Your neck’s tight, shoulders rounded, you seem to be getting pushed down. Almost folded in half. It’s all encompassing . It’s big, it’s heavy, it’s dark and it’s trying to wrestle you into submission.
That beast. It’s like Venom. It encompasses you completely, takes over, overrides your thought process, it changes your actions and behaviors. It seeps in slowly, like a ninja unnoticed in the shadows.
Smothered. Frantically pacing along the edges of darkness, chasing the breaks, where light dances through the shuffling of the guard. Looking for a crack in the armor. Even the smallest hole will do. Anything to be able to get back to you.
We often don’t notice stress until we are drowning in it. It’s a lot like putting on weight. Putting on body fat is an accumulation over time of unhealthy nutritional habits and lack of physical activity. Stress is a also born from a lack of healthy habits. Both Physical and mental. If you don’t take regular action to ground yourself life can get away from you pretty easily. One day you wake up in a rut. Outwardly frustrated and tempermental. Inwardly critical. Wondering how and when you got like this and when is it going to change?
There is a constant mental battle being played out in all of us. We come to the realization that we should or need to change. Then, get in our own way.
A new day starts. We decide to change our path. Change our lives, become better people and get out of our ruts. We devise a plan. We spend the day telling ourselves, “when I get home, I’m working out”. The day goes by. We get there. Throw on our sweats and *phlump* we plop down on the couch. Hours get wasted binge watching TV. We tell ourselves, “tomorrow we start for real!”.
How do we build the mental fortitude to keep that bully (stress) at bay?
Interval training is the perfect battleground for discovering your capabilities, cultivating resiliency and strengthening your will power. Especially if your doing it on your own. You have to be your own coach. Steering that voice in your head to motivate you, push you and prop you up as you build up strength and stamina. Fighting to complete an exercise for a set amount of time, takes everything you’ve got. The release of endorphin’s battle that cancerous stress one cell at time. The more frequently you exercise and train the more you strengthen that resistance. Creating confidence that translates across the board. Mentally, Physically and Emotionally. Building your body is building your mind. Out competing your inner quitter is the ultimate championship.
So what is interval training?
It’s the ability to perform an exercise for a previously determined length of time. Then resting for a shorter duration and repeating the cycle. For example, completing as many push ups as possible in 60 seconds. Then resting for 20 or 30 seconds and doing it over 3 or 4 more times.
The idea is to maximize the muscular and cardiovascular benefits in a short period of time, through total body movements. If you can put together 7-10 exercises you’ve set yourself up with an effective circuit.
Even though weight loss is highly dependant on the reduction and quality of what you eat, in conjunction with this type of training you can slim down and fill out simultaneously. Meaning that you get the benefits of bodybuilding, the sculpting and shaping of newly formed muscles, as well as elevated levels of endurance and stamina, which, in turn promotes weight loss.
Stress may be the enemy, but the adversity it provides is our friend. It’s our competitor. It’s already in our head. It’s the one that doesn’t play fair. That sticks it’s foot out as we walk by. Points and laughs when we stumble, as if to say “what are you going to do about it?”. Most of us walk away head down. Beaten again.
The only way to break that cycle is to build up confidence. The only way to build up confidence is to challenge ourselves. How do we challenge ourselves? We train. We train our bodies and our minds.
I am hyper competitive. I don’t like to lose. Interval training is perfect for me. It fulfills my need for competition. It forces me to reflect and evaluate myself truthfully. It promotes an impenetrable mind set. Most importantly once I’ve made it through the battle. I feel unstoppable, immovable, like I harnessed the power of the universe at the centre of my chest.
So lets say you’re on the last set of your circuit. You have to complete one more round of Push ups for a minute. After a 30 second rest you have to move on to Climbers for another minute and a half. Another 30 second pause and you have to complete your last exercise, Burpee’s, for another minute and a half. Hang on a second…
Seems like there is a bit of a pattern here. Intense stress or challenge for an extended period of time, followed by short bursts of rest or calm. Just like the ebs and flows of life perhaps?
…So you’re standing there, muscles burning and tight. Legs on fire, wanting to give out. You’re dreading having to heave yourself off the floor one more time, staring hunched and bent over under the weight of fatigue.
This is your moment of truth.
Are you going to cave and let that Venom like shadow, swarm and encapsulate you?
Do you stand at the centre of the chaos. Accepting the discomfort, pain and fear. Poised to achieve clarity, focus and endless belief in your capabilities?