This is not going to be the most popular post I’ve ever written. It will probably push some buttons, and I’m completely okay with that. Sometimes we all need to be challenged, and this as much a wake up to myself as it is to anyone else reading it.
The story starts with our of our athletes, Mike. Mike has had unbelievable success in the gym. If you train there or even just follow us on Instagram (@summit.strength) or Facebook (Summit Strength & CrossFit SSP) you’ve no doubt seen Mike a few times. He is down over 40 pounds and many, many inches in the nine months training with us. However, the past few weeks have been tough. Life has gotten very busy, and with the holidays around following the specific nutrition plan we’ve created has just gotten more difficult. I completely understand this, as I struggle with the same thing nearly every year during the Holiday Season. I talked about that in more detail in this post. Anyway, the point is, Mike was falling off the train and we were seeing the fat loss slow down as a result. Then the past two weeks happened, and changed everything.
The New Motto:
One evening, Mike walked in and started chatting about a podcast he had listened to with a couple of ex-Navy SEALs. These guys endure some truly incredible things, so it is always inspiring to hear them speak. During the podcast, one of the SEALs had said, “You’ve got to just learn to embrace the suck.” We obviously had a new motto immediately established. Embrace The Suck. Everywhere. In the gym, in your nutrition, in your career, all of it. Stop wanting life to be so easy. It isn’t meant to be.
Wait a second, did I just say that life isn’t meant to be easy? And I expect you to believe in that idea? Yes, and yes. Look, by in large, life is pretty good for each of us. But doesn’t something inside of you yearn to work hard? Think about it like this, would Friday night be as fun if you didn’t work hard for the entire week leading up to it? No, it would just be another night. You wouldn’t have the weekend to look forward to. You wouldn’t have that satisfaction of knowing you produced something, did work that mattered, and earned your break. The same thing goes in the CrossFit box and your nutrition plan.
Applying to the Box:
Every week I take an off day, and I really enjoy that time spent outside of the gym. It is as much a mental break as a physical one. (Thank you Driven Nutrition for getting my recovery game on point.) But, that day is only fun because I’ve put in the work all week to make it to that point! Normally it’s Sunday, and I really enjoy being able to go to church, watch soccer and football, and drink too much coffee without having to try and fit a workout in the middle of the day. At the same time, I’m already looking forward to getting back into the workout the next day. It is a reset on my week, and it feels good to know I can lounge around that day because I’ve worked extremely hard the rest of the week. Without that hard work, I wouldn’t enjoy that Sunday nearly as much. It wouldn’t be an off day. It would just be another day.
Applying to Nutrition:
Harsh reality: losing body fat and gaining muscle are more about the kitchen than the weight room. Another harsh reality: your effort in the kitchen is boring, and it often doesn’t taste very good. Final harsh reality: you need to… GET OVER IT. Sorry. Not every single meal needs to taste like you went to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse and had a 30 day dry aged steak which came from some pampered cow in Japan. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Those meals rock. But do you know why they rock? Because you don’t always get to have them. If every meal was a rich, complex meal like that, you’d not appreciate them nearly as much. It’s like if you had ice cream every single day. Eventually, it would just be your habit, and cease to be a special treat. What fun is that? Look, most of your meals need to be the following format: a boatload of vegetables, at least half green, 6-8 ounces of lean protein, and a serving of healthy starch like a sweet potato, oatmeal, or sprouted grains, plus a serving of healthy fat such as nuts, nut butter, seeds, or grass fed butter. That’s it. You don’t need dessert every time. You have goals for fitness and health? Prove it. Stop letting your cravings be better than you.
So that’s it. Embrace The Suck in your life. Not only does it make the good times even better, but it makes you a stronger, better version of you. That’s why we workout so hard, to make ourselves better. It sucks, there’s no denying that. But the feeling you get when you’re all done and you’ve smashed the workout is among the best out there. Hard work is hard, and worth it. So do it. Embrace The Suck.