Apparently gym life has its own vocabulary. Not too long ago my trainer was encouraging me to “become a beast” and became amused when he realized I wasn’t familiar with that phrase. He said that while he knew me to be the kind of person who likes classical music, and scented candles, and quiet time, when at the gym I need to embrace different qualities. In other words, I need to channel the part of me that is less restrained and who has the drive to go for it. Just as I knew during the many years that I struggled with my weight that at my core I wasn’t a fat person (a struggle that continues to this day), it seems that, deep down, I have a side of me that is competitive and driven and strong and maybe even wild. I just need to let her out.
Ever since K. first mentioned this “beast” thing, I can’t stop thinking about it. It seems such a useful metaphor for life both inside and outside the gym. When faced with challenges of any kind I want to act more confidently and more resolutely, with less hesitation and more laser-like focus. To go all out. Less inhibition, more instinct. More beast-like.
Of course, it’s all well and good to think about becoming a beast; actually acting like a beast is quite another thing. When faced with a true challenge, who can I call forth – the “usual” me or the “buried deep down inside” me? A couple of days ago during boot camp, I focused on bringing out my beast. During the particularly challenging moments of the workout, I called upon my (hoped for!) hidden reserve of strength and will. I could actually hear the conversation going on in my head between “this is too hard” and “don’t you dare give up/you got this/quitting is not an option.” It’s hard to say whether thinking these thoughts helped me push further than I would have without them. Maybe “beastness” is a muscle and in being so acts like any other muscle. If so, I’ll need to overload it on a regular basis but also remember to give it time to rest and recover so that each time it can rebuild and come back stronger than before.