Sometimes our greatest assets can also be our greatest downfalls. These attributes can push the needle of life forward. At times, they can set us back. How should we go about this? Should we pull back on the reigns and play it safe, should we pin the ears back and go all in? Should we apologize for it?
The above video is of me completing a goal that I set out to accomplish two years ago. I was unable to complete it in the time frame I originally set out to do so due to developing severe exertion headaches. The video is raw and unedited. I left it that way so you can see the struggle I went through.
Many times people only see the end result. They don’t see the struggle, the intense pain, one must overcome to have their hand raised on the podium one day. Here, you’ll see it, in it’s raw form. (I know it’s long)
As I said before, in 2014, I set out to accomplish a goal, that was quite intimidating. I was researching breathing squats at the time. One set for 20 reps. You could rest with the bar on your back but you couldn’t rack the weight until the set was done. I heard it was great for developing size and strength in the legs. Not to mention, it’d be one hell of a cardio workout also. They are called breathing squats for a reason.
About the third week into the programming I had laid out, I was scheduled to do 275 lbs x 20. This would be my first big mile stone. I crushed it, as a few buddies watched. Understandable, I left the gym with a slight headache and an overall bad feeling.
The next day, I came into the gym and began warming up with some light dumbbells, really light. Upon the first few reps, I felt as somebody had hit me in the back of the head with a hammer. It was a terrible amount of pain, out of nowhere. I sat the dumbbells down and took a seat, holding the back of my head.
The pain grew more and more, as I sat. About 10 minutes later, I grabbed my things and headed to the house. All I could do the rest of the day was lay down and attempt to sleep, hoping that the next day would fare much better.
The next day was much of the same story. I began walking on a treadmill at a slow pace and gradually increased it to my normal speed for a quick warm up. I didn’t make it very far before the pounding in my head returned.
“What… the… hell?!”
I did two weeks worth of doctor visits, blood work, MRI, MRE, etc. They found nothing wrong, which I was very happy with, as there were talks of aneurysms, blood clotting, etc. Serious stuff. A few weeks later, I was able to return to the gym at 100%. Back to my Relentless ways.
Today, I am reminded of what those two weeks felt like. Not knowing what was happening and playing a waiting game, not knowing that the next phone call I could get could provide me with difficult news.
A severe spike in blood pressure was the cause. The reason for the prolonged headaches can be explained like this. Just as you tear your muscles down in the gym and allow them to rest and recover, the blood vessels do the same. You see, I put a lot of stress on the blood vessels and they will need time to recover and heal. It’ll just take them a bit longer than muscles because they never stop working, after all they carry blood where it needs to go. That’s important.
So, I accomplished my goal. But, at what costs?
As I laid on the floor, in the dark office room, I kept telling myself that this is only a temporary pain. The pain will soon subside and I’ll be left with the fruits of my labor.
The price to be paid was 3 1/2 minutes of time that it took to complete the set followed by 4 1/2 hours of laying on the floor. You can also tack on the potential growth I could develop from the workouts I will miss over the next several days, to that price.
When I hit rep 14, there was a voice inside of me saying that I needed to stop. We have been here before and we need to shut it down.
Honestly, I was about to rack it. If you watch the video, you can see me lean forward and then quickly catch myself around rep 14/15. To the casual observer, it probably just looked like my legs were shaking. But in reality, that was the internal conflict of me deciding to rack it or keep going.
What prevented me from racking it and cutting my losses was this quote from an old college coach. If you’ve read my book, you’ll recognize it:
“Nick, you’re just not strong enough.”
In this scenario, it’s a very literate meaning. However, that quote follows me around everywhere. Not in a negative way. It positively motivates me, pushes me to be better.
I don’t care about how strong I am in the gym. I am more concerned about how strong I am in life.
I want the strength to endure people saying those things to my face and quietly and politely going out there and proving them wrong. I want the strength to overcome adversities thrown my way.
You see the gym to me translates to the real world. That relentless drive I have in the gym is the same one I use when writing. It’s the same one I’ll use when I work with my clients. It’s the same relentless drive I’ll use to Love my wife more and more each passing day. It’s the same relentless drive I’ll use to be the best dad to my kids. It’s the same relentless drive I’ll use to become the man I was put on this earth to be.
I’m sorry but I cannot apologize for it. I don’t want to. I’m not here to prove anybody wrong and that’s not my ultimate mission. But, if I get to do some of that along the way, I won’t be mad. And let’s be honest, that relentless drive is why you love me. It’s why you read my words, watch my videos, and enjoy talking with me in person.
I’m thankful for each one of you who read my articles, watch my videos, and enjoy talking with me. It’s truly an honor to be a part of your lives and I pray that my words and actions only add value to your life.
Keep fighting the good fight, my friends.
As I laid in bed last night, these words were some of the final ones that ran through my head. I am very blessed to have people who love me and care for me.
There’s A Pounding In My Head
But, I Am Far From Dead
There Is Too Much Work Left To Be Done
And I Have Only Just Begun
This Is A Mere Speed Bump, Minor Set Back
I Will Recover Stronger With Prepared Attack
From It I Have Learned Much
Mostly Love, Through A Gentle Touch
I Must Finish What I Start
Use Every Beat Within My Heart
Complete The Vision Others Don’t See
Become The Man, I’m Meant To Be