RESILIENCE – Resilience teaches athletes how to overcome adversity, both of the mind and physically. During this time of year, resiliency is often something I discuss with clients because of its importance to not only health and fitness but also competition.

Resilience and general adaptation theories have been intensely studied for years by scientists like Dr. Hans Selye who stated,

“Anything that causes stress endangers life, unless it is met by adequate adaptive responses; conversely, anything that endangers life causes stress and adaptive responses. Adaptability and resistance to stress are fundamental prerequisites for life, and every vital organ and function participates in them.”

Dr. Hans was one of the first scientists who theorized the existence of biological stress and its effects on the human body. He essentially theorized that humans will adapt to ongoing stress, albeit with negative consequences such as emotional stress, lack of judgement, and a poor lifestyle. Stress that goes unchecked will cause even the strongest creatures to lose resiliency.

Often this time of year, in the middle of the competitive season, we plenty of individuals complain about “getting hurt”, “being sick” and other fabricated statements to excuse their poor performance. My challenge to you is to stop with the bullshit. Those who feel the desire to expose their lack of preparation through social media don’t have the mindset of an athlete. As cliche as it may sound, you need to want to win more than you want to breathe. Don’t be afraid of success, or failure. We have no sympathy for the individual who is afraid of adversity. Face your fears and learn from the experience.


Embrace that fear and do it anyway. Pushing through fear is less frightening than living with the underlying fear that comes from helplessness.

Ironically, those who never take risks live with a dread of something going wrong. These individuals seek security  and comfort, but the effect of their actions cause them to live with insecurities and constant dread. It is more fulfilling to learn and try new things. Start incorporating more challenges into your life that help you grow and become more resilient.

Henk Kraaijenhof Classifies Resilience and Reactions Toward Stress in THREE ARCHETYPES:

Are you a…….

Bloomer – Those who thrive in stressful situations and make consistent efforts to exceed expectations. These individuals shine in competitions.

Bender – Perform within range of expectations and seldom surpass them.

Breaker – Often break when competition stress comes about, in training you are a champion, but when you have to risk it all you crack under pressure.

If you are a breaker archetype you may fear competition because of failure or success. The first step is to recognize why. After you understand why you behave this way, you can make the appropriate perspective changes to correct your attitude.


How Do You Create Resilience?

  • Lifestyle components matter. Water, food, fuel and recovery will build and support resilience.
  • Adrenaline is GOOD stress. Use it to your advantage. However, be cautious if stress is too high and the fire is dampened through excessive production of cortisol.
  • Use experience to your advantage. If you have participated before, take a look back and revisit and how previous workouts felt.
  • Have purpose and ALIGNMENT. DO the OPEN to gain experience, using it to your advantage as steps to learn and progress.
  • Manage excitement. Having too much anxiety and excitement can create a huge push of energy that may be used up too quickly. Conserve, create right expectations, and use energy when drastically needed.
  • WHY are you doing what you are doing? TRAINING is important. However, create awareness that you HAVE improved and use that confidence in approach to each workout and training session.
  • GET in GREAT attempts that have intent. Still, you should know your limits. Smart training and mental connections to success.
  • Create proper expectations. WHAT are they? When the announcement take place are you already “freaking out”, trust the training KNOW when you haven’t put in the work. LEARNING through the open is important. ENJOY the process, the journey is more rewarding than the destination.
  • Practice Preparation. Video, phones, equipment, etc. PRACTICE NOW. Avoid unnecessary stressors.
  • Gauge your readiness. Use a numerical score before and after sessions to ensure you monitoring fatigue and ensuring you stay fresh.
  • IF the training is in place, embrace experiences of pain, judgement, peak, movement under fatigue, etc. Understand – IT’S JUST a workout, control what you can control.
  • Cognitive behavior techniques are important. CLOSE your eyes, visualize leading up into the open workout. WHAT it feels like, when you lose sight, when you break reps, etc.  Understand how you “FEEL” when you are tired. Change neurological patterning. Change from feeling “hurt” to a good feeling, will give you fuel – SEE it as a positive component, sensing tightened breath and see the increases in potential from that, embrace the pain.
  • Know the “Go Zone”, You shouldn’t be worried about your ready level.
  • Don’t judge the results. Focus on the process and not the end result. FIGHT till the end.

Be resilient. At the end of the day remember no one cares where you finish, except YOU. Stop judging yourself according to others. What does it matter?………YOU know that you gave everything to maximize your performance and reach your full potential.

Start getting comfortable with the uncomfortable.

-Mike Lee, OPEX Remote and Onsite Coach