There is one thing I will never forget about my first time at the boxing club
At 14 years of age, I was spotty, buck toothed with train-track braces. Quiet. Insecure. Tall ,strong, athletic and permanently angry.
I came from what I guess social workers would call a dysfunctional household. Rage was common for me. Training was my saving grace. Without it, there's a high probability I would have ended up on the wrong side of the tracks, like so many of my friends did.
Standing outside that old church building in autumn where the boxing club was based, I could hear the rapid firing of the speed ball, the shouts of the coaches inside, and the heavy thudding of bags being hit.
As I slowly approached the door with my friend, I noticed that there was a coat hook hanging by the entrance.
Nothing odd about having a coat hook in a gym you might think, but what was strange about it, was that the coat hook was placed just out of reach.
No one could actually place their coat on it. But that's not what it was for.
Below the coat hook there was a sign. It read,
"Hang your troubles here and leave them at the door.
You can pick them up on the way out.
This is a boxing gym. You are here to train."
These four simple sentences had a profound impact on me.
There was a lot going on in my life at that time (Even at that tender age.).
I resolved never to carry my trouble with me into training. Just to focus at the task at hand. Do what I came to do. It wasn't always easy, but I did it.
I would not complain, whine, or allow myself to be distracted. And you know what?
By cultivating this habit, it didn't matter how bad a day I had. I was able to find solace in my training. And when things were going great, my mindset in training amplified.
"Give your heart to the trade you have learnt, and draw refreshment from it. Let the rest of your days be spent as one who has whole-heartedly commited his all."
- Marcus Aurelius
So why am I harping on about this?
Well you see, I was having a chat with Coach Andrew Marshall the other day while down at Villain Barbell Club (it's where strength mutants are made) about the importance of mindset to training and how people conduct themselves in the different gyms we've been at over the years.
It soon became clear that in our collective time as coaches, we had both witnessed people who bring their drama with them to the gym.
In fact down at Villain Barbell Club rule (8) of the gym code states, "Leave your drama and your ego at the door."
Now why do we even need to tell people that? It's not because we are complete and utter douche bags.
It's because how you show up matters.
The gym code is there because we believe in you. We know that you are capable of so much more.
That you are more than just the situation that you are in. And that your limits are seldom where you think they are.
As a coach my job is to see your potential and bring out the best in you, even when you can't see it for yourself.
But you've got to meet us half way.
Be honest with yourself.
How do you show up when you train? Are you someone who carries your dramas into training?
Are you giving your best at any given moment when you train?
Is that truly your 100%? (and yes on any given day what that 100% looks like will vary).
And remember a shitty attitude can impact others around you.
Wherever you train, whatever you do, I invite you to treat your gym and your training as sacred time.
Time to invest in yourself.
Treat it with respect rather than degrading it with a foul attitude and piss poor work ethic.
I think it was George Bernard Shaw who once said,
"The reasonable man adapts to his surroundings. The unreasonable man adapts his surroundings to suit him."
Dare to be unreasonable.
Be greater than the situation that you're in.
Hit the gym.