Embrace Suffering like a Champion

This morning I opened my MorningChalkUp email and the Quote of the Day by Mat Fraser really caught my eye. It’s something I’ve been hearing, reading, and thinking about for a long time.

… I do not have an addiction to suffering. I have an addiction to what the product of suffering is.” — Mat Fraser

Suffering is such an under-rated element in society as a whole, let alone fitness. Yet it’s this the exact element that sets champions apart from the rest. The preparation for competition, the grinding in a basement, garage, or late at night in a gym.

One such athlete that embodies this must-have characteristic is Fittest Man on Earth, Mat Fraser.

Fraser’s advice for all athletes reflects this relentless, tenacious attitude: Put in the work, and good things will come.

After his 2017 victory, after finishing the final event, Fraser was asked when training would start for the 2018 Games, the newly crowned champ replied with a smile: “Tomorrow.” What tenacity! It takes a mind like that to make a champion. It takes dedication like that to stay focused on the goal ahead and plow forward.

Pulverize your weaknesses

Recently I came to realize how eager I was to avoid burpees, and thrusters. As a tall athlete, neither of these movements is, or will ever be, pleasurable. So instead of just embracing the reality of my size, I avoided these movements like the plague. Consequently, I’m pretty terrible at busting out multiple reps of both movements.

While Fraser might mentally review every workout he does, he chooses not to dwell on mistakes  — even the most glaring, when he blew a 100-plus point lead in the 2015 CrossFit Games, and took second to Ben Smith. Instead of sulking about that loss, Fraser unleashed hell on the apparatus that thwarted his victory: the Rogue Pig. He bought one, and every Sunday, he’d flip it alone in the gym.

How often do we face our fears, our ugly weaknesses head on with a warriors determination? If we don’t, we need to, because that’s what it takes!

Put a smile on and chase the result

There’s endless research on how our attitude toward difficulty drastically changed the overall level of perceived difficulty. Champions like Mat have discovered this and use it to their advantage.

Honestly, I just make sure that I have a smile on my face when I walk in the gym. I never train unhappy. I just don’t find that I’m able to push myself as hard if I’m at all unhappy, upset, or angry. When I go into a workout happy, with a smile on my face, I’m willing to suffer a bit more, I’m willing to dig a little deeper, push a little harder.” — Mat Fraser

So when faced with your next workout … Put a smile on.

Work out with someone who pushes you

Even the greats workout with each other. Maybe not everyday, maybe not even every week. But they still have coaches and loved ones who are there to help push them to their maximum potential.

Find someone with similar goals, and a similar determination to reach that outcome of suffering.

Face suffering with a smile, and watch the products of that effort roll in.

Featured 📷 courtesy of CrossFit Inc.

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Laskey Hart

Editor at Glycolytic.com, CF-L1 Trainer | Since day one in the gym, Laskey has been trying to beat the laws of physics. At 6' 5", it may come as a surprise that Fran is in fact NOT his favorite workout, and burpees are NOT his favorite movement. It does, however, mean that every day is a new day to prove people who say "CrossFit isn't for tall people" -- wrong.

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