Emotional Fitness

Magnify the Heart

Emotions are good. Even when they’re bad, they’re good. Both negative and positive emotions are part of the way that we’re created, and every single one of them tells us valuable things about ourselves and the world around us. As we get older, though, many of us have a harder time being aware of the emotions that are present within us, a type of numbing that leaves us without full engagement. The heart is meant to feel.

If you have any doubt that emotion is important in fitness, think of a simple case: a woman in a gym does a single pull-up for the first time in her life and becomes overwhelmed with emotion at accomplishing the goal that she set for herself one year ago when she weighed an extra 40 pounds. A man runs over and gives her a high five, and she pumps her fists in the air and sheds a tear. One pull-up. Obviously, there is much more going on in that pull-up than a body being pulled over a bar, and that is actually the case for all of us – every single time that we go to the gym.

We take emotions into the gym with us, whether we’re aware of them or not, and we take emotions out of the gym with us. One of the things that we’ve developed to help in this area is an emotional checklist as part of a pre-workout routine to Drive Awareness. If we’re not driving awareness of our emotions, they’ll drive us.

The excellent book Emotional Intelligence 2.0 by Bradberry and Greaves explains that emotional intelligence is the essential quality in any leader – more than technical competence, education, energy, or any other single quality. A leader who can identify and lead based on the emotions of his crew is always going to be a more effective – and loved – leader. It’s no different for fitness coaches.

We’ll be examining emotional fitness and all of the ways that we can work to develop a toolbox of core competencies that will allow us to take control of our emotional lives and use them to magnify the good in all that we do, inside and outside of the gym.

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