“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act but a habit.”
Can we agree most things worth doing in life are not easy? Finishing a trade school, getting a degree, starting a family… You will have many worth while moments in your life. Most of the won’t just happen to you overnight. Those moments are marked by accomplishments that will culminate after a great deal of hard work. You will have had to make them happen. You’ll have had to push through discomfort to get there. While you’re striving to be the best fighter or most powerful lifter remember it will not always be easy. Visualize success and be ready to face some challenges along the way.
Just like in life, in your journey of physical fitness there will be many milestones along the way. Your first sparring session, your first amateur fight, deadlifting double your bodyweight are some goals you can strive for. Before you can reach these milestones there will be a lot of hard work and even a few failures.
When it comes to fight sports be prepared to embrace the suck. It feels great when you make contact on a punch or put together a good combo. On the other hand doing bag work can make your arms feel like rubber. When you’re sparring expect to feel gassed 30 seconds into the first round. There are hardships that you can’t avoid. In fact, you must actively seek out this discomfort. The pain is merely a steppingstone to those milestones you are focused on hitting.
Don’t get discouraged in the beginning. Work on perfecting single strikes and slowly build up to higher level techniques and combos. It will feel awkward at first but the more you practice the smoother and faster you will become. In time you will work up to sparring. Your first couple sparring sessions may feel like you are starting from scratch all over again. No matter how well you had trained up to this point entering the ring with an opponent is way more dynamic and challenging then any pad or bag work you could have done. Count it as a huge success just stepping into the ring the first time. Every hit you take should be thought of as a lesson learned. Embrace the pain and discomfort and remind yourself it is only a fleeting sensation. The lessons you take away from the ring will last you a lifetime.
Being a beginner when it comes to strength training is similar. You must think of physical fitness as an art. Before you get to enjoy the masterpiece, you must start with just a brush stroke. Don’t look around and judge yourself against other peoples’ progress. Training is an individual journey. Use your more advanced peers as inspiration. Don’t be discouraged working out with people bigger or stronger than you. Find something to take away that you can possibly use yourself. Instead of being intimidated seek out what the successful people are doing consistently and utilize those cues in your routine. Train hard, lift heavy according to where you are in your physical fitness journey. Remember we are all at different points in our experience.
No matter your discipline, physical fitness is meant to be a lifelong journey. It needs to be done consistently and should be made as regular a habit as showering. On a base level exercise allows you to live a longer, healthier life. It has been shown to prevent disease such as diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer. On a higher level, we must present a strong, healthy, and disciplined image. Someone your peers would aspire to be like. If not solely for aesthetics or health remember this. The enemy is out there preparing for battle. What are you doing to prepare? To stop training is to give up on yourself and lets your fellow warriors down. There is to no excuse to quit. Put one foot in front of the other. Work on getting better, stronger, and faster, day after day and year after year.
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