Tuesday, April 5, 2016

"Forcing MIND into the MUSCLE"

"Put it on 130"

I did what I was asked to do and then watched in amazement as my coach did several reps lifting 130 lbs with each arm in a bicep curl.

"Put it on 150"

I obeyed, and then witnessed my coach demonstrating what it took to lift 150 lbs with each arm at the same time in a bicep curl.

Wow.  I knew my coach had been a professional boxer, in addition to playing international football, swimming and diving... I thought about how sorry his opponents must have felt when in the boxing ring with Ron Williams.

"Take it to 190 or whatever the maximum weight is"

I obeyed.

I watched in absolute awe as this incredible human lifted 190 lbs. with each bicep.  The intensity of his eyes, the energy about him, whatever thoughts he had were palpable.  In that moment I knew that I had been changed.

He told me THIS is what it means to "Force your MIND into your MUSCLE".

Earlier in our workout, he had taught me a concept using boxing as an example.  When training, instead of hitting the heavy bag's surface, you need to visualize hitting through to the other side of it.  Doing so requires putting your "mind into the muscle." He told me that everything I was going to do would require my putting my mind into my muscle - the correct ones.

For the past two weeks when I have gone to "workout" with him, the weight lifting has been minimal.  Most of the focus has been on proper technique.  For 2-3 hrs., we spend 20-30 minutes talking about each exercise and make sure that when I am executing it, I am using every single correct muscle and not engaging any muscle that shouldn't be.  It has been an incredible experience.  Already I cannot walk into the gym without noticing a couple of people who are doing a particular movement wrong.

It feels amazing to be trained by a true champion. I thank God for this incredible opportunity.  Ron hasn't trained a female athlete in over 8 years.  Why did he pick me?  He saw a potential in me that I could not see myself.

When I was working out with all the other guys in Ron's 6 week course for business owners, I was obviously the weakest of the group.  When I started, I couldn't do a single push-up.  Not because I lacked the strength, but because my mind would not send the signal to whatever muscle it was that needed to work to initiate that push-up.  Over the course of the 6 weeks and on to another 6 week round, Ron saw the determination that I had to overcome.  Once he tried to help me put back my equipment and I blurted out "no".  I had told myself I would not give up until my hands would respond to what my mind was telling it to do.  I struggled to get an attachment off that would have been very simple for Ron to remove himself.  If I hadn't told myself "no matter how long this takes, I am going to get this off myself", then I would have not been so blunt and rude to Ron.  Because I had my eyes focused on the task and did not want to be disturbed or distracted, I simply had enough brain power to say "no".  Ron backed away and observed.  I felt like sobbing as my fingers struggled to get the right signal from my brain.  Finally, I was able to remove the item, fell back in a sigh of relief and then explained why I didn't want help.

For this and other reasons, Ron and his wife Tonya, decided to invest in my victory.  They have seen me at my absolute low in many areas of my life, and they want to be a part of my rise to fame.  Already Ron is scheduling me for speaking engagements yet I haven't hit the goal yet.  Fortunately for me, Ron can already see my potential and knows that I will get there.  His only advise to me is "do not quit".  He said if I quit, it will feel like an abortion to him.  He is putting everything into making me the champion that he knows I am capable of.

After demonstrating lifting 190 lbs with each bicep curl, he told me to trade him places.

Moments earlier, I had attempted the bicep curls.  10 lbs.  I could barely lift it.  30 lbs.  I could barely lift the weight with one arm.  After observing what he had done, he set the weights to 30 lbs.  He told me to "force your MIND into your MUSCLE".  Visualizing I could do it, and breathing out slowly, I was shocked to raise the 30 lbs easily.  It felt like 5 lbs.  I lifted 30 lbs over and over and over.  He placed the weight at the 50 lbs mark.  "Try it again", he told me.  I focused on the thought that I could do it and I lifted that heavy weight several times.  Oh dear God, I lifted 50 lbs on each arm.

Forever changed.

"That", he told me "is what you do with EVERY aspect of your life!"

Cold chills, and tears almost surfaced.  I knew I WAS forever changed. I would never forget that experience.

"You think that it is hard", he penetrated my eyes with his when he said it, "but it isn't hard! Change your perspective and life becomes easy!"

He ended with saying "Training CORRECTLY is exhausting - mentally and physically."

Mind over matter.

This past weekend I was struggling.  In an attempt to not spiral downward completely, I tried to change my thoughts to more positive ones.  I reached for Facebook and clicked on one of the groups I am a part of called "The Wasatch Mountain Wranglers". The posts there are always incredibly inspiring. I scrolled through the posts and cried as we all cheered on the members who were participating in the 2016 Barkley Marathon.  Only 14 people have ever finished the grueling 100 miles of tough terrain in Tennessee.  One of the Wasatch Rangler's, a woman, Jennilyn Eaton, from Utah, would be the first woman to finish it if she did.

I was glued to my phone off and on for hours as I nervously awaited updates...

"Erik had to drop on loop two due to a knee injury.  Jared and Gary are looking strong and are on loop 3.  No word in Jennilyn yet but Chelsea ______ said "In 22 hours only 3 runners have finished lap 2.  This is an all time low! The conditions are perfect.  This goes to show the difficulty of this years course".

Later we would learn that Jennilyn had made the cutoff barely.  She had 10 minutes to completely change and get 1500 calories down her before she started loop 3.

At about 7:19pm on Sunday we would find out that Jennilyn had tapped out.  Out of 800 people who have competed at the Barkley and only 14 finishers over the past 30 years, she did amazing!

Another update.  "Gary Robbins and Jared Campbell finished Loop 4.  Jared will go CW.  Gary will go CCW. 13:25 to go.

At 8:21pm The Barkley Marathon's Facebook Page announced "Jared Campbell just finished the Barkley.  He is the first 3-time finisher, one of only two to finish more than once, and one of 14 ever to finish."

Here is an article from The Runner's World about the experience...


Here is a video that explains the Barkley in Tennessee...


Congratulations Jennilyn, congratulations, Jared Campbell and to all of the amazing racers who were selected!  You both are an incredible inspiration!!!

Here's to going through life and instead of saying "this is so hard", make the mental shift and say "this is easy, I've got this!"

We may not all run the Barkley, but we all have our own "terrain", "mental and physical challenges" and "unexpected turns and weather conditions", per se; in our lives.

Tell yourself "YOU. CAN. DO THIS!" I will do the same.

With much love,