Beware the Saber-Toothed Tiger

In my last post I talked about that one time I lost it in the gym. I flipped out on the barbell because it would do what I asked it to do. Who can relate? LOL!

It turns out that that moment taught me a lot about myself and how important my mindset is to training and competing. The first and most important thing I learned is that those reactions were hard-wired into my DNA and served a critical purpose… in a completely other time and age.

Let’s start by defining a few things.

Fear, according to, is defined as a distressing emotion aroused by impending danger, evil, pain, etc. whether the threat is real or imagined.

I love that definition for a lot of reasons. But first, you might be thinking, “Brendon you weren’t AFRAID of the barbell, were you?”

Well, no. Not in the traditional horror movie sense. But the term “fear” still applies.

First of all my emotions were definitely distressing. You know what I’m talking about. Anxious. Elevated heart-rate. Sweaty palms. A little shaking. Mind racing with all the worse case scenarios. Definitely distressing.

But danger, evil, or pain? Enter the Saber-Toothed Tiger.

The response I had to the barbell was triggered by my body’s Fight or Flight response. That is a primitive response designed to keep us alive when a threatening situation presents itself. Like coming face to face with a Saber-Toothed Tiger.

My body needs to get ready to fight the tiger so I don’t become his dinner. Or run as fast as I possibly can from the tiger… so I don’t become his dinner.

But the reason I love that definition is the last part: “…whether the threat is real or imagined.”

That barbell was not ready to make me it’s dinner. Well, at least I don’t think. But this primitive fight or flight response in my body doesn’t have Saber-Toothed Tigers to worry about anymore. So left untamed, my fight or flight response might kick in when faced with a heavy barbell.

Or personal conflict.

Or social situations.

Or at work.

So here is the deal with how my body responded: It was hard-wired into my primitive DNA in order to keep me alive. It can be a automatic response.

But the good news is that it doesn’t have to be an automatic response. You can learn to recognize it, control it, and even harness it.

More about that later.

See you in the gym!


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