MAX Blog

The Importance of Mental Toughness- Part 2

Adversity causes some men to break; others to break records.
— William A. Ward

The physical ability to become an Olympian takes countless hours in the gym and years of sacrifice. But beyond the training, beyond the intense workouts, beyond the seemingly impossible goals, there is a mental factor that separates the true champions from the rest. 

Matthias Steiner was a Austrian-German weightlifter who vowed more than just his unconditional love to his wife. Steiner promised her a gold medal in the Olympics. One year before the 2008 Games, his wife tragically died in a car accident. Pain and heartbreak consumed Steiner, he drastically lost weight, but he was determined to fulfill his promise.  

Coming into the 2008 Beijing Games, Steiner was not favored to win. In fact, during the final round, he was trailing behind some of the best lifters in the world. In order to win the gold, he needed to successfully lift 258 kg, nearly 30 pounds more than his personal best. He did it and captured the gold medal and the hearts of millions! Standing on the podium, he held up his gold medal along with a picture of his late wife. 

Adversity. It comes in a variety of forms and can strike at any time. It can break you down or build you up. Your choice.


 

So tough! This workout will have you questioning your physical ability to finish. Push through- we know you can do it!

 


The Importance of Mental Toughness

Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will.
— Mahatma Gandhi

The Olympic Games have begun in Rio! For a little over two weeks, we are captivated by incredible victories, heart-warming back stories, painful defeats, and inspiring comebacks. We watch in awe as athletes run, jump, flip, and swim into our hearts. There is just something special about the Olympic Games and the athletes that have spent their entire lives preparing for this moment. We cheer with them, we cry with them, when they win, we win. No matter the final outcome, they are all champions to us. 

Beyond the obvious physical skills it takes to be an Olympian, there is a mental toughness that separates them from the rest. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the Olympic stage. As an athlete, I know how quickly everything can change. You can train for countless hours a day, everyday, for years, but you can not control everything. The pressure is there. The distractions are there. Can they handle it? Some can...and some can not. This is the Olympic Games and anything can happen.

Mental toughness. If you want any chance of being successful in life, you have to possess the indomitable will to handle the obstacles that will surely come your way. For the next few weeks, we will discuss how to develop this difficult, yet imperative attribute. For today, I will just begin with this extraordinary story...

On Friday night, the Opening Ceremonies brought to light one of the prime examples of what it means to be a true Olympian. Lighting the cauldron with the ceremonial Olympic torch, was a Brazilian gentleman by the name of Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima. He is a former Olympic marathon runner who made headlines during the 2004 Olympic Games held in Athens. During the grueling race, Vanderlei was leading, when out of nowhere, he was attacked by a spectator. Seven crucial seconds went by before he was able to reenter the race.

With four miles remaining, he had to somehow shake off the traumatic event and cross the finish line. His pace had been abruptly interrupted, and while he was not physically hurt, he was undoubtedly mentally damaged. He could have easily given up. No one would blame him. He was cheated, it was unfair, and it impacted his lead. Two runners surpassed him after the attack and Vanderlei entered the arena for the final lap in the third place position. But instead of tears, there was a smile. Instead of despair, there was pure joy. He won the Olympic bronze medal that day, but in his eyes, it was as good as gold. Later on, Vanderlei was awarded the prestigious Pierre de Coubertin medal for the spirit of sportsmanship. 

No excuses. No complaining. Just a model example of mental toughness and the importance of knowing how to cope through a difficult situation. Thank you, Vanderlei Cordeiro de Lima, you are an inspiration to us all.  


 

Looking for a workout that tests both your physical and mental toughness? Give this one a try!