So, sandbagging has a negative connotation in sports and for the most part, it should.  It basically means that you are hiding your strengths or talking yourself down to give yourself an advantage later.  For example, someone might come out to a game of touch football saying, “I’m not that athletic, I haven’t played sports since high school”.  And then after he single-handedly destroys the other team, you find out he was an All American running back for his senior year.

sef  So, maybe he didn’t think he still had it.

Riiiggght.  🙂  I say that sarcastically, but there’s some truth to the doubt.

Because, we are all guilty of this.  Sometimes, its because we honestly don’t know what our capabilities are or might still be.  Sometimes its fear.  Sometimes we just don’t want to deal with the possibility that we can do more.

Think about that last one.  If you have to raise the bar on yourself, where does that lead?  Do you have to start running or teaching aerobics classes?  Do you have to join a powerlifting team?  Do you have to start becoming obsessed with protein shakes and abz?

My latest experience with personal sandbagging happened over the weekend.  Two things were going on.  1.  I’m training for a figure comp and I’m a little chubby relative to how I want to look on stage.  2.  I realized I needed to up the intensity of my cardio because that is my only current path to salvation on a natural prep.  However, the solution (hill sprints and jogging) were a no go for another couple of reasons.  1.  I really messed up my knees training for a half marathon (without appropriate supportive strength training) and have spent the last year rehabbing them by not running.  2.  I hate running.

So, in a conversation with one of my long time friends and training mentor, he casually pointed out that although he thinks I’ll be successful, I’ll probably wish I’d lost another four lbs on competition day.

I pictured having this thought.  I didn’t like it.

So, I dug in gave the running practice a try.  On the first day, I did hill sprints (jogs) with walking for recovery.  It was hard, but didn’t hurt.  On the second day, I started jogging on the treadmill for steady state cardio.  And surprise, surprise, I ran for 30 minutes without stopping or getting out of breath.  On the third day, when I realized I wasn’t gravely injured or dead, I recognized that I’ve been talking myself out of this clearly safe and effective way of boosting my cardio simply because I was afraid it would hurt, didn’t think I could do it, but most importantly, was being lazy.

So, the moral of the story is simple.  Stop assuming you can’t do something if you haven’t tried it.   For my current goals, occasionally  being hungry, making the time to get into the gym 6 days a week even though I coach all the sports and have 3 teenagers, and, as I found out this weekend, running, are all things I can do that I have had to accept that I was capable of in order to continue on this journey.

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”
― Leo Tolstoy


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