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10-26-17… Embrace The Suck….

When you think of comfort, what images come to mind? Maybe you are thinking of a nice couch or recliner. Some might even be thinking about laying out on a beach somewhere with a drink in hand. For the most part, when we think of comfort, we think of positive images. On the other end of the spectrum, when you think of discomfort, what images come to mind? Maybe you are thinking of manual labor on a hot, summer day. Some might even be thinking about a hero WOD or, on a more serious note, losing a job or a loved one. For the most part, when we think of discomfort, we have negative mental associations.

For the most part, I agree. It is good to be comfortable from time to time. In fact, being comfortable as opposed to uncomfortable can have a positive impact on combatting stress. However, living in your comfort zone can also have a negative impact on your health. During the happiest times of our lives (marriage, freshmen year, new job, new baby) we often gain weight. Why? We gain weight during happy times because we are comfortable and often splurge on food and nights on the town.

While we are uncomfortable, our stress levels often go up, and our bodies, in turn, respond to that stress. From a physiological perspective, our bodies are forced to adapt to the stressors; when we are uncomfortable, we are forced to grow in order to compensate for all of the stressors put on our mind, body, and soul. For centuries, the fittest athletes have used pain and agony to fuel their workouts. However, recently there have been connections between being uncomfortable and mental toughness. Positioning yourself to be uncomfortable not only increases your physical strength, but also increases your mental toughness and fortitude. Those who are successful in the gym and at life are those who purposefully put themselves in a position to be uncomfortable.

Most of us would gawk at the idea of purposefully making ourselves uncomfortable. However, the mental toughness that results from this practice is enough to make it worthwhile. This is one reason why the conditions of a military boot camp are purposefully rough. This is why the Marines take a crucible trip. It is all to help give them mental toughness. There is a saying in the military that speaks to this principle: “Embrace the Suck.” We embrace the suck because we know that it gives mental toughness.

This should apply to all aspects of life, including the weight room. While working out, instead of shaving reps or instead of giving up, learn to embrace the suck. Push through the mental pain and embrace it. If you can learn to conquer mental pain, the physical results will follow. Whatever today throws at you, embrace the suck! Whatever obstacles your next workout gives you, embrace the suck! When you purposefully position yourself to be uncomfortable, embrace the suck because your mental and physical goals will not be far behind!

– Stephen 




Front Squat, while resting complete sets of auxiliary work


800m run

Deadlifts x 15

3 rounds for time