There’s a secret society in fitness. It permeates every arena, stage, and platform. Its members are represented in every sport from physique competitors to powerlifters to marathoners. Some are big personalities, legends on social media, and thought leaders in their fields. Others move in silence, far away from the limelight. There are CEOs, special operators, single mothers, high school teachers.
To gain entrance, members must endure a trial by ordeal. No two initiations are the same, and each member must create his or her own test. The test has to push them beyond what they thought they could do. They must summon things they didn’t know they had from the deepest parts of their soul in order to pass. Some choose the crushing weight of the barbell, others take to long hard roads. A few stand on stage and bear the scrutiny of judges. The methods vary but the outcome is the same for all who pass. They are never the same.
There isn’t any fanfare or celebration at their induction, just nods and knowing smiles from any members that are present. There may be tears. They may collapse from exhaustion. But from that moment on, every one of them carries with them a secret. This secret remains hidden in plain sight, a mystery to the uninitiated.
Members of this society go on to do great things in life because they know it. Outsiders copy their methods but can’t replicate their success because they don’t know the secret.
The secret is simple. Fitness increases your ability to be with life, to endure its hardships and seize its opportunities. It makes you fit to take on life’s obstacles. As you learn to endure pain in the gym, practice discipline in your diet, and truly give every ounce of effort in the pursuit of your goals, something changes. You discover your own ability to create the life you want. You become conscious of how your decisions add to or detract from that power. You begin to feel your life turning in the direction that you steer it. Discipline and effort increase the speed.
To be initiated into this group you have to work hard and long. You have to find what pushes you and demands the most of you. Then design your test. Make it hard, so you will have to become more than you are to pass. For me, this happened the first time I ran 13 miles. It was a hot, humid day and I had just run the furthest I had ever run. I dropped my empty Camelbak and collapsed in the grass. As I lay on my back staring up at the sky, I knew that I could run a marathon. And I knew that if could do that, I could do anything.
What will your test be?