My college lacrosse coach was notorious for his difficult workouts. Every day he showed up to practice with a clipboard, and one of us would sneak over to catch a peek and see what special kind of hell we were in for that day.
To top it off, we were the newest team in a 26 sport athletic program and practiced from 10 to midnight.
Coach Nestor's expectation was that we stretched before practice so that we didn't waste a minute of that two-hour practice slot. You ran a mile for each minute you were late.
No one was ever late.
Coach was in his first head coaching gig back then, and he had plenty to prove. So we conditioned at the beginning, middle, and end of practices. Suicides, cone drills, endless push ups and sit ups - sprints in the local parking garage and down through the howling winds near Lake Erie in January.
One day my teammate Sandy took a look at the dreaded clipboard and came back to the rest of us, who were anxiously awaiting the report on that day’s conditioning.
“Heart Attacks,” she said, referring to the drill that lived up to its name.
We all groaned, but Sandy, the captain of the team who also had a little bit of crazy both on and off the field through her arms up in the air and yelled.
“Embrace the suck!”
She was crazy, sure. But she was also right. The only way out was through. His practices felt like a lesson in brutality, but the trade-off was a pair of ECAC Championships and a shared number one ranking in Division II women's lacrosse my senior year. I believe we just out-worked some of the other teams.
And sometimes that's what it comes down to. My coach has since gone on to win a couple of national championships at Salisbury State University, and I promise you that his players are still doing heart attacks and running stairs at the local parking garage. And I promise you that they are still sneaking peeks at his clipboard to find out what kind of conditioning they have to suffer through that day.
It's part of the process though.
I’m one of the most easy going people you’ll find, and I will be the first person to acknowledge that cutting yourself a break and listening to your body is a very important part of not just fitness, but life.
But those breaks are all the more appreciated when you've put in the hard work. And make no mistake about it, change is hard. Workouts are hard. Becoming self aware is hard.
Many of our clients are on day two of the Six Week Challenge - making nutritional changes and coming in to STS to push around sleds and throw medicine balls. The work isn’t easy. It’s hard, and it’s hard for a reason.
But they are doing it.
And you can too.
Embrace the hard.
We will be with you every step of the way.