When ESPN's Sport Science studied elite marathoner Meb Keflezighi's biomechanics, they discovered he spent more time in the air than he did on the ground--75 percent of the race, if you want to get specific.
To put it simply, Meb can fly.
Call it magical thinking, futurecasting, bullheaded drive...
...but it works.
And I wanted me some of that.
Which is how I found myself collapsed in a pool of my own sweat at the asscrack of dawn on a Tuesday morning in my Montreal condo.
I was about to give myself a mental pat on the back for a new personal best of 25 burpees when...
"You're not done, Geeta! Fifty more!" barked my iPad.
No, this wasn't Siri pulling fitness rank on me, it was David, my personal trainer.
Unable to muster a word of protest, I found just enough strength to raise my right arm and uncurl my middle finger.
Dave snorted and said, "Come on, you got this."
Right on cue, my then-3-year-old, who had been standing off to the side with his Nerf gun trained on me, piped up, "Mama, you're a ninja and ninjas can do anything."
Why high intensity exercise can make you a better business owner
Between technology snafus, staffing headaches, cash-flow deficits, and loneliness, running a small business can give you approximately 100 temptations to quit every day.
What David puts me through on that sweaty mat isn't so much about looking fabulous in a tight dress on stage (though I admit it's a side effect I enjoy).
The real payoff is learning to stay calm and focused on your vision when your entire physical being is going Defcon 1 on you.
That's what self-made billionaire Jesse Itzler was looking for in 2010 when he was in a slump.
He's the guy who hired a Navy Seal to move into his apartment for 30 days to teach him one simple truth:
"When you think you're done, you're finished, you're really only at 40 percent of your capacity"
Now I haven't lived with a Navy SEAL and I'm no billionaire, but this past year, I've run my own similar experiment for a fraction of the cost.
When I hired Dave through an app called LIFT Session, I didn't need to lose any weight. I was already pretty disciplined and worked out 5 or 6 days a week.
But that one decision changed my life and the way I approach business.
You see, the only instruction I gave Dave was: "Use my body to unlock my mind".
Every session, Dave calls on me to do something I believe is impossible. He sees a capability and reserve of will inside me I'm not always able to see in myself.
He designs programs called EMOMs, where I have to repeat a circuit "every minute on the minute" and think strategically about whether it's better to burn through and take a longer break or go slowly and continuously till the 10-minute timer is done.
He makes me do AMRAPs (as many reps as possible), cherry-picking movements I don't feel competent doing, drawing on my desire to beat my own record with each circuit.
He comes up with creative ways to "celebrate" milestones--like the circuit he designed for my 36th birthday, where I had to do 36 minutes of punishing exercises (36 reps each, of course).
Unlike a gym class, I have nowhere to hide. And the focus on my form protects me from injury despite the fact that we're pushing harder than I've ever pushed, every single time.
Unlike workout DVDs, I never get bored.
And I am not allowed to design my programs around the stuff I love and am good at.
I never miss a workout. Because LIFT Session allows me to work live with a trainer anywhere in the world, I get one in even when I'm on the road or my kid is home from daycare. I usually train using nothing but my body weight (I don't even need shoes).
I am blown away by how much we can do using just my body against me. Such a great lesson for a startup-- use what you already have; just use it better.
By the way, you can try your own first session absolutely free using promo code: "INC"
I deliberately visit my zone of incompetence and failure each time.
This is important.
It makes me less afraid to take a risk. To look like an idiot. To fail.
Now tell me this: How differently would you see your potential if you had someone there to push you past your limits every day?
How much more grit and resilience would you grow?
The answer might be hidden in burpees.
And this is the part that doesn't wash off in the shower
The part that I bring with me to my desk, to high stakes meetings, to coaching sessions.
So will struggling through Bulgarian squats and pushing yourself beyond your perceived limits help you take your business to the next level?
I encourage you to run a similar experiment and find out.