We all know the situation, be it in sports, in Your job, in relationships, in sickness, even in raising kids. “We want out”. We want something to change “NOW”.
Let me give You some more examples so You can identify better with it. As always of course let’s pick sports.
You are playing one of those nasty opponents, that have no real weapon or means at all except that they keep bringing that ball back at You again, over and over. You try this, You try that, it keeps coming back until You Yourself make the mistake because You want too much, You’re going for “the winner” …and blow it. You could also be practicing a new technique and keep failing at it over and over again. You could be knocked out, fumble the entire play you had planned, you could fall by grabbing the wrong grip, or fall or trip – and Your first thought is…Man I actually know what to do. What I should do, I just couldn’t. “I wanted out” “I just wanted it to stop”, “I wanted to finish him”…in short, You feel to be “in the ropes” a defenisve situation and change it, abrakadabra.
In many of these cases the problem lies firstly in the mindset and next in Your bodys capablity to process oxygen. Because, that’s what Your muscles are build to do in the first place, metabolise oxygen. I don’t care whether You’re a weightlifter or marathonrunner, Your muscles will metabolise oxygen, first and always. So in order to keep going You need oxidative metabolism. In physiology we call this aerobic capacity ( You may have heard of it ). This is a highly underestimated fundament of keeping a clear mind and being resilient. Why?
- In Order to withstand pressure You need a clear mind – and what is the minds most important nutrient? Exactly oxygen
- In order to perform difficult movements You need Your nervous system. This consumes up to 20% of Your arterial bloodflow when highly activated – And what is travelling with this bloodstream? Correct, again oxygen
- Henneman’s law tells us that we will firstly recruit our slow twitched fibres no matter how fast we are moving – slow twitched fibres are? Yes oxidative fibres
The only one not needing oxygen is Your heart. But the better Your aerobic capacity, the higher Your Hearstroke-Volume, so one stroke alone provides lots of cells with the oxygen needed and decreases adrenalin while doing so. So a low heartrate is not only healthy but also allows You to “keep calm” and not adrenalize Your situation. Another reason why athletes ( especially offseason) should do some excessive Cardiowork in high volumes.
As for the mindset let me share this story.
Just recently I learned a great lesson from an inspiring athlete and it humbled me for resilience as a friend of cardio even more. I got into a situation that was new for me, a grappling situation and… I s…ck at this. However I was struggling for “the upper hand”. Imagine being in a chokehold and Your opponent keeps locking You back into it over and over – I got fed up. So I decided to do something about it and “get out of here” and blew it. I sacrificed a big possibility to cause change in this struggle beacause I wanted something to happen immediately. To be honest I actually even needed it to happen now because I was gasing out ;-P. Of course I didn’t realize, that my being uncomfortable was not only inflicted by “the opponent” but by my own body, a lack of oxygen choked me even more and the spiral started…
This happens to all of us, the chokeholds of (sports-)life get you into these situations.
So what can we do?
We’ll firstly do cardio, may it be a walk. Or go hiking, or swimming or whatever it is you enjoy. Do this in advance to prepare for “the chokehold” situation. Breathe and metabolise oxygen. And for the mindset? Try to stay where You’re at. Focuse on here and now, not on later or on if I do this, it will lead to that…be resilient, stay in it, keep bringing the ball back as well, don’t do more. Don’t run faster just catch and go. Don’t attack stay with him.
As for me…
I will try to observe how my breathing is going, and also feel where I am most uncomfortable and follow it, make it my beacon, because I believe instead of turning away I will find a way to stick with it. And maybe that’s the way out…? I’ll let You know.