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Monday, February 21, 2011

I Love to See Fit People Fail!



I am currently doing a 90 day work out entitled “P90X Insanely Reloaded Plus.” It’s an intense hybrid program that combines the P90X, P90X Plus and Insanity dvds to create one heck of a workout. There’s jumping, lifting, squatting, pushing and pulling all week long to ensure that my body never stops and my mind never bores. Man-oh-man, is it challenging!

In the Insanity videos one instructor leads while a group of about 12 super-fit people follow along in a gymnasium. If you’ve never seen the Insanity program, let me just assure you that it is aptly named. It is non-stop cardio that makes my heart race and makes my muscles ache. Throughout each dvd Shawn T yells at participants to Dig Deeper! and push through the pain. Sometimes he orders specific participants to take a break when he sees their form faltering. Some participants collapse during a push-up or fall on the floor with exhaustion during a drill. Their muscles fail. Oh how I love to see them fail.

No, I am not mean or boastful. And I am not referring to crash-and-burn types of failure. The reference here is to those little failures that make us stop what we’re doing and plot a new course. When watching Insanity I don’t find victory in the participants’ failure. I find camaraderie. I see that even fitness-buffs have limits. When the athletes on the dvd can’t do the drill it makes me feel a bit better about taking my own breaks when needed. It reminds me that this is hard work… for everyone. And guess what? These buff-bodies don’t stay down for the count. After they collapse they catch their breath get some water and come back for more. Within seconds they’re back to the level-three drills that took them down moments before.

Outside of the fitness forum there are areas in life where we need to be reminded that it’s okay to fail… there are times when we need to press our own personal pause button (says Tony Horton from P90X). Sometimes we simply need to catch our breath, get some water and come back for more. It’s restorative maintenance and it’s exactly what is needed to dig deeper in our work, our work outs, our relationships and our lives.

Parenting is probably my favorite place to apply this metaphor. There are times when I fail. There are things I wish I’d said differently or hadn’t said at all. There are times when I am anything but mindful and I miss out on the beauty of now. In situations such as these I don’t have the physical pain of muscle failure screaming at me to take a break. Instead, when I am present enough to connect with it, I feel an unsettled gnawing within that prods me to rejuvenate. This metaphorical muscle tells me I am failing…no, not actually failing as a parent, but failing at the activity of the moment. I know I can do better when I am better. I can be better when I catch my breath, drink some water and come back for more.

For me my breathe-hydrate-return routine can be as simple as giving myself a mini-meditative time out or it can be more structured like making plans for restoration so I can return refreshed. A walk, writing, working out, or napping all work well to bring me back to my best. And yes, I can always count on a deep breath and a big glass of water to help as well. :)

What gets you back in the game when you’ve “failed”?

3 comments:

Lori said...

This is so well said Michelle. I am too afraid to try P90 X so I won't fail at that. Total insanity. I would reeeeally love to see them fail. Forgiveness gets me back in the game. Usually of myself.

Lori said...

Seriously, the title of your blog is the best. ever.

Larry said...

"metaphorical muscle." Excellent description.