I believe that there are bags full of lessons that carryover from the gym to life. Spend enough time with barbells, tires, and sandbags are you are bound to gain some perspective. I would say that this is probably true for every physical endeavor, thus broadening the scope, for those athletes that don’t subscribe to the same fitness regime as us.
I observed an athlete the other day amidst a workout, tangling with a very heavy implement. The stimulus spotlighted for the day was carrying a near maximal keg for a hundred feet. Each athlete may have gotten to this movement between one and five times during the course of the workout depending on scaling, and level of fitness. I specifically asked for “near maximal” which immediately would start to tailor down the rounds each athlete was capable of, due to exertion.
What I observed was outstanding. This athlete was on the last of her carries with time winding down. She had already dropped the keg twice. On her final attempt to complete the hundred feet, she lost grip maybe four feet short. She was pretty damn close. I watched her consider walking away and leaving it there to move on to the next movement, then she turned around and took one more go. She deadlifted the keg slow, took two heavy steps, and set the keg back down. It was beautiful!
This right here is the tipping point. The tipping point of character and success. For her, all of the work up to this point was just setting the stage for one decision, which was what to do, leave it unfinished, or grab that damn thing and make it happen. This is where I believe carryover comes in. This is the direct connection to your daily life.
You see, the gym is just practice. We are all here getting after it day after day to get better. While some are athletes by profession, and even some are Olympic hopefuls, but all of us are here to get better. What we do in the gym is hard. It’s meant to be that way. Our bodies search for adaptation and that is what we chase, whether that be a numbers goal, a aesthetic goal, or general well being.
Finishing that last four feet is huge. Could you build a case that a tremendous amount of fitness came from that? I doubt it, but what you can conclude is that when life gets squirrelly and things get hard, you have reps of struggle to rely on. You know what hard is and what heavy feels like. I know this particular athlete well, and have seen her live her life in a very unique and honest way. What I see in her workouts is a mirror image of the person that I know she is outside of this gym.
These things we do, these tasks, these drills, the rep schemes, these intervals, they have purpose. And, the purpose is not singular in kind. The carryover is widespread. One of our athletes explained to me how heavy power cleans, and jumping onto boxes has helped her play viola in a very well known musical group. It makes her a more explosive musician on a stringed instrument. I might add that she did not enjoy the power cleans or the box jumps while we were doing them at all. It wasn’t until months later that I heard this comparison. I would have never made that connection, nor thought it possible that this be the case.
Leaving reps on the table, not trying hard, missing days at the gym teach different lessons. I am not sure where this road leads. I have my suspicions. But, finishing what you came to do, getting all the reps, running the distance, and getting what you came for, that dog will hunt!
1: 10 Renegade Rows
2: 5 Overhead Squats (135/95)
3: 200′ Shuttle Sprint