Barring the time I got ravaged by COVID or when I pulled my back, I’ve managed to maintain my daily workout schedule for about a year now. I don’t even remember how long it’s been. I’m just basing it off this post.
And I’ve uploaded said workouts in the form of Insta stories to hold myself accountable, even though it’s just to a handful of people.
But as a result of the stories, I did get a couple people sliding into my DMs, asking me whether I’m training to be invincible.
The answer is yes.
Am I preparing for a competition? Yes. For the competition of life.
Am I an addict? Yes. I’m addicted to the pump.
Do I take days off? Ye—uh, you almost got me there. No.
Another common question is why. Why do I work out? Is it for the abs? The biceps? To be a fitness influencer?
In coming up with the answer, I’d realise how much my exercise goals have changed, and by writing this post, I hope to perhaps shed some light on why I’ll continue on this journey, and hopefully inspire others to do the same.
Reason number one, it’s not to adopt the alpha grindcore mindset. Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s start with the list.
You kill me? I kill me.
If we take our emotions and simplify them as much as we can, we’ll find that the reluctance to exercise is similar to that of writing, or confronting somebody, or making that sales call.
And the hurt from having to do another burpee when you’re already breathing fire is the same pain you feel when arguing with your spouse, or having to work overtime (again), or receiving bad news.
And we’re very much wired to avoid this pain in pursuit of pleasure.
Why is this important to know? Because the only way to deal with your fears—in this case, pain—is through exposure. That way, pain doesn’t have any control over you, and you’re free to live your life without worrying about the next mishap that could tumble your way.
So that’s why I put myself through the grind each day. It’s not that I’m impervious to pain and sloth. In fact, I’m deathly afraid of suffering.
But by forcing myself through that suck, the volume knob in life gets turned down, and every other inconvenience of the day pales in comparison to the four-hundredth push-up I did that morning.
The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in battle
I love Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, and one of the ways to learn the sport is to spar with a resisting opponent. No flashy kung-fu moves here. Just two people going at it with the end goal of maiming or incapacitating somebody.
And because we spar so much, it’s only natural to remain somewhat civil during the entire process. So always respecting the tap and forgoing dirty techniques are the norm.
But once in a while, you get someone so hopped on adrenaline that you’d think they were fighting for a belt in the UFC. As a result, you get inadvertent knees to the jaw or fingers in the eyes.
Tons of people frown on that lack of control, but I secretly enjoy it. Because that’s how I test my techniques against a real assailant. One who doesn’t play by the rules.
And thus we enter the concept of making your training harder than the real thing.
You decide how to push yourself
Have a presentation to make? An interview to ace? A spelling bee to win? You best believe the same rules apply.
It’s not just about practising your musical scales because your teacher told you to. It’s about training beyond what’s needed for a typical concert, so that you have the proper confidence going into your live tour.
It’s studying every angle of your debate—even if you don’t have to—so that you can enjoy the security of knowing all the arguments your opponent could make.
Cam Hanes, the top bowhunter in his field, shared a meaningful quote on this topic: “If the hunt itself is the hardest thing you’ve ever done, then you’ll most probably fail.”
Nothing truer can be said. We often save our greatest effort for D-Day when we should actually expend everything ourselves long before that day arrives.
So you see, it’s not about pushing yourself because you’re into the hustle mindset. It’s about going hard on your normal days so that it feels easy when it matters.
Let’s talk self-talk
You know the most unexpected benefit I got from exercising every day? It’s that I talk differently in my head now.
It went from ‘ah, there’s just so much shit to do today, I freaking hate this’ to ‘I got this’.
All those days of dragging my ass to keep my own promises had changed the way I perceive myself. And now when I have a long day ahead of me, I don’t dread what’s to come.
Instead, just like how I would complete my hour-long grind of burpees, I’d do the same with my to-do list. By putting in one rep after another.
The more I weather myself against this pain, the better I deal with the other pains in my life. And the more I face down and crush my workouts every day, the more confident I become in doing the necessary-but-often-inconvenient tasks.
You can start too
Of course, we all have different lives and circumstances, so working out may not be accessible to everybody. If you have that choice, you definitely should opt for exercise first, since you’d also get the added benefits of health.
But there are also other ways to hone this skill. David Goggins said to do something that sucks every day. That’s not a recruitment drive for Masochistics Anonymous. It’s actually a way of training yourself to better face the rigours of your day.
Hate public speaking? Do that. Enjoy playing chess but can’t stand studying openings? Do that too. You’ll know that it’s good training grounds when you feel the dread right before doing the task.
Of course, exercise proper judgement and don’t pursue dread just for the sake of it—like drinking a bottle of vodka just to experience the hangover.
There are plenty of positive alternatives that your mind tends to resist, such as doing the chores, fasting, or waking up early.
Soon, you’ll find yourself enjoying not only the primary benefits of the habit, but also the added value of toughening your mind.
So the next time someone sees you doing something sucky and asks you why you do it, I hope that you’ll find your answer through this practice.
Me? I work out every day not because I want to be better at exercise, but because I want to be better at everything else.
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