By Janine Lytle
Fortitude means to have courage in a time of pain or adversity. My mom’s favorite number is 42, because when you say it fast or with a little sass it sounds like fortitude. Although neither my siblings nor I wore the number 42, we embraced the spirit of fortitude, not just in working out but in our every day lives.
Pain can come in waves, and in many different ways. Pain can be from doing 20.5 and then in the same week doing the hero WOD, “Manion.” It can come from stress in your home life or your work life. Pain can also come from injuries, tragedies, or ignoring the grieving process.
I read a post a couple months ago about pain and how we can change our relationship with it if we change our perspective. This reminded me of the serenity prayer, “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.” No matter what your beliefs are, the fact that you can only control the things that you can control rings true. You can’t change pain but you can change how you perceive it and how you interpret it.
When you are working out and you’re struggling to catch your breath, instead of
creating more stress on your body, try to control your thoughts and direct all your energy on your breath. Allow your thoughts to encompass the fact that you are willing and able to workout, not questioning why your body isn’t participating with you. The same goes for when life outside the gym gets to be overwhelming; take time to sit down and take deep breathes. Don’t allow your mind to wonder to the question, “Why me?!” but to, “How can I move forward?” If the pain is tragedy, allow yourself to grieve. Ignoring the grieving process only puts more stress on the body and it doesn’t allow for growth. Have the fortitude to walk through the life you were given and learn to grow from the pain, not use it as a crutch. Our muscles are built from tiny tears in the muscle fibers from the stress we endure during exercise. Therefore, the muscles would never grow if they hadn’t been exposed to stress AND if they didn’t repair themselves. The pain you experience through your lifetime may create little tears, but don’t allow the little tears to become gaping sores. Instead, allow yourself to repair those tears and become stronger from it!