In our world, we often ask, 'What was the workout?' or 'What is the workout?'

To put it nicely, the answer should nearly always be, does it matter?

Ten reps or 11? No difference. Workouts give us a structure to follow, a uniform of sets and reps to abide by. Junior coaches hound the best coaches in the world, athletes, and journalists to share their workout secrets, but the best coaches know it is not about the workout details. It's about the stimulus it sets.

Stimulus is a great word. It means a detectable change in the physical or chemical structure of an organism's internal or external environment that we then react to. The homeostatic, sensory, cellular, mechanical, chemical, nervous, endocrine & digestive systems are all sensitive to stimuli.

Before you even begin a hard CrossFit workout or a track Tuesday run, your body is gearing itself up, ready for the pain to come. Changes are already being made to prepare you for battle. Before a relaxing massage or stretching class, your body will begin calming itself down, subconsciously relaxing. Turning up to a full class might hit you with a load of feel-good chemicals and human connection! You couldn't care less what the workout is, and you're in a room full of your mates with music blaring. All these signs are there to remind you it's not about the workout.

So why do we stress so much about the workout? Is it because you want to make sure you maximise your time? Be able to compare it to what others are doing? Or do you like to pick a fight with the whiteboard (coach)? It is likely a combination, but most of all, it's a stress response to losing control.

When humans give away control of situations, a host of stimuli hits us, which can be highly addictive (gambling, drinking, drugs, ultra running! etc...). When humans lose control, it can be extremely distressing (anxiety, depression, helplessness). Here, the answer lies for those of you who stress about workouts. Giving away control is very different from losing it. If, in your mind, you are setting expectations of the workout, performances, environment, and even the feeling you want from it, you will lose control when one of those expectations is not met.

Learn to give away that control, trust the coach in guiding you, trust the environment you are in was built for you, and trust that once the workout is over, you can take back control. I promise you that this will supercharge the intended stimuli from a workout, hormonal, brain chemistry, recovery, and happiness standpoint.

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