Normally I write posts about exercise and different races I’ve run, but this time I thought I’d try something different.

If you follow me on social media, (@damenace37ocr) you’ll see I’m a pretty positive guy.  I don’t get involved in political or cultural debates, as I really feel there is no positivity to be gleaned from that, it’s basically just a bunch of people shouting their opinions.  I keep the things I share online mostly family and fitness related, as well as sharing some things I find comical.

This past year has had a variety of ups and downs, as well as a lot of learning opportunities.  I’ve been working 2 jobs for the last several years.  My “part time” job is a place I really enjoy working at, filled with lots of motivational people on similar wavelengths as mine.  We work very well as a team, and the camaraderie we share makes it not feel at all like work.

However my “full time” job was the opposite.  I have nothing in common with the people I work with, most of them are much older and are near the end of their careers.  Also, the company has been laying off people, so I was getting more and more work, but not getting a raise.  My frustration level was getting very high.  I found I was getting irritable and feeling like I was stuck in a corner career wise.  So, I decided to do something I’ve never done at a job before: I pulled my leader into a meeting, showed him my daily tasks, told him I couldn’t handle my workload, and that we were going to need to figure something out.  To my surprise he agreed and said he didn’t realize the amount of tasks I had taken on.  He then assigned some of my workload to other people so that my work would be more manageable.

The reason I bring up this story is sometimes in life things happen and I’ll sit back and stew.  Then, I’ll stew some more.  I’ll complain about things, but to family and friends who can’t really help, all they can do is offer a positive thought.  But the truth is, if we never bring up these issues to the people who can actually help us make the changes, then we shouldn’t be complaining.  A company leader isn’t a mind reader – We can’t expect them to make changes they may not be aware of.

This experience has made me really rethink my thought process and how I will handle challenges in the future.  Complaining does nothing.  It’s really a waste of time.  Only actions will reap positive changes.

So bringing this over to fitness, the same applies.  There are lots of things that still challenge me.  The bucket carry is still awful.  But if all I do is complain about it, I’m doing myself a disservice.  Am I asking for tips from pros?  Maybe there’s a better way to manage the bucket carry that I am unaware of.  By reaching out and asking, that could lead to better results.

One of the biggest takeaways from my fitness journey has been the things I’ve learned from working out.  I don’t mean different workouts, meal plans, or supplements to use.  I mean just about myself personally.  I’ve learned how amazing it feels to be able to do something that I physically couldn’t do maybe weeks, months, or even years ago. When doing one pull up is a struggle, it’s hard to imagine a time when it won’t be. But now being able to do 10-15 without thinking about it feels like the norm, but I don’t want to get complacent.  I like to think about how far I’ve come to encourage myself to see how much farther I can go.  Also, having people come up to me and ask me for help or advice feels really good.  When you help people you get to “pay it forward”, seeing them progress with their fitness goals is really an amazing experience.

People ask me all the time: doesn’t doing all those workouts and training suck?  Why would you want to carry a bucket full of rocks up and down a hill?  My response is always the same; “yeah, it’s pretty rough.”  There are definitely times when your body is exhausted and worn out.  But there’s something you learn and discover when you push your body.  You learn how much you can handle and how you deal with real physical stress.  You lose focus on all the distractions and outside influences.  You’re not focused on bills, or the regular stresses life throws at you.  We live in a world where we are CONSTANTLY multi-tasking, but not in a race.  Your focus becomes very A to B- I need to do this to achieve this.  That’s it.  It’s very primitive, and there’s something very relaxing about having such a singular focus.  But OCRs aren’t for everyone.  Some people will never get enjoyment out of it and that’s fine.  I would encourage them to find something that they enjoy. Maybe a regular road race is more up their alley, or maybe they would prefer cycling, or a group yoga class.  Whatever it is, find something you like and keep doing it!

Fitness is 100% honest.  No one gets in shape accidentally.  You have to earn it.  You can’t cheat it.  You will get out of it what you put into it.  If you cheat your workouts and are skimping on training, it will show come race day.  So when I struggle with obstacles or my race time, I know the only one to blame is myself.  That keeps driving me forward to get better. Because I know I can get better.  I’m not going to sit around and complain that the obstacle was wet, the course wasn’t setup well, or a myriad of other issues.  I’m definitely not going to cheat and skip burpees or put less rocks in my bucket.  I am going to simply BE better.

by Ambassador Danny

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