This morning, I had a sweat-drenched epiphany. At first, I thought it was just lightheadedness brought on by the fact that I was close to fainting, but then the endorphins kicked in, and boy, those training narcotics make all the hurt worthwhile. The lesson I learnt? The best person in the world to prove wrong is that devious doubter located deep in your own brain. Don’t get me wrong, it’s human nature to compare yourself to the person slapping the treadmill next to you and there is a satisfying feeling to beating them. You may be scoffing right now, but trust me, deep down you know what I’m talking about. Even if you think you’re not a competitive person, you know that you sneak a look over at the digital speed display of the person on the treadmill next to you. Come on, admit it. You probably measure yourself against every other lycra- and vest-wearing gym person you train in the near vicinity too. It could be weights, spinning or even stretching, but that’s human nature, and you’re hardwired to compete. While this kind of competing does bring about a little shallow pleasure, it doesn’t come close to beating your own inner doubter. The main reason? The doubter knows you better than anyone else on the planet. It knows your weaknesses and the scars of earlier defeats. It knows what to whisper when you’re starting to hurt, and it makes giving up that much more acceptable. In fact, that little voice makes giving up sound good. I’ve learnt to visualise this self-doubt. I’ve even given it a face and a name (the first bully I took a beating from in Standard 3 back in Port Shepstone), and he’s the person I fight every time I want to slow down, give-up or second-guess myself. My work colleague, Dylan, has written about his own bully encounters in his posts, check them out by clicking on his mug on the right. I’ve realised that even though at the time of being beaten, I was hating life, now I appreciate everything that the little freckled-faced bastard did with his fists in those early days. It’s the best motivation I’ve come across, and it’s proven to me that ironically, the worst damage you can take to your self-esteem doesn’t come from other people. So today, we did the Baseline test at Cape Crossfit under the guidance of the brilliant (and ever patient) trainer Lynda. It’s a tough, fast one: a 500m row followed by 40 squats, 30 sit-ups, 20 pushups and then 10 pullups – all as quickly as possible. I did this test four weeks earlier when I first started at Cape Crossfit, so I really wanted to improve on this. Just before the timer started, the first stabs of self-doubt started. Was I tired? Stiff from yesterdays workout? Did I get enough sleep last night? As you can see, the bully is sneaky. So I pictured my feisty, fist-throwing bully from primary school days, and started feeling that payback anger – the best kind of motivation. The result? A 3:50 time that thrashed my previous score. But even more importantly, I smashed my inner bully.