There’s a great deal written these days about the psychology behind exercise, and more specifically, improved performance when exercising or playing sport.
I believe the simplest way to achieve an improvement in athletic performance – and all the benefits that flow with such an improvement – is to view any individuals current psychological state, in relation to the capabilities of their body, as a series of progressive compartments.
At the base level, in other words someone who has never physically exerted their body, would be the first ‘compartment’. Their thoughts in relations to exercise and what their body may or may not be capable of, is limited strictly to the confines and limitations of that compartment.
The only way the individual can ever become aware about the existence of another compartment, and therefore an expansion of their physical horizon, is to physically exert themselves to the point wherein they discover not only the limits of their current compartment, but in actual fact that there is another one waiting for them. It’s bigger, it leads to a better understanding of their body, and ultimately a more enlightened sense of one’s capabilities.
The above is best explained by using the extreme example of “The Ultimate Ultras.” These are four 250 kilometer marathons, in jungles, desserts, mountains and arctic ice lands which must be completed in a 12 month period.
For almost anyone reading this, the above races are impossible to comprehend. How do you even start training for something like this, let alone complete it? This ‘compartment’ would be at the opposite end of the spectrum to the first one discussed above. To reach it, to understand and comprehend it, you have to make your way through many other compartments that gradually expand your capacity, and therefore change what you previously thought was possible for your body.
While this is an extreme example, it’s the theory behind it that we embrace and preach at Roark. Our goal, simply stated, is to change what people previously considered as ‘hard work.’
It’s a privilege to be in a position to help people see how much more they are capable of – to shape people’s perspectives. We break compartments on a daily basis, and it turn are able to explore and break our own because we are shown the possibility of what is possible.
Our advice is simple: be brave enough to put yourself in a position of discomfort. This doesn’t mean running marathons through jungles, it just means trying something in the gym in which the outcome is uncertain – and scary.
The possibility of what is possible. That’s all you need. To go somewhere new, to a place where both your mind and body comprehend, simultaneously, that you are capable of more. So much more.
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