"Full effort is full victory." Mahatma Gandhi
Being a super-fan of The Biggest Loser for years, I knew what an accomplishment it was to make it to "Singles." At the Week 10 challenge, Alison unveiled an assortment of colored jerseys, marking the end of team efforts, and introducing us to our new identities and start of individual efforts. It was time to take everything we had learned over the first few months on the ranch and apply it solely for our own benefit. Going forward, I had only my effort to count on.... and I really liked that new kind of positive pressure.
The challenge had the contestants "holding our own weight" in the first individual competition of the season. Each contestant had to muscle-up an iron bar at 20 percent of their current weight, spanning some 40 feet, suspended in a giant metal ring ready to explode with fire, if touched. This challenge was the perfect metaphor for the coming weeks ahead... It's now or never, you either hold your own weight, or the dreams of being The Biggest Loser will go up in flames. Over-dramatic, perhaps, but oh so true.
Effort is an individual decision. I've always told my daughters, the only thing in life you have complete control over is your own attitude and effort. I had lost an amazing 115 pounds, great success based on the sum of my smaller efforts repeated day in and day out. I was stronger, I believed in my new-found abilities, I was making great choices, and I was now ready for my second chance working out with Jillian!
I'm pretty certain Jillian was out to see if she could break me again, but I had been looking forward to redeeming myself to her since my week 1 workout fail. Every little effort I had given in the gym over the course of the last two months had prepared me for this opportunity. Every new exercise she challenged me with, I rose to the occasion. My least favorite thing to do is run, so when she asked me my best mile time, I knew this was going to be my biggest test yet.
I started out at a pace comfortable for me, something I knew I could finish, a 15-minute mile. Jillian took control of the treadmill at the quarter-mile and increased my speed dramatically. It was outside my comfort zone. I started to think about how far I still had to go, started running anxious, my body tightened up, I was losing control of my breathing. Jillian reaches over again at the half-mile and increases my speed again. Initially I get mad at the thought of her trying to make me fail. I'm not going to let that happen again, not this time. I immediately change my thinking. I go back to my training, my breathing techniques, focus on relaxing, head up, eyes ahead. The last quarter mile, I can do this, and then I see Jillian's hand reach over again....
Outside on the steps of the gym, Jillian and I spend some time talking about my promise. Not the promise I made to my late first wife to be there to take care of our kids, but the promise I made to myself before life rolled over me. Jillian encouraged me is was time to pick up those dreams again; to be a business owner, a coach and mentor, a speaker and teacher. And then Jillian said something I will never forget, "It's always the finish that defines you."
... with a quarter-mile to go, at the end of a grueling 3-hour workout with Jillian Michaels, I am now sprinting to the finish. I have a new personal record mile of 11 minutes, shaving four minutes off my previous "best." Just past the high-fives, hugs and I told you so's, Jillian challenges me to always stay on the offensive, moving forward with purpose, and busting barriers every chance I get. "Why run at 15:00 when you can do 11:00?" she says. Why indeed.
Opportunities in life don't generally come to those who wait or wish for them to happen; they are captured by those who dare to attack. It is time for me to pick up those original promises I made to myself and apply every bit of effort I have in me. I'm ready to "hold my own weight" and run my race, all the way to the finish.
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