It’s apparently a late-week, love themed, back to back, pair of posts at this corner of the internet. I guess it’s the mental association of yesterdays post, but You Gotta Love It got me thinking. It is often said that we are either lovers or fighters. Why can’t we be lovers and fighters? Isn’t that what we are when we’re training? Under those conditions and that specific circumstance, are we not literally loving to fight? Maybe this isn’t adding up for you, but for me there is no better comparison of a true battle than the one that happens between you and the training. Or maybe that is more of a battle between you and yourself. Yet we willingly and warmly embrace it. On any given day, you or I have the option to not train at all. We do however, and usually we’re excited to. So does that not simply mean we relish(not, no the condiment) a good bout of antagonism?
There were many questions in that opening paragraph, although to be fair it was really just the same question phrased differently in my mind’s attempt to sort out what it was trying to say. Now that the direction has been established, I think we’re done with the open ended questions. Time to move on to some answers I should think.
Let me go way back to the beginning now that I have my bearings. I mean the beginning for us as individuals, which means birth. At the moment that the process of birth began, you began fighting for your life. As someone who has been in the delivery room for the births of my two beautiful boys, I can tell you that as much as birth is a wonderful thing, it is also a terrifying experience. My role as a member of the male sex, is to be there and of course support my partner as best as I can in this extremely physical and emotional situation that she’s in, but all the while I have my eyes and ears glued to the monitors that are telling us how the as yet unborn baby is doing. It’s this information that is being beamed to me that has me in at least a half panicked state the entire birthing experience.
I can tell those of you that have not been in this situation before, that the baby spends a considerable amount of time in a fair degree of stress. Their heart rate goes incredibly high, so high that you wonder how they are surviving. It’s clear that the baby is not in a very good situation at times and is really struggling, so much so that the poor little guys kept falling asleep while all this is happening. The birth of both of my sons were not particularly easy as there were some complications which added considerably to my already fragile psyche, but the births were not on the ridiculously extreme side either. What I’m getting at with this side story is as I stated earlier, the moment it has been decided that you are entering the world your fight for survival begins.
This is where I think that saying you’re either a lover or a fighter is way off the mark. It makes more sense to me that we are lovers and fighters. It is because of love that we must fight. Allow me to explain this as on the surface, love and fight seem to be at opposite ends of the same spectrum. They are in actuality as well. Our lives are lived on some sort of continuum for lack of a better word, and at one end there is fight while at the other is love. They are sort of both keeping an eye on everything that happens in between. You know, all that life stuff. When something really special or important happens, then the two will join forces. When they do-watch out! The display of raw power and emotion can be pretty intense when this happens.
You who read here daily know what is coming next don’t you? I’m going to bring this full circle and relate it to our training. Anyone at all can look at what is happening when someone is training and draw an accurate conclusion. It doesn’t matter what type of training it is either. It can be weight training, Olympic lifting, circuit training, bodybuilding, training for speed, power or agility through sprints and various drills and the never ending techniques that come and go in the trendy world of commercialized fitness. It doesn’t really matter all that much though. If someone were to be watching any or all of the above, what they would describe is something that looks like a struggle, or a fight if you will. They would be right. If you were to ask the person involved in this form of a fight why they are doing this, they would explain that they do it for the love of the struggle. They would be right as well. Both the observer and the trainee are describing two very different things, but really it’s sort of the same. Or perhaps to put it correctly, it’s both.
It makes sense to me at least that the more we love something, the harder we are willing to fight for it. If we love our life, then you better believe that we will be ready, willing and able to fight for its continued health. As a result, we will do anything in our power to enhance our own capabilities through whatever means are available to us. Even if those means are somewhat of a struggle. Is that not what we are doing every single time we set foot in the gym, or lace up our shoes to go for a run, or embark on a competition whether it be as part of a team or as an individual?
We as human beings are like any other animal on the face of this earth and as such we obey the same innate rules as any other animal. Really, once you get past all of the window dressing we adorn ourselves with, we are just another animal. We just do it with more style, or so we like to think. Due to these inborn guidelines, we human animals are hardwired for survival. Once you combine that with our enormously sophisticated brains, we have certain abilities that other animals appear to not have. Animals are driven to survive just as we are, but their concerns are more of the immediate variety. I highly doubt that a squirrel collecting nuts for the winter is thinking anything beyond the approaching cold season. If that squirrel is thinking years down the road, then color me impressed. That seems to be a uniquely human talent. The ability to think long term.
Not to mention that in addition to thinking long term, we are able to look at life and get a general idea as to what it is in a larger context than just the day to day, or moment to moment activities necessary for survival. I’m fairly certain that the squirrel we have been discussing spends little to no time thinking about the meaning of life. Furthermore, the squirrel has more pressing issues at hand and as a species they seem to have very poor skills as far as philosophy is concerned.
What we humans have figured out is that life is essentially a struggle. Therefore it makes sense to us that in order to thrive within this struggle, it is best to be very good at struggling. This is exactly what we are doing when we train. We are struggling. We are fighting. We are conditioning ourselves to be strong and vital because we love life so thoroughly that we are taking every step to ensure our continued enjoyment of our capacities. The word train implies that we are teaching ourselves something as well, and through this teaching comes the adaptations that make us stronger physically, and mentally.
Without our health we don’t have anything, is a phrase we have all heard uttered before. Within the context of the life you or I lead, I’m sure this makes absolute and complete sense. That’s at the core of us as people, and that will never change. The more we love what we have, the more we will work to hang on to what we feel is valuable. I know you’re with me on this when I say that we value our health and ourselves enough to make sure we put a priority on our personal care. In order for us to be valuable to others we must first be valuable to ourselves. Everyday we will wake up ready to fight, because after all we are lovers and fighters. Until tomorrow my friends,