The Last 10% of the Effort

I think I've mentioned I've started working with a personal trainer?

I say working, but what I really mean is me getting thrashed by a sadist. A sadist with my best interests at heart, at least that's what he keeps telling me.

We see each other twice a week, and I actually kind of enjoy where he's taking my exercise program. Yes it's bloody hard - but he focuses on areas that need work and uses movements that I'm unaccustomed too. So he's giving me variety and results, which keeps it interesting and outcome oriented. All good things. Plus he has some PT gold: one day I'm dying and he says “sweating is good, it's your fat crying!” If I could have, I would've laughed.

Before I get to the learning, some background.

I've been in and out of the gym for years and I consider myself relatively fit. The results I've achieved were through what I considered to be about an 80-90% effort. Most of the time. Wow was I wrong.

I've realised now that I had completely stagnated and was in an exercise rut. I was pushing myself on average to 60%. Sometimes even less.

Once I had this awakening, I got annoyed. I felt like a hypocrite. As a coach I've always extolled the virtues of “going beyond the point that you'd ordinarily stop at” and “the result is in the last 10% of the effort”. I've seen, read and experienced the achievements possible when people lift that last rep, make one more phone call, do one more hour of study - all captured in that “extra mile”.

So I knew the theory but wasn't applying it in practice.

Turns out that I was like the builders house parable. Or mechanics car. Except perhaps less rusty.

For most of you, if you're being honest that's probably not a revelation. But it got me wondering - where else is this going on in my life? Since beginning this torture I mean Journey, I have cut down on my alcohol intake, television watching and almost cut out the bit of chocolate I have straight after lunch. I'm not being a saint about this, life has to entail some pleasure after all. But you just know I've seen some really positive change come from this additional discipline.

Not being one to avoid the difficult question, perhaps the same could be true of your life? It's the time of year for reflection on the one just gone, plus setting some goals for the year ahead. Perhaps it's time for your own personal trainer/coach/mentor? Or just something to get you to get up earlier and get to the gym. Maybe it's some external accountability, an ardent supporter or just a really potent goal. Whatever it is, everything becomes better when you go a bit further.