Leadership with heart, mind, and soul

Lessons from Fitness Bootcamp

Added on by Sam Davidson.

Just over 90 days ago, I began a fitness bootcamp. It's been the most intense workout stretch of my life and the results from a body/fitness standpoint speak for themselves. But, as I drip sweat for an hour twice a week with a handful of others, there are a few key lessons I've learned that I think apply elsewhere:

You must be your biggest coach

I'm always baffled by the people at bootcamp who complain and cut corners when asked to do a certain activity. After all, they're paying someone to get them in shape. The instructor creates fitness plans based on individual needs; if you don't want to do all of the push-ups or leg presses requested, then why even come? Sure, it's ultimately voluntary, so you do have a say whether or not you want to do the exercises. But, you're here for a reason. Cutting corners does you no good.

The same is true in relationships and work. Why are you there? What do you hope to gain? Going through the motions, complaining without suggesting solutions, and taking shortcuts doesn't provide you with what you need to grow. Do the hard work and celebrate the good results.

Growth hurts

The first day of bootcamp, I couldn't make it through the entire rotation of activities. I felt like I was going to vomit. Same for the second day. Likewise, the days after a bootcamp session, my legs and arms hurt. But that's good. It means the muscles are getting a workout. They're working to grow and do what they need to get bigger, firmer, and stronger.

Ditto for your personal and professional lives. If you want to grow, you have to stretch. And many times, this might hurt. You will need to say goodbye. You may need to shift your schedule, change jobs, go back to school, or move away. You'll need to change habits and set up new routines. It's not easy, but if you want to grow and thrive, you'll need to make those hard decisions. The good news? It eventually gets easier.

Community is powerful

At bootcamp, I immediately - as in, my first day - saw how powerful the community of my classmates was. Some of them have been a part of this group for four years. I'm the rookie. But, the group was there to encourage, inspire, tell stories, and lend a hand. Many days, I only make it through our rotation of 150 push-ups (not all at once), wind sprints, leg curls, or burpees because I pair up with C-Whiz or Mark to get it done. From that, people then become genuinely interested in your life. They want to know what you're doing on the weekend, if you'd like to listen to some music they're working on, or if you want to join them on a trail run.

I've written before about the power of community to get any of us to do great things. There are no solo acts. I don't shed 15 pounds of fat and add 10 pounds of muscle in 90 days without the entire group who sweats together on Tuesdays and Thursdays at Marathon Fitness. You won't get where you want to be if you don't have others to accompany you, whether you're on a faith journey, a quest to climb a corporate ladder, or trying to reach your goal of being a great parent.

Have you learned any life lessons from working out, running, or cycling? Any lessons from your hobbies that inform your work? If so, please share in the comments below.

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