I tell my clients to add more gear to their bikes as we attack a steep climb. Each inhale is fire. Quads and glutes are shaking and weak. Instead of the droplets of a Gatorade advertisement, sweat is an ugly cascade of salt water as feet pound out the slow uphill cadence. The end is not yet in sight, so we lean in to the climb. Each pedal stroke is a choice; a commitment.
This is why we show up for workouts and classes and races again and again: pain has the potential to change us. Struggle makes us better. It is why we run, and lift, and climb, and seek the next challenge, and the one after that. When we are at our brink—the place where we cannot take another step or complete one more rep—that is the very place of transformation.
In the same way strings produce music when stretched and pulled, we create the most beautiful expressions of ourselves when engaged in the tension of the uncomfortable.
In its most elemental state, physical training is extending past your limits so you become more than you were. Muscle fibers must break apart to grow back together stronger and fuller; the heart must strain and stretch to develop endurance.
The Power of Tension
The transformative power of tension extends to more than just exercise. It is a truth that endures even in the hardest seasons of your life. When you are unsure how much more you can take, when every moment is agony and uncertainty—and you hold fast anyway—you are enduring a refining fire that forges the richness and strength of your character.
Pain, even pain you cannot understand, has the potential to develop and strengthen who you are at your core. As you attack your climb, lungs burning, muscles aching, weary and even brokenhearted, know that you are building you.
Lean into your climb. You are worth it.
Follow Joscelyn Gann @fusionfitnesskc