me coming back to intense training, day after day. Beyond the fat-burning and time-saving benefits of efficient, intense exercise, I come back for the mental game. Every workout is a new opportunity to show myself how leaning into the "suck" is where I become the most powerful version of myself.
And, I can't help but recognize how these solitary daily wins in my garage help me to take on the rest of my life with more confidence and awareness.