I had this realization the other day while out running in the trails and it made me think. I was coming up on a long set of stairs and I started to talk myself out of running them, convincing myself that it was ok to walk them to the top. Which is what I did. Then when I got to the top I started running again and this made me ask myself: Why am I taking it easy when things get hard and then pushing myself when it is easy? I am never going to become stronger if this pattern continues.
I was then reminded of a time I was out for a hike with my mom and I noticed that every time we approached a hill she would slow down and end up trailing way behind me. Rather than finding another gear up to push harder she allowed herself to gear down. We had a little chat and I encouraged her to work hard up the hills and we would rest when it became flat. The result? She started to keep up and she had a way better workout.
What does this mean to you? If you find yourself resting at some of the hardest parts of your workout, you need to switch things around. Work hard and rest hard. My new mantra.
When you are out for your own run, for example, and you come up to a big hill, giv’er sh-t. Until you can’t anymore. Then you rest. But only when you absolutely have nothing left in you. The first time you do this you may give up quite quickly, but as you become comfortable at being uncomfortable you will be able to push a little farther and then a little farther. If you manage to get to the point where you run the entire hill, allow yourself to walk at the top of it. Start with maybe a minute of walking, then keep cutting that back until the point where you will find you don’t even need a rest. This is how you will become stronger.
Same goes in a spin class, or a yoga class or fitness class. When your instructor is pushing you to push yourself, do just that. Work the hard intervals as best you can and if you need to take a break, give yourself the break when things become easy. When I teach, I bring my clients to the point of near exhaustion but then I allow them a point to rest. And I encourage them to rest HARD. As they become more fit, they need less and less rest.
Start attacking the hard parts of your workout rather than letting them beat you from the get go. Set a goal as to how far, or how hard you will push and then try and exceed that goal. Sometimes you will, and sometimes you won’t, but going out on the offense rather than on the defense will set you up for greater success.
Attached - Hilary Duff leaving the gym yesterday in LA.