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Cry Now, Laugh later

In 2002 I was playing rugby in Bloemfontein. For an English 21 year old it was a large culture shock moving to central SA to further my rugby career but a year I thoroughly enjoyed. It was a year of new beginnings and meeting new people, many of whom I’m still in contact with today. Part of my training included attending extra non-compulsory fitness sessions in the midday heat with the Cheetahs fitness instructor. They were tough sessions, on a mental and physical level and what I didn’t realize then was that I was practicing the concept of grit. I like to think of grit as the willingness to get comfortable with suffering in the pursuit of goals. The conditioning coach was a tough guy. He was a PT instructor in the army and knew exactly how to push and expand your boundaries to make you better (and fitter). I gained a lot in those sessions, as I have through the years under different coaches and mentors, but he had a saying that stuck me that I still apply in my life today. When it felt like your lungs where about to burst, your legs couldn’t carry you one step further and you possibly couldn’t lose anymore sweat, he would laugh and say “huil nou dan lag ons Saterdag” (cry now so that we can laugh on Saturday) What he was saying was that if we suffered now and prepared properly then the rugby game on Saturday would be easy. He knew what all high performers know and strive to learn, how to manage their energy so that they are most effective when they need to be. In life we tend to think we need to be going flat out 100% of the time, wether it’s working, studying, parenting or exercising. The human body isn’t designed to operate like that. It’s designed to operate maximally in short bursts and then needs a recovery period that allows the nervous system some self regulation time. This is societies dilemma. We think we need to be going flat out all the time and fill our days so that every minute is accounted for with no time for rest and recovery. This means no time for nervous system self regulation and so we become symptomatic with all sorts of health issues. I encourage you to do an energy audit. Understand that you can’t perform maximally all the time. It goes against your very design and genetics. Figure out and learn when you should be sprinting, recovering and resting. Make time for some downtime in your life, scheduled periods for rest and recovery. It’s a necessity for high performance and your overall health will thank you for it Chat soon

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