Why Everyone Is Telling You To “Get Angry!”


Get angry! Wait, get angry? Yes, get angry!!

In a fitness world filled with motivational quotes and ongoing Zen-like inspiration imagine my shock when my trainer first told me to get angry. I wouldn’t say I’m a calm person, but definitely never considered myself angry. Don’t get me wrong, certain situations require a little feistiness to come out – you know, like when something gets screwed up at work, your dog decides to use your couch as her latest chew toy or someone swipes the last Glazed and Infused old fashion donut. I wouldn’t consider the gym a place to bring on anger – it actually usually calms me down if anything.

But slowly, I started hearing this ‘get angry’ mantra more and more – boxing classes, HIIT classes and even spin (note, I have yet to hear it at a yoga class), so naturally it stuck with me and I did just that, I got angry.

I wasn’t pissed at my trainer, instructor or coach. Sure, making me sprint at 12.5 or pull that damn rope five times is optimistically challenging, but not enough to make me angry. What I realized was the anger they’re talking about is that fire deep down inside you, that irritated feeling when you can’t quite complete that pull-up or beat that pace you’ve been trying to surpass. It’s the frustration that doesn’t debilitate you, but pushes you even further until you complete the goal you failed to achieve last time.

I recently fell in love with climbing. The wall is challenging as hell, both mentally and physically. The wall also provides the perfect backdrop for the “get angry” mantra. After tediously working my way up the wall, I got stuck about 80 percent of the way up – I got frustrated and let go. By the time I got back to the bottom, I was so angry at myself for giving up. That anger gave me the fuel to get my ass back on that wall, only this time I wasn’t going to stop until I made it to the top. This was when it clicked, I got angry and that anger helped me push myself (well, anger and DMX’s “X Gon Give It to Ya” playing in the background).

When your trainer tells you to get angry, he isn’t giving you the green light to throw a tantrum or pick up a dumbbell and start throwing it around. It isn’t about rage – it’s just another way to push you to achieve your goals. Instead of using motivational quotes that inspire wishful thinking, use that anger to hoist up that 50 lb dumbbell or maintain your pace at a 15 percent incline. Harness the anger and use it to crush your goal. No need to get upset, just pissed off enough to make a change.

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About Rachel Mitz

The self-diagnosed work-out-a-holic, Rachel Mitz can be found all around Chicago, staying fit when she isn't crunching numbers as a director of corporate finance for a commercial real estate company. Chicago area bred and University of Illinois alum, Rachel works hard and plays hard so her daily workouts are her chance to connect with her mind and body. Rachel keeps it exciting by creating up a lineup of both fun and challenging morning workouts from personal training sessions, to boot camps, to spin classes or runs along the lake front (she just completed her first marathon in October). For fun, you can find Rachel trying new restaurants, traveling, volunteering with her favorite middle schoolers at San Miguel or enjoying a glass of red wine and fro-yo.