The gym is such an easy place for you to push yourself and really test how mentally tough you are. When you are feeling exhausted, you can keep pushing to last that extra minute or bang out that last repetition. However, it is also an incredibly hard place to push yourself. It is so easy to give up and say you cannot do another one or you cannot go on. This is especially true with the last rep.
This morning in the gym, I bench pressed. For those who may not know, a bench press is when you lay flat on your back, bring the weight down to the your chest, and lift it back up. Benching is the manly man’s exercise and since I like to pretend I am a manly man, even though I’m not, this is my favorite exercise. Aside from the manliness of the exercise, it is my favorite because it is the exercise where I can push myself the most. Today, I got pass a huge mental wall: the 8th repetition or the last rep. The last repetition is always the hardest for me but not just physically; it is the hardest mentally. The last rep of the bench press is the hardest repetition of any exercises for me. Here is the reason why: on the 7th rep, I usually struggle and barely get it all the way up. When I do get it up though, instantly in my head I think, “I could barely get that one up. I will never get this last one.” Without trying to, this is what I tell myself and like I tell myself, I never get the last one up . . . until today!
Today I was able to stop myself from thinking I was not going to finish the last rep. Instead, I told myself that I was not going to stop until I got the weight all the way up. I sat there with the bar about half way up for about 5-10 seconds, but it felt like an eternity. I kept pushing and pushing (my face was probably as red as an apple at that point) but I finally got it up to the top. When I was done I was physically worn-out but I felt great because I mentally succeeded. That was one of the hardest things I could remember doing and it felt great. Pushing beyond that mental barrier that has been holding me back for so long put me in a great mood for the rest of my workout and the day.
This is why I love sports and exercise and think they are so important because there are so many lessons to learn from them. They are not just full of physical benefits but mental ones as well. The lesson that I learned today was that the hardest things are the most rewarding. When things get tough, keep pushing and do not give up because even though you may feel terrible while doing it, you will feel great for having done it. There is just something about accomplishing a goal that has a great deal of difficulty attached to it that brings people to a state of euphoria. So just remember no matter how hard the journey seems, no matter how long it is, no matter what it takes to go through; it will all be worth it in the end. In the end you will feel amazing, you will feel like you can do anything and that is because if you did not give up; you can do anything.
I am beginning to push myself to new limits, have you started?