How much pain can you tolerate? Now, how much pain can you put yourself through? It’s a lot harder to knowingly punch yourself in the head than someone else doing it. I bet it would hurt a lot less too. Softy. Couldn’t even punch yourself in the face.
When talking pain there are two things to consider. How much can the body endure, telling our brain that it hurts and how much your brain can simply put up with before sending the body into escape mode.
Let’s talk about it in regards to sports performance. The world’s top athletes have taught themselves from a very young age to push through the body’s limits. To ignore that pain and embrace it. Pushing to failure brings you through the other side fitter, faster and stronger. Plan to fail so you can win.
Change Your Mind With Pain
Your brain will instinctively tell you to stop when your pain receptors are copping it. Nature will always do what is meant to to survive. Your body will tell your brain to stop whatever you are doing because it hurts too much. This is the first stage. Now your brain will decide if you can tolerate it or to immediately stop. This is where we start to train our line of thinking to ignore certain levels of pain.
Go in the shower with the water as cold as possible. Your hand, like lightning, reaches for the tap to adjust it to your body’s temperature. Same thing happens if the water is too hot. With that flick of the wrist you could be a gunslinger in a Western shootout. Now start with the water at your body’s temperature and slowly adjust the water hot or cold, either way, and let your body adapt with each adjustment. You could probably reach the temperatures that you previously couldn’t move fast enough to get away from. This is building up your tolerance.
Your mind has told your body to adapt to the environment and the stresses your putting yourself through. If you can take that same concept with you into the gym you will see “miracles” happen.
Aim To Fail
What is your relationship with failure? Do you see it as a negative thing where it brings you down or do you use it as a tool to set new goals? In the gym use failure as your building block and guide to what you should do next.
You head to the bench press and you want 10 reps. Here are your new rules. Only do perfect reps (that means technique, range of motion and pace) and 10 is your target, whether you fall short or end up doing 20.
Your target reps aren’t where you should stop, it’s where you are aiming to work. If you fall short the weight is obviously too heavy, so lighten it and vice versa if you exceed your expectations. You want to be working that weight at 10 reps so adjust the weight to suit and follow your new rules. If you want 3 sets then you only count the sets where you were working perfectly 10 reps.
When you find that perfect weight you should feel that burn 2 or 3 reps into your set but be able to push through the pain until you can’t stand it anymore at 10. That is failure. You can’t define it as you can’t lift weight. It’s the fact that the muscle has reached breaking point and failed it’s role to stretch and contract any longer.
You’re a Failure (And You Love It)
Failure needs to be your best friend. Think of it as your pain-o-meter, it will determine your next move, your next set or next exercise. The pain should come on early in each set but still have enough energy to continue. Each rep creates more and more micro tears.
Become really good at hurting yourself.