The gym is a place many people are afraid of. Full of judgy eyes and perfectly sculpted bodies, everyone except you of course. And to add to all of that anxiety, working out is hard! But that is what draws people towards gyms.
Tony Robbins says two of our most essential human needs are certainty and uncertainty. Because we want to know we aren’t going to die when we walk out of the front door but we also like to think there is some spontaneous adventure waiting just around the corner. The gym is a place where you can find both, the uncertainty of what the workout is and how bad it’s going to hurt, but the certainty that you will survive and that you’re going to feel great afterward.
As you get more accustomed to working out some of that uncertainty starts to fade away and you either
A. Get into a really “comfortable” place where you do your workout and push ‘kinda’ hard, get sweaty, then walk away feeling like you’ve accomplished something.
Or B. You get bored and eventually leave the gym for something more exciting.
CrossFit has become so popular in the last 5 years because it delivers a massive amount of both Certainty and Uncertainty. The workout of the day changes every day and you won’t know until you arrive, uncertain. The coach will be there to guide you through everything, certain. There will be movements you’ve never done before like handstands, uncertain. There are progression or scaling options to suit your ability, certain. There are some legit athletes there, uncertain. It’s all about community and everyone supports each other, certain.
And so it builds an amazing stimulus in your brain to keep you coming back. But even crossfitters fall into the same trap and they either…
A. Get really comfortable with their favourite barbell, their spot in the gym, always having the perfect amount of chalk on their hands, or even going as far as finding out the WOD early and cherry picking which ones they attend.
Or B. Getting way too much uncertainty from all the things they can’t do, and how everyone else is so much better, and all the workouts hurt, and it’s easier just doing F45. Then give up and leave.
At the end of the day, people want uncertainty but only in small doses and only when they’re prepared for it. But the ones who go towards uncertainty, who run head-on into a challenge, and believe the obstacle IS the way are the ones who continue to grow when everyone else eventually falls off the pace or finds something else.
So if you have read this far I hope you have figured out the point of this all – firstly, understand that we all need some level of certainty & uncertainty. And the uncertainty we experience in the gym is possibly some of the easiest things we will encounter in our day but it builds a mindset around how we deal with those challenges. Do you complain? Blame others? Give up? – the easy way out. Or do you instantly switch your mind to solution mode and figure out what you can do to adapt and overcome. This is the person that everyone else says “it just comes naturally to you”, those same people will say “but I’m different”. In reality, it’s got more to do with grit and relentlessness than any kind of natural “talent”.
Instead of going to the gym to be comfortable and complaining about anything that will disturb the balance look at everything as a challenge, a problem that needs solving, and then figure out what you can do in that moment to get through it and you can always be certain that you will walk away stronger than before.
“Good judgment is the result of experience, and experience the result of bad judgment”.
– Mark Twain