The Human Blacksmith

“ARMOR, n. The kind of clothing worn by a man whose tailor is a blacksmith.” – Ambrose Bierce

As a coach, I see myself much like a blacksmith. It’s my job, as the leader, to set the example and prepare my warriors/athletes for the battle that is at hand.  If you have followed my training advice then you are ready for the challenge or the task you are about to embark upon. However, you will need more than physical strength to be successful because there will be obstacles that stand between you and the finish line.  You will need durability. You will need grit. You will need pain tolerance  You will need to rise above all others, stand tall and maintain balance. Finally you will become a leader yourself.

Durability, or increasing your physical capacity to endure, should be part of your training protocol. You can increase your durability by means of proper nutrition, strength and  conditioning and preventative or corrective care such as mobility work, yoga, massage and chiropractic care.

Mental toughness or Grit. This is the ability to produce effort, and keep moving forward when your body is telling you to give up. It’s the wherewithal to keep going without complaining about the situation you’re in no matter how overwhelming the odds or the circumstances may appear. You have to make the conscious decision to keep going and to not give up in your head. Coupled with mental toughness is tolerance to pain. Pain can be a warning that something is seriously wrong and needs immediate attention (survival) or, at times, it can be a roadblock.  Two methods I employ to help me conquer obstacles involving pain, (when I feel like giving up) include: recall memory and what I call “All Out War.”

Envision yourself conquering and accomplishing your goal. For example, I envision myself at my very best. So, even if I’m not in a good place mentally or physically, I make the deliberate mental effort to recall a memory where I was at my very best. I put myself into a state of total dominance over any situation or test I’m  subjected to and so can you.  Once I have the recall memory it leads to “All Out War.”

All Out War” (A.O.W.) is where you channel every fiber of your being to produce maximum output. This is where the plateaus are broken and new levels of mental and physical growth take place this is where you will be molded and chiseled into a true warrior and a leader.  A leader sets the example and we are all leaders in our own way. Someone out there will draw inspiration from the example you set and the life you lead. The key here is to maintain balance between the physical preparedness, the mental battle and the pain. Challenge yourself. See what you are made of. Be a leader. Weave all the pieces of your armor together and then declare “All Out War!” Take no prisoners! Aroo!

Mark D. Nolan
Spartan SGX Coach


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