Why We Suffer

Why We Suffer by Coach Jared MacDonald

I was at rep 67 or so of 100 of overhead barbell squats, legs screaming, mind focusing, searching for balance and depth. I thought briefly, “why am I doing this”? It wasn’t a question of doubt, but more of introspection. Why would a 38 year old , who is long past his best days as an athlete, and those days weren’t impressive comparatively, do 100 squats with a barbell over his head. What is he after? And that question has stuck with me recently and I wanted to share some conclusions and thoughts about that question and hopefully you can take something away from that introspection. A couple of notes before we continue. I did not write this to be braggadocious or snarky and I hope it comes across as genuine and useful. Secondly, I have come to realization over the last few years that trainers are not normal, we enjoy things that the general public mostly doesn’t. If you don’t enjoy suffering in the gym you’re not alone, but trainers are a different breed in this area. 

  1. We suffer to improve. I was challenging myself in a new and difficult way. Anyone can do this, and for some it can be stepping into the gym for the first time. It doesn’t need to be the latest and fanciest form or variation to be a challenge and cause change or improvement. Everyone in the gym is looking to improve. Strength, weight loss, conditioning, etc. Keep that in your mind when your body is screaming at you to STOP!
  2. We suffer to suffer less outside the gym. We could be improving strength and coordination so that walking up and down stairs is easier. We could be looking to improve our cardio respiratory system so keeping up with kids or grandkids is easier and more enjoyable, or hanging on to as much endurance and athleticism as possible so we can still compete at some level in recreational sports. The point is not to be better inside the gym, although that is a byproduct, the main goal is to be more outside of the gym.
  3. We suffer for others. We want more energy outside the gym to be better fathers, mothers, partners, grandparents, humans. We want to be able to warm up our pitcher of a daughter, coach our receiver of a son, go on a hike with our spouse, pick up our grandchildren, live longer and more prosperous lives with those we love.
  4. We suffer in vanity. We want to look better in jeans, surprise ourselves and others with our abilities. It’s fun and encouraging to do difficult things! Celebrate your accomplishments, feel good about achieving new found strength or endurance. Hit 100% on the MyZone, Ring that Bell!

The next time you are slogging through a workout and your mind is telling you to stop, think about why you are suffering. What are you after? Is it worth the cost? Will you suffer?