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Take Your Training Off the Mat: A Guide to Training for Life

When you show up to work out, what are you training for?

At the Ninja Clubhouse, the most ubiquitous reasons are health and hotness, which is generally followed closely by some strength or performance goal.

In the pursuit of achieving these goals there are changes that take place on a deeper level than physical adaptations. These changes are unexpected and are internal shifts that happen with our mindset, character and intention, transforming how we show up in the world.

Basically, our workouts change not only our bodies, but our whole lives.

When we realize the power of “working out” is much deeper, that’s it’s actually training body, mind and soul, we own that we can train for anything.

If we can train for anything, why not train for LIFE?

We often talk about training for life at the Clubhouse, most regularly in Snatched in Six Weeks.

Here’s the thing, it’s easy to be the best version of ourselves – body, mind, and soul – when everything in life is rainbows and butterflies, going mostly our way. It’s challenging to be the best, most expansive version of ourselves when shit is going wrong.

Let’s be honest, life is unpredictable and doesn’t usually rain puppy snuggles and glitter on the regular—this is when and why we step on our mat to train. Training is a conscious, intentional practice of choosing how we show up no matter the circumstances through the physical act of “working out.”

By choosing to step on our mat, we are practicing (aka training) our body, mind and soul to be the most expansive versions of ourselves when faced with adversity, challenges, and the shittiest of circumstances. With each rep we are practicing being proactive rather than reactive, and choosing “yes” when our body and world are screaming “no” at a deafening volume.

What does this have to do with MFF classes?

I don’t know about you, but lately for me, it feels like ALL THE SHIT is going wrong. I find myself thinking, “surely it can’t get worse” and yet, it does.

After so many gut punches, I struggle to give a sh*t, let alone dust myself off, get back up, and continue to do the work of showing up. If you relate, know you aren’t alone.

The Good News

Here’s the good news, Harold wrote the latest phase of MFF classes that our Ninja Army is in the middle of right now and they are PERFECT for training for life as it is right now.

If you’ve taken class, you might notice that it feels different from other phases and indeed the design of the classes is quite different, especially Superhero Strength.

I am not going to get into the science of how it is different from past classes or the payoff of this style of training. I’ll leave that to Harold. But I will talk about how he created classes that truly help us train for life.

Kick-Ass Conditioning

Kick-Ass Conditioning (KAC) was written with the focus on moderation. It gives us an opportunity to explore how often you find yourself pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion.

Let’s take it a step further, how often do you push yourself to the point of exhaustion in life? While training/living until you drop is a choice, deciding to workout/live moderately is also a choice.

Moderation is something we can all benefit from. It’s easy to be all or nothing, but it requires training/practice to find somewhere in between. If we are consistently exhausted, it’s nearly impossible to be the best versions of ourselves. KAC is an opportunity for us to practice the choice of moderation.

Use KAC to practice moderation through inter-achievable variables such as tempo of the exercises, intensity (weights used, power created) and/or breath. Research has shown that people who find moderation in exercise have greater physiological and psychological benefits. I can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t benefit from a fuller mental and physical “bank account,” especially these days.

Superhero Strength

Superhero Strength (SHS) this month was written to create fatigue from the beginning of class through eccentric and isometric exercises. These are the most fatiguing because the body is under tension for longer periods of time. Once fatigue is induced through these exercises, then the real training begins with our bigger, more powerful exercises.

It’s easy to move heavy kettlebells and your body powerfully and beautifully when you are fresh at the beginning of class. It’s much harder under the effects of fatigue. I couldn’t think of a better metaphor for life.

Not much in the news these days is rainbows and butterflies. There has been a big shift energetically for the past year and a half in the Ninja Army. Most Ninjas admit they more tired than normal, having lost a lot of “pep in their step” and understandably so. Saying there is a lot going on in our lives and our world feels like an understatement.

Use SHS to practice small moments of rest and recovery throughout class. Rest is an important aspect of strength training, so there is no need to constantly move straight from one exercise to the next. Taking moments of rest and using lighter weights (especially for the wide grip rows) will set your body and mind up to perform more power and strength in a different way than we usually train. If you focus solely on your fatigue, that will be your reality. Let’s use our bodies, mind and time on the mat to create and cultivate something bigger, better and more badass than exhaustion.

The Opportunity

We have been given such a gift with this class cycle to practice moderation and rise above suffocating fatigue. Under such exhaustion there will always be reasons to talk ourselves out of showing up and training strength, power, and moderation.

To be clear, I’m not saying don’t work out hard. Moderation can mean hard AND it also means training intelligently with purpose.

Now is the time to truly train for life because fatigue isn’t going anywhere. Most of us live in NYC, work our asses off, and the state of the world isn’t changing for the better overnight.

Instead of focusing on how exhausted our body, mind and soul might be, let’s ask ourselves:

Who do we want to be in the face of such fatigue?

The Great Work Begins

There will always be work to do on ourselves and the world, so how can we create change within ourselves that we can carry with us off our mat?

As our dear Rog Law wrote recently, “it takes the same amount of effort to continue living the kind of life you DON’T want as it does to create the life you DO want.”

Let’s use our time in class, especially this cycle to look in the mirror and ask ourselves the hard questions. By embracing the struggle and showing up no matter what, we create the internal and external changes that allow us to BE the most powerful versions of ourselves because it’s what we CHOOSE.

The choice is always yours, my dear Ninja. Choose to train for life – your best life, our best world – one rep at a time. Sometimes zooming out to see the big picture makes it easier to show up and do the work.

I look forward to seeing you on your mat, no matter the circumstances, a little more empowered and a little more hopeful.

Wanna come train for life with us at the MFF Clubhouse? Schedule a Health & Hotness Strategy Session and we’ll find the best plan for you!


Staci Jackson is a Ninja Trainer and resident Mama Bear at Mark Fisher Fitness. She is an ACE Certified Instructor, HKC, FMS I & II. She is also an iPEC-certified life coach and is in the preliminary stages of building her new coaching business. To get in touch, you can find Staci on Facebook or email her.


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