In April 1980, a group of armed gunmen stormed the Iranian Embassy in London, and took 26 hostages. The police tried to negotiate a peaceful end to the siege. But when one of the hostages was shot, the SAS were sent in to get the rest of them out.
Unfortunately, things didn’t get off to a great start.
As one of the team leaders – Tom Morrell – was abseiling down the back of the Embassy, his rope got jammed. The curtains beneath him had been set on fire by grenades, and he was stuck, flames lapping against his legs.
He kept kicking himself away from the wall, but every time he swung back in towards the window, he ended up right back in the flames, in danger of being burned alive.
The two abseilers above him were ready to come down, but couldn’t because Morrell was in the way.
So one of them pulled out a knife, sliced through the rope, and Morrell fell to the balcony below.
On top of having his legs badly roasted (one of the assault team said he could smell the burnt flesh), he’d just fallen a good 12 feet, weighed down by body armour, weapons and kit.
At this point, it would have been understandable if Morrell had put his hand up and asked to be excused from the next phase of the operation. But he didn’t. He shook his head, climbed to his feet and said simply:
“Let’s get in.”
During the raid, Morrell and his team rescued all but one of the remaining hostages, and killed five of the six terrorists.
So, why am I telling you this?
On your path to physical greatness, things won’t always go according to plan.
When that happens, I think you’re far better off keeping going, even if what constitutes “keeping going” might not be what you originally had in mind.
For example, I often hear from people who tell me they’ve had to stop training because there’s a pain here or a niggle there.
As soon as their knee, their shoulder, their elbow or whatever it happens to be feels better, they’ll be back in the gym again.
Here’s the reality:
Beyond a certain age, something is always going to hurt to one degree or another.
If you stop training every time this or that joint doesn’t quite feel right, you’ll never get anywhere.
Obviously there’s a balance to be struck. You don’t want to train through an injury and end up making it worse. But nor do you want to stop training for weeks on end every time you feel a tweak here or a twinge there.
Rather than train through an injury, just train around it. There’s always something you can do in the gym. That something might not be what you originally intended, but it’s better than sitting around on your arse seeing all your gains go down the drain.
If you adopt an “all or nothing” mentality, where everything has to be just right before you do anything, chances are the end result is going to be nothing.
It’s not ideal, but it’s not the end of the world either.
You adapt, you improvise and you keep on training.
Christian Finn, M.Sc.
Founder of Muscle Evo