IN A WORLD THAT CHAMPIONS A HEALTHY MINDSET AS BEING EITHER RELAXED SERENITY, OR RAGE ENGULFED DARKNESS; BE BOTH.
When we look at extreme’s, light and dark, heavy and weightless – I’ve always found ice and fire to be entirely relatable, especially when it comes to mindset and motivation. What I’ll be talking about today is quite simply finding your fuel. We are all so amazingly different, it’d be pretty crazy to think we all run on the same thing right? Side note, I tried to fill a horse with petrol once, and feed a car carrots. The horse became a unicorn and mauled me, and the car hasn’t spoken to me since.
Mindset and fuel are two slightly different topics, but we’ll talk about both. We are in the winter months so there’s time for reading and avoiding the cold right? The images synonymous with mindset in the mainstream generally fall into two categories:
The overly happy looking person who did their makeup pre workout, has apparently never had a bead of sweat on their body but definitely had time to co-ordinate that outfit. This person is usually seen on posters lifting a 1kg weight or using some form of machine or an incredibly low intensity elliptical walk. The message is nearly always the same – love yourself, be happy, smile through your workout, then pat yourself down with a towel and go grab an iced latte. On the flipside we also have the:
I woke up in beast mode…. Bro. This generally jacked guy is 100% dedication, their mindset is weights. What are your hobbies? Squats. They embrace the hell out of lines like “chasing greatness,” where unfortunately the concept of greatness is normally a heavy deadlift PR. This mindset is marketed as eating rage for breakfast, scaring the grim reaper and bench pressing gorillas, always whilst keeping the anger turned up to 11. Are you even trying if you don’t look like you ate a poodle for a snack?
Now these are clearly two extremes – the images of serene tranquility, and death metal induced 500kg presses. The problem is, for the majority, these two vastly different, yet incredibly apparent mindsets are entirely fabricated. As fitness is primarily a product to be sold, the images related to it are often both unrealistic inaccurate. I’ve never seen that happy go lucky cloud of smiles truly pushing themselves, ok, I’ve never actually seen that person in general. I’m sure they exist, they must. If they don’t, then Bigfoot is almost certainly a lie. The angry hulk is almost always filled with entirely synthetic rage, which does nothing but add a layer of friction to their surroundings. I’d prefer Bigfoot. There has to be a balance.
“Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.”
– ROBERT FROST
With balance being part of our ethos, I’m guessing no one is surprised here when I start to champion that as the mindset for training. Apologies for my predictability there ladies, gents and that car I’m trying to make up with. Embrace whatever emotion is working for you. When things get hard and you’re getting by on grit and a stubborn refusal to quit – use whatever you can. Get angry, relax, get hyped, calm down. Just do what works, not what you think is best for show. Getting hot headed doesn’t work for everything. At all. I’ve found doing olympic lifting style training, when I get angry, it goes out the window. I get into arguments with inanimate objects and nothing goes to plan. There are also times I need that anger, that gritty mentality to get through a more gruelling session. Needs and musts.
The same can be said for fuel. As I’ve said in the past, the recurring message, and likely the “healthiest” is love yourself and be healthy because you respect your body. I’ve always looked at it as a little more complex. Obviously, we are fuelled by what we pursue, we are driven by our desired destination. What we use to get there is the variable. Yup. Science. You don’t have to fuelled by sunshine, rainbows and unicorns. Sometimes, you need to dig deep, go to some darker places in your mind, and harness those feelings. There’s a quote that I find puts it perfectly. Coach Lennart Bergelin, when talking to Bjorn Borg, one of the greatest tennis players of all time about channeling his inner chaos told him:
“All that rage, the fear, the panic you might be feeling, load it into every stroke.”
Borg was often described as a machine due to his stoic exterior, cold as ice appearing entirely emotionless. Yet driven by emotions the outside world would never see. The inner chaos, like so many things can be to great effect.
With mindset, and fuel – it’s all about finding what works for you.
Find your destination, and figure out what you have to do to get there.
With every journey, find the fuel to get you there, whatever form that takes.
Lastly, just be you in whatever form you need to be. Be Fire. Be Ice.
For The Pack,