Coach Thoughts Prior to Wodapalooza by Max el-hag

I am laying here in bed on Tuesday evening the 10th as I write this blog. Tomorrow morning, I am getting up at 4:30am to hit the 9 hour drive with one of our TTT coaches Brannen at the wheel, and our massage therapist Tony. Today I discovered I made an error in the scheduling of this week’s blog. I was unprepared to write this, but funnily enough we are always unprepared no matter how much we try to control the chaos. Competitions are no different, and we must be ready to execute when nothing goes according to plan. Neuroticism and a desire to ‘control’ too much generally ends up backfiring. And so, I don’t allow the tension in my emotions to stop me from doing what I know needs to be done for my business. I write these thoughts without a scripted topic.

I am aware that this post will go up with one day left in the competition, and who knows where our results will be. I have a couple men in both the individual elite and rx division with the capacity to win the event. I have men on teams that could win in the event. I have women on elite teams that could win the event. I have athletes in other divisions, I have coaches who have athletes in other divisions, and I have mentored or sold education to many of the coaches of athletes on the floor. The last couple years have been crazy. I am amazed to see how much life has changed me. I hardly recognize the person I am and the life I am living, although I am pleasantly surprised with how things have worked out. This evening, I lay in bed, aware of and comfortable with my feelings. In the past, many times both as an athlete and a coach, I would have been overwhelmed. Competitions brought too many emotions to the forefront of my experience, and I literally felt like I was going to burst at the seams. I’d almost always get sick. Traveling was a nightmare. Sleep never really happened. My nutrition was terrible. I was surviving. But I have changed. So, what am I feeling before one of the biggest competitions of this year?

Calm.

Aggressive.

Happy.

Grateful.

Unafraid.

Mobile.

Mentally Sharp.

Prepared.

Excited.

Heightened.

Relaxed.

Everything…

I know, it seems contradictory. Well, I suppose that is why I am learning to love competitions. Because they make me feel alive. No, actually, they make me feel. Everything that I was already feeling, but potentially couldn’t quite verbalize. I’ve found that comfort leads to numbness. I feel that I must push myself into situations that challenge me if I hope to feel. I don’t want to exist in a state of numbness. I seek to challenge myself to feel all the feelings that linger in my subconscious experience. Competitions, as a coach and an athlete, allow you this opportunity. So, I go to bed knowing that I am going to war with my psyche over the next 5 days. I know that I will have athletes who triumph and breakthrough. I will have athletes who breakdown and cry. I will have to be the objective rock to help provide guidance and clarity in a state of overwhelming chaos. I will lose my privacy and my personal space. People will come to talk to me and ask me questions when I am not feeling friendly. I will get agitated and stiff because my own training will take a back seat. I will probably have to force feed myself through the feelings of excitement and adrenaline. My big bald head will burn in the Miami sun. I will feel happy, I will feel frustrated, I will feel sad, I will feel everything. I will have fun with the challenge.

I struggled in the past to determine what people meant when they said they just wanted to have “fun.” Now, I know what that means for me. I have turned this into my definition of fun. This is my quest. This is what is required from me to create the future that I want to create for myself, my athletes, my coaches, and my business. And so, I have perceived the situation in my mind to be what I want to be doing, and that is what is needed. That lack of resistance requires no motivation to maintain. That is the most efficient mindset I’ve yet to find, and I hope to continue to make it more efficient still. So, I am prepared to do what is required of me, and I am also confident in my ability to cope and deal with all the potential outcomes I can imagine. I have wanted moments like these my whole life and just didn’t know how to thrive in them. Perhaps, I will learn that I didn’t want them now that I am learning how. How ironic that would be. But, right now, the desire is visceral, and I intend on riding the manic insanity that drives me to create and work. These moments define me in the eyes of others. They will create the narrative of my life and the impact people perceive that I have. They are a part of whatever legacy I may be lucky enough to leave on this earth.

And, the biggest irony of them all is that I am aware that by Monday, by the day after you have read this, I will not even care about these moments that have past. I don’t concern myself much with the past because I don’t think there is much there for me except the memories I need to be more productive in the future. I will have become a different person and will no longer place value on these moments that were SO important to me. This present moment, like all present moments, will have past. I will have learned so much. I will have created a new blueprint for the future I want to create and will be planning for the next defining moment. I will get back to the grind and to the work that makes me feel a sense of peace. I will no longer be the coach that wrote this article, but some new version. I will have grown and evolved, hopefully for the better. And my athletes will have changed as well by the time you read this, even without the competition being over. My hope for them is that they are lucky enough to realize it, learn from it, and cherish the beautiful gifts of competition that they will have received with either a win or loss. I still want to crush everyone and own every podium, but it won’t dictate my happiness, and it’s probably not that realistic given how many people want the same thing, so I will just enjoy the ride and keep working. In the meantime, I wish them luck on their final day, and I’ll see you on the other side!

~ Max

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