Lighten Up: The power of 212

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, Certified Health Coach, is a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center. She is also a member of the St. Louis Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.

By Cathleen Kronemer

While watching the Olympics this summer, I happened to pick up on a system the judges had for ranking the divers.  It seems that, in addition to rating the divers’ actual performance, from leaving the platform to flawlessly piercing the water’s surface, each dive was accompanied by a “degree of difficulty” rating.  The combination of these two scores would ultimately determine which individual would take home the highly coveted gold medal.

To my untrained eye, every single one of those dives seemed equally challenging.  However, there must be subtle differences which the judging panel can perceive; and it is precisely those attributes which mark the difference between good and great.

It’s interesting to ponder how just a single degree can have such an impact.  This tiny measurement carries with it more potency than we realize. Consider this: at 211 degrees, water is hot.  But at 212 degrees, water boils.  Boiling water is capable of creating steam; and steam can power a locomotive engine.  In the time it takes for the temperature of water to rise just one degree, changes can be made that have far-reaching potential.

So it is with subtle changes we make in our lives.  If you find that your current workouts are not yielding the results for which you had hoped, try increasing them ever so slightly, like elevating water’s temperature by one degree.  This might translate into squeezing out the last rep of that difficult set in your strength-training workout.  For some, it is making it to the top of that challenging climb in a Spin class; for others, it may be finishing the last 30 seconds on the treadmill.  Over time, these seemingly inconsequential pushes in the right direction will unleash the power you need to take you to the next level of fitness, from good to great, and maybe even to gold-medal status. When you begin to see the positive results, you’ll come to realize that “blowing off steam” is actually a very good thing!

Cathleen Kronemer, NSCA-CPT, is a Lifestyle/Weight Management Coach and a longtime fitness instructor at the Jewish Community Center.