I read a great quote at the Muhammad Ali Center. So great that I didn’t think I’d need to write it down because surely I’d remember it. Well, just like I can’t remember a joke (I either remember it all but the punch line, or nothing but the punch line – not very helpful) I can’t remember the quote. I hope someone will recognize it and jump in. The gist of it was this: It’s the work you do after you want to quit, the extra mile, I suppose, that really counts, that really makes a difference. I really wish I could remember the words, but the meaning of it really stuck with me.
And it pushes me still. Especially when I hear the dreaded words from my trainer, “now we work.” I hear this only when I’ve reached the point that I don’t think I can do another rep, and I know it means I’m not done yet.
“Now we work,” he says as my muscles burn and quiver and I want nothing more than to drop the weight and just crumple into a heap on the floor. “This is when other people stop. But this is when you WORK!”
A few days ago I wanted to do something besides the hellish uphill and downhill weighted lunges I do for legs. So I got to take the stairs — two at a time coming up — with a 25lb dumbbell in each hand. Over and over. With my new machine squats in between, just to be sure I was frying my legs. With a lot of the workouts I do, I can keep pushing myself because I know nothing will happen if I stop, so I tell myself I’ll go until I fall. Stairs were a different matter. If I go until I can’t I likely will take a fall. But after a few rounds of this, when my legs were spaghetti, and I was breathing like a freight train, the magic words came. “Now we work.”
That’s my cue to muster up some reserves from somewhere, dig in, ignore the pain, and just. keep. going. Because the happy side is that those words mean I’m *almost* done. It may be the worst part, but it’s the part that’s closest to lying down. And if I hear those words it’s a guarantee that when my breathing has slowed and I’m no longer seeing spots that I’m going to feel absolutely amazing – strong, unstoppable, flying high. And that’s why I work.