Perhaps the most incredible book I have ever read in my life (not an exaggeration here folks) is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Dr. Viktor E. Frankl. In his book, Dr. Frankl documents his experiences as a detainee at a Nazi run concentration camp and discusses the differences in thinking between those that survived and those that did not survive such horrific camp conditions. In this book, Frankl shows how the power of choice, choosing to believe you can overcome your circumstances, can keep you healthy and save your life in it’s entirety.
An excerpt. . .
“The experiences of camp life show that man does have a choice of action. There were enough examples, often of a heroic nature, which proved that apathy could be overcome, irritability suppressed. Man can preserve a vestige of spiritual freedom, of independence of mind, even in such terrible conditions of psychic and physical stress.”
So. . .what’s all this WWII talk got to do with changing your mindset for long term health? It’s all about your perspective. How we perceive the world will make or break our overall health. How we choose to view our circumstances will determine whether or not we circumvent those circumstances. How easy or difficult we perceive the act of getting stronger, losing weight, or whatever the case may be, will determine how well we tackle the challenge in front of us.
How well we think will determine how well we live.
Here’s a real life situation we handled here at Primal Fitness Pittsburgh just last year. We had a client come to us about 6 months into her year long training commitment. It was at this time that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Rightfully so, she was terribly shaken up and was worried about her treatment, the chemotherapy, the medical bills, and keeping up with her training programs here at the studio. It was during this time that I, as a coach, had to look at all of the stress in her life, not to mention the very threat against her life. Realizing that this woman wanted to continue to train through her treatments (My God! What courage!), I made it a point.. .every single day. . .to tell my client to believe she was going to overcome cancer. In fact, every day I would tell her prior to our sessions “You’re going to crush this work out and kick this shit out of cancer!” By doing this, by telling my client that she would conquer the challenging obstacles in front of her, I was presenting a choice to my client. I was giving her the option to choose to believe that she could get stronger and beat her condition. I like to think of it as presenting the option of hope 🙂
Guess what happened?
This female client of mine got stronger to the tune of being able to strict press a 20kg kettlebell FOR REPS while undergoing chemo therapy. Oh. . .and she kicked the shit out of her cancer. Within 2 months after her treatment, there wasn’t an ounce of it left! She chose to believe that she could do something that seemed impossible, and she did it. That option to choose gave her the hope to live a life of vibrant health. Miraculous!
The power of choice can save your life. While you may not be a POW or be suffering from a grave illness, how you mentally shape the world and your circumstances will determine your rate of success. I would argue that the biggest challenge we have when it comes to strength training, fatloss, increasing your endurance, or any other goal we are training for or working towards is ourselves. We can choose to stop ourselves in our tracks and become paralyzed by the challenges in front of us, or we can choose to move forward with courage knowing that each step we take is one more step closer to our goal.
You are enough.
I was recently featured on the “Thinner in 30” Podcast with Adam Foote. In this podcast, I had the opportunity to discuss the power of choice directly. Please listen to it here. I hope that this post and podcast help you dispel the myths of being incapable and give you hope knowing that you can and you will do whatever you set your heart out to do.
Have a great weekend everyone! Until next time. .
Master your instincts!
Janelle Pica is an SG1, RKC II and GFM Instructor. Janelle focuses her attention on hybrid programs that involve demanding strength training meshed with fluid, functional movements. Janelle has competed in demanding competitions such as the Iron Maiden Challenge and has been featured on major websites such as eattoperform.com, Robbwolf.com and balancedbites.com.