“In bocca al lupo…”
While running a marathon, my legs are my friends. My core and bottom, however, become my screaming enemies at mile 20. The crowd cheers, “you’re almost there!” but, let’s be honest, six miles is a long way from almost. I am “in bocca al lupo,” which translates to “in the mouth of the wolf” in Italian.
I learned this saying from friends of mine who are opera singers. They use this saying as a form of “break a leg.” Think about it… When an opera singer takes center stage, they have to rise above the sound of an 80-piece orchestra and entire chorus to steal the show without the help of a microphone. If they fail, everyone knows it. They are in the mouth of the wolf.
Before a performance, one opera singer says to another, “in bocca al lupo,” the same thing I repeat over and over in my head at mile 20. The second opera singer replies, “crepe lupo,” which is the same thing I tell myself to get past mile 20. Crepe lupo means slay the wolf. Defeat is not an option!
Finding your mental edge
Whether it’s mile 20 of a marathon, several minutes into your first foam rolling session, or the moment you see a piece of chocolate cake at a party… there will be many times ahead where you will need to be strong mentally so you can build a strong body. The opera house mantra keeps me strong, but what will you tell yourself when the going gets tough?
Coaching yourself through the tough times is a form of mental training, or sport psychology. This teaches athletes to remove mental barriers so they can always perform their best. But mental training doesn’t only take place at the figurative mile 20. You can develop a positive mindset by working through the following skills everyday:
- Always perform at your peak. What can you do to make today better than yesterday? Go beyond what’s expected.
- Know what drives you. Ask yourself what you are trying to accomplish, how you define excellence, and what you like about what you are doing.
- Make goals for success. Don’t just try hard. Make measurable, realistic goals not only for fitness but also for everyday life.
- Use goals to motivate you. Picture your achievement, make a goal buddy, and reward yourself.
- Develop the Midas touch. Don’t sell yourself short. Today is the day!
Chapter 14 of Fitness After 40, Second Edition outlines strategies that will help you develop your mental edge.
While F.A.C.E.-ing your future may seem like a daunting task to begin, it will be easier to undertake if you have the right mindset.
So start now! Look up inspirational quotes and find one that really speaks to you. Make this your opera house motto. Decide what your mission is and what you will do every single day to support your mission.
I will do today’s work for you: Read Fitness After 40, Second Edition, and let’s F.A.C.E. your future together!