“Chop the wood in front of you”

One of the ladies in my morning cross training class shared this little nugget of wisdom with me today. The point being just focus on what you’re doing now and don’t worry about how much time is left or how many rounds you’ve done. Just keep going. Half way into a marathon interval training session we had all transitioned into a zombie like trance. We stopped thinking, and simply did all we could to keep moving, determined not to quit until we were through. I couldn’t feel my arms, or my legs, sweat was pouring down my face stinging my eyes, and making my grip slick and tenuous at best but we all just kept going.


Workouts like these are great because they allow you to really probe into your inner strength. Twenty minutes into a routine that seems like it will never end, the voices in your head have stopped whispering and tempting you; they’re screaming in your ear. Quit they say, you’ve done enough; you have nothing to prove, except that you do. This is when you find out just who you are, and what you’re made of. You find out how much you really want your goals and how far you’re willing to go. People looking in from the outside will be tempted to say, “It’s just a workout, what’s the big deal.” They don’t understand though that’s it’s more than that.


Every great thing that was ever done started with small tests. It started with small moments when those people were presented with a choice; either to quit or keep going. Fortunately for civilization many kept going. They pushed past what they thought they could do and then past what everyone said they couldn’t and then they just kept going. Every great moment in our history was built on the shoulders of someone who refused to quit.


I’ve been working out for most of my adult life. I like to think I’m pretty strong, I can definitely lift some heavy weight and do some crazy things. These last two weeks though I have found that what I knew and thought I knew about fitness were separated by a huge gulf of effort and intensity. I am rediscovering a workout ethic that I forgot after leaving the Marines. “Leave nothing on the table” when it comes to your workouts. Maximum results and progress come only from maximum effort and intensity. After-all if you’re paying to workout should you not make sure you’re getting the most out of your money?


Wherever you are in your fitness goals, remember that this journey will be filled with tests and gut-check moments when you will be faced with a choice. You can quit or you can keep pushing. It’s really just that simple. Many are called but the chosen are few and those that are left standing at the end will be those who refused to quit. Sure it will hurt, sure it will be uncomfortable. I can’t count how many nights I’ve spent lulled to sleep by the smell of tiger balm and Ben-Gay but it’s a small price to pay for achieving great things. So for now focus on the task at hand; Chop the wood in front of you and forget about the forest we’ll get to that tomorrow.

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