“Go till you puke!”
"Don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop!”
Ah, the battle cries of most gyms and training centers. The law of the land is intensity. Without it, you’re doomed to failure. With it, you’re destined for glory.
This is true…to some extent.
Most gym-goers go through the motions (some with and most without intensity) just to get the task at hand finished. This is not growth. This is not improving yourself.
You must train with intent!
Each and every rep counts. Each and every lift matters. I don’t care how much you hate a certain exercise. You dig down, get under the bar and love every second of it (or at least tell yourself that.)
I love the scene in Fight Club when Ed Norton gets acid poured on his hand by Brad Pitt (or was it Ed Norton, still?) and when Norton tries to mentally take himself to another place Pitt screams “This is the greatest moment of your life, man, and you’re off somewhere missing it!”
While Pitt gets a little more psychological on Norton, the scene always stuck out with me. Love the pain. Enjoy the pain. Be one with the pain. It will bring you freedom and allow you to fully experience the task at hand.
This is training with intention. You are fully immersed in each movement. There is no “going to my cave” or finding a meditative state. There is only the pain that is soon accompanied by growth.
While this might seem a little aggressive and possibly sadistic (especially if you know the scene I’m referring to) but in reality this type of training allows you to see the positive in every situation because you are looking at it with absolute clarity.
Take squats for example. Most people hate to squat with a passion. They hate the burn, they hate how it feels and because of that they avoid it at all costs.
Squats, however can build massive amounts of strength and muscle and are a great fat burner. Now, you can just get them in and be done with it, but every time you go through the motions you miss out on a key life experience. An experience that will help you in the long run. This experience will give you the ability to handle anything. You'll feel invincible and incredibly empowered. Sound crazy? Give it a shot.
When you're in the middle of a hard set, and I mean gut-busting hard, don't turn away from the experience. Don't ease the mind with visions of unicorns and sugar-plums. Get dirty! Get your mind wrapped around the pain, that extreme burn of every exercise. If it's the 200th snatch, 50th squat, or max lift you get into it. You lift with full intention of experiencing as much from each rep as possible. Don't ever let a rep go to waste. You physique and performance is the cumulative effect of every single rep from the first easy few where you find your groove to the last agonizing one. Give each one the credit they deserve! Don't be a mindless zombie. Lift with intent.