“If I could just figure out how to avoid the pain of exercise then I would be the greatest”
This is indeed the lament of so many athletes and swimmers that it amazes us that we as coaches haven’t yet been successful at “selling” the notion – yet…or we would have many more really fast ones.
Back to “The Rise of Superman” (pages 66-68)…we find that the state of flow has two defining characteristics: flow is always a positive experience and it always functions as a performance enhancer.
Our body produces dopamine, norepinephrine, endorphins, anandamide and serotonin. It makes these chemicals available to us when we are in the state of flow. You get in the state of flow by being 100% present, non-judgmental, some would say “all in”. It happens in workouts and races. Get rid of the conscious thoughts about what is happening and just “do it”. Once in flow these chemicals are released into the bloodstream making for significant gains in performance.
So who wouldn’t want to have 1) a positive experience and 2) a natural performance enhancer? Well, anyone who wants to find the “easy” way is the answer to that question.
All scientific and empirical evidence suggests that “Superman/Superwoman” is not born with any special gifts. Rather they have a very supportive environment – often of their own creation, but occasionally they are birthed into one; and they don’t just work harder than the rest of the population. They don’t even work much harder. They actually work much, much harder at their craft than the rest of the population. And finally, they are really good at delaying gratification. They are totally ok with waiting for the breakthrough vs. giving up when one doesn’t occur.
One of the guys on our North Bay Aquatics Senior 1 training group made an interesting observation. Cameron said that it “hurts more to go slow than to go fast in workout because you’re in just as much pain either way, plus you feel bad when you give up and go slow”. Pretty smart, that Cameron…works the same in races too, especially because the stakes are usually higher.
So…become a flow junkie and become the next Superwoman/Superman…see you poolside sooner than later. In the meantime, work on being 100% present at whatever you are doing: making a salad, mowing the lawn, working in the weight room.