Giving Yourself Permission To Fail

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Giving Yourself Permission To Fail

Post  Fitness Scientist on Fri May 21, 2010 6:17 pm

Giving Yourself Permission to Fail

By Joe Mullen
Fitness Scientist

The subject of this article may surprise you. However, once you reflect on this train of thought, it may seem a realistic choice to you, as it does to me.It applies to testing for fitness data, such as: one-rep-max, muscle endurance, cardio-endurance, and active, and pain-free, range-of-motion (flexibility). Or, it can apply to a "regular" HIT workout.

Primarily, I am presenting it as a way to think if you are doing some physical data gathering, but it also applies to a workout situation by yourself, or if working with a partner.

Your pre-workout interview, applies to you, holding a discussion with yourself, or possibly with a client, or workout partner, prior to performing a workout. It applies as well to consulting with a client, with whom you are supervising for the first time. The goal is to establish a state-of-mind. One significant agreement must be agreed on, in order to assure a valid workout.

A state of mind must be reached, where you give yourself (or when you are testing or training another party) -- permission to fail (stop), during any part of the test, or workout at any time.

This concept is termed, giving one "The Permission to Fail" (or stop) when one senses a maximum effort, has just about concluded. Said another way, it is deciding to "Live to Fight Another Day."

For testing or retesting to be truly valid, you must try to duplicate the conditions that were present at the first test. Within a fitness center environment, it is virtually impossible to duplicate “everything.” Something as simple as a different kind of music playing in the background changes the exact environmental parameters.

All you need do, is to create a certain positive mind set that is productive, and affirming. It allows the idea, that it is as credible to stop as it is to keep going. This is in particular important with those who are de-conditioned, new to a workout environment, or who are not highly motivated.

Everyone will become motivated, once experiencing even a small level of improvement.In my experience, the permission to stop is very important, especially to many women. This does not mean the person is inferior in any way.

For many women, or unconditioned males, it eliminates what we call “an expectation.” This expectation is a mental value placed on oneself, based on anothers approval. Not only women have unreasonable expectations placed on them at some time, but also do men (of course, we won’t admit it openly). An exercise program should not place expectations of anyone. It leads to disillusionment.

It is easy to imagine how having unreasonable demands placed on oneself (mentally, physically, emotionally or spiritually), can create the feeling of being a failure, when on does not meet the minds expectations.

Yet, when one allows the permission to fail, when presented in the right way, one can fail and not feel like a failure.

For testing purposes, try to create this mindset.

When working with another person, with a test being in mind, it is of critical importance NOT to offer encouragement of any kind as the testing procedures begin. The goal is to allow the person to self-motivate. Let their inner-self produce the demands and results. If the person monitoring the testing orally encourages the proceedings, it will produces biased results.

During a retest, if the same monitor were not working with the client the data would again be biased, to a greater or lesser degree than the initial testing. The bias directly relates to the tactics used on the psyche of the person who is exercising, by the person whom is supervising the protocol.

As difficult as it may be for you to avoid encouraging, or discouraging yourself, or the client, please do so. This will prompt the client to rely on him or her self to produce accurate data. Meaning, the inspiration should come from the person, not extraneous noise or events.

There are two types of “failure” during testing: (1) mental and (2) physical. Both are valid measurements or events during testing, and will affect each other. Improved mental conditioning is as valid as improved physical conditioning! Working on one promotes improvement within the other.

Everything, relates to everything!


Joe Mullen
Fitness Scientist
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Last edited by Fitness Scientist on Sat May 22, 2010 12:12 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : delete a line)

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Re: Giving Yourself Permission To Fail

Post  sgsims1 on Fri May 21, 2010 7:53 pm

Hey Joe, was just checking out your new site...best of luck with it! Feel free to post a link to your forum here if you'd like! cheers
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