I can tell you the exact date I started weight lifting. It was July 29, 1997. I’m not a number savant, it was my birthday, so that’s how I know. I’m bringing it up today because this week marks the seventeenth anniversary of the day I started weight lifting. In the last almost two decades now, sheesh I feel like an old geezer when I say that, I have learned a lot about weight lifting, and one of the things is new to me, and it is all about the mind. It is about redefining what is possible.
So it starts out when I was talking to my friend about the fact that I have developed a fear of flying. She said that she had been afraid to fly too when she was younger, and that the way she overcame it was by something that someone had told her. What she said, didn’t make me less afraid to fly, but it has affected my fitness journey, or at least changed my perspective about it, and I wanted to share it with you today.
She told me that up until a certain time there was no such thing as a person surviving a plane crash. And then somehow, one person survived. And from that point on, people started surviving plane crashes. So today, one would hear this and think, well that has to do with safer planes and safety precautions. That is part of it, but there is another part of the story.
So then she told me that there was a scientist in the 50s, Richter, who did experiments on rats. Hearing about that part is kind of morbid, so I won’t get into it. But, he basically proved that rats would drown in a barrel of water after only a short time. But if he taught them they could survive, by saving them before they drowned and then put them back in the barrel later, they would survive for an exponentially longer time. Like days! Okay, I know that is a bit heavy and I know we are not rats. So maybe this is a stretch, but I think in a way this experiment shows the direct link between hope and the fight for survival. Perhaps it explains more about the plane crash survival phenomenon my friend was talking about. It is like when the definition of what is possible changes, the reality changes.
I would argue there is a link here with fitness too. For me, I was never the “athletic” person when I was a kid or a teen. I had told myself that was okay since I was an artist. I didn’t try since I didn’t think it was possible to be good at sports. At some point, the definition of what was possible changed. Maybe it was that first time I lifted weights 17 years ago. That first time I worked with the trainer, and she believed I could get into shape.
When I went to the training to become a bodypump instructor, our teacher, Adam used a quote by ZIg Ziglar that I think of often. He said “A lot of people have gone further than they thought they could, because someone else thought they could.”
I don’t really know about rats, but I do feel like in fitness, humans are constantly pushing each other to redefine what is possible. Be it CrossFit, group fitness or working with a personal trainer, the collective belief of what we define as possible is constantly being pushed further and further out there.
On my birthday this week, I lifted a bar that weighed more than my husband. 17 years ago, I know that I wouldn’t have believed that possible.
I am so grateful to have people in my life who motivate and inspire me to do that. And I knew it had been done before, so I believed I could do it. That mark of what is possible is constantly being pushed out further ahead of me. It is being done so by me and the people I choose to be inspired by.
Today I would like to take a moment to celebrate the moments and the people that have caused us to change what we believed possible.
Who inspires you to push your expectations further than you thought possible?
What have you done that you wouldn’t have believed possible 17 years ago?