You Need to Feel Pain

TAGS: training mood, Stefan Waltersson, pain


I’ve been working a lot with younger athletes lately. One interesting thing I noticed was that they stop when the training doesn’t feel comfortable, even if they could have performed it. “I don’t need this training for my sport; it’s not sport specific.” Fuck “sport specific” for now. Yes if you’re an athlete, you should train in a sport-specific way. I know. But to do that, you also need to be trainable; you need to know your limits and push them forward. You need to do some training just to feel comfortable even when you’re no longer in your comfort zone. One famous skier asked me to program his training after his competition career. I was like, well, the sport-specific training you’ve done for the past several years can give you complications in your posture and asymmetric muscle work. Therefore, I suggest that you do a lot of the opposite training to adapt yourself for everyday life. Of course, he was not comfortable with those exercises and told me that he preferred his old exercises. No shit!

The thing is that sometimes you need to train on performance. If you never train until you puke, how can you know your limits? If you never felt like you had nothing to give and forced you to move that shit anyway, how can you be proud of what you have achieved? To move closer to your goals, you have to know what you can and cannot do. You have to recognize every feeling of pain, fear, and victory. I can promise you that the feeling of achievement will taste a lot better if you really had to work hard for it.

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Sometimes when I train people, I can see in their faces when they fail that they didn’t want it hard enough. If they had just had the delicate combination of fear and furiousness during their lifts, they would have succeeded! Instead, they failed! That’s why your mind is so damn important for determining what effort you put into training. Ask yourself this question when you fail: Would you have succeeded if someone had put a gun to your head and threatened to kill you if you failed? If the answer is no; you probably mean business.

Sometimes you hear people who are going to the gym, and they talk like they are going to war. They’re going to kill the weights and beat the shit out of the barbell. The gym is their warzone. The gym itself is no warzone. The gym is just a neutral area with metal weights. All dead material. It’s your mindset that makes it a warzone. That works if you’re an extrovert, like most people are. If you’re an introvert, on the other hand, then you need to feel like you’re in your own zone. Some people perform best when they are in more of a flow mood free from aggressions. You just have to find what triggers you to perform. You don’t need to feel pain, as the title says, all of the time, but I think you have to go through every mood sometimes to find your way and get to know yourself. Last year, I wrote an article about something I called axiomatic strength training. It suggests that all people have different physical conditions that cause them to develop during training. In addition, we also have different psychological conditions that affect our performance and impact our ability to get the best out of our training sessions.

  • This is one reason why everything doesn’t need to be sport specific.
  • Challenge your mental approach as well as your physique performance.
  • Train to feel comfortable even when it’s not.
  • The gym is a neutral area; it’s your mindset that makes it a warzone.


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