Exactly. Nice example. It’s probably the same kind of feeling some people (like myself) get when trying a back flip. You can just feel the inhibition. I used to do them as a kid, no problem. Front & backflips, easy. Then I just got “too smart & cautious”, which is probably a good thing. Now I can’t even attempt one. I don’t want to anymore, i’ll probably wreck myself. But what you stated reminds me of that feeling. I also get it before some important intervals, like say i’m going to max out my mile on my own or run hard repeats … To get my body to hit the gas pedal, I have to really focus hard and literally tell my mind to STFU. I’ll say things out loud, like “relax, just give me what I want”, as if i’m trying to convince my subconscious/protective mechanisms to just let go, and let me get this shit already. However, if i’m in a race, there could be someone there who runs considerably faster than I can run, and i’ll just completely lose all of that inhibition and just try my hardest to keep up with him, until it’s not physiologically possible anymore. My mind will just quiet down, and give me more of what i’m capable of.
Edit: I used the flip analogy because, I think pretty much anyone can related to that. Something like that where, even just thinking about it can make you feel “heavy” and “weak”, ie your body saying, “don’t even try it”.
So I think the competition effect is an incredible “training tool”. Intense training sessions like you mentioned, can bring it out, but it’s still not the same. I imagine you’ve broken many barriers as a result of simply competing in strongman and such, in general.
Now take someone who just has less of that inhibition naturally, like you mentioned some of the people you train with, the “no fear” crowd. That simple innate ability (or trained ability), applied to thousands of training sessions, and you just have much more potential for growth/progress over time. So while you are brute forcing it, and still potentially beating someone in a competition with that mindset, if you also had that lack of inhibition + the drive that you do, it might raise the ceiling incredibly.
I personally don’t think that inhibition is a limit on one’s potential, I just think it can more easily end up that way. More self doubt, more fear, more protective shut down, over thousands of training sessions, should just equate to less progress in general, for the general athletic population.
So that’s where someone like you, or me, and others who might be reading this, might have to dig a little deeper than normal inside our own minds, and also compete more.
Also FWIW, the inhibition I had when stepping into a boxing ring (to spar) every single time was absolutely insane. It never got any better. It took a ridiculous amount of “guts” (for me) to get in there and wait for the bell to ring. Some people just can’t wait to get in there and go to war, i’d call that more natural lack of inhibition in this specific example. That’s when I noticed though, that if I were to be pushed into a situation where I had to survive, my training will take over, and I more often than not did my thing, and always made it out alive, lmfao. This is similar to how I just throw myself in there with races, and try to stick with the fastest group, always at the front, no hanging back. This is apparently “The Kenyan Way”, that’s the mindset in Kenya. Get to the front, hold it for as long as possible, and win or lose bravely. That mindset over time, allows one to truly tap into all of their protected potential.
Edit: Also as far as competition goes, I know lots of people who put off competing in something, and continue training, trying to get everything right. I’ve been guilty of it myself. For the most part (not in every case obviously), just getting in there and competing, is an incredible stimulus and learning experience. I think lots of people want to prepare more initially, so to not look “as bad” in their first “comp” (whatever that may be). But my mentality now, especially, is just go in and not worry about taking an L. Obviously i’m just speaking generally, some things like combat sports can change that. But in general, we learn so much from taking L’s and it gets us in there quicker, experiencing the competition environment of our goal, and helps us progress faster. So i’m completely done caring about how i’ll perform, or worrying about my times or anything like that, I just sign up for a race and compete. If I cramp, have a bad day, run bad, doesn’t bother me -> i’ll still learn from it. Need to stay focused on the bigger picture.
lmao! What you may lack in natural athletic talents, you make up for in your analytics, introspection, self awareness, planning, and drive. It’s just funny how things can even out, ie how you can train so hard & consistent over the many years, and eventually overpower & brute force your way past your competition, some of which may be more gifted naturally, some of which may be brute forcers like yourself, but that competitive spirit is a great way to “lose yourself” and raise the bar.