You’ve just pushed through a really tough workout. You’ve given it everything you’ve got. You yell “Time!” and immediately collapse on the ground in a sweaty puddle.

It is a very common thing to see at the gym. Bodies sprawled all over the floor after a grueling workout. It’s the reason for the term “Sweat Angel.”

But what are you saying when you do that? Are you admitting defeat? Are you surrendering to that workout?

As a new athlete it never occurred to me to lay on the floor after a tough workout. I’m all gross and sweaty and why would I want to collect all the chalk dust and sweat from other people all over my body? Ewww.

I was at my first gym when it happened one day that someone collapsed to the floor after a workout. The Coach told him to get up. He explained that only weak animals lay on their backs, and they do it as a sign of surrender. “You will not surrender to your workout – you will make that workout surrender to you.”

That stuck with me. Workouts are hard. What we do at the gym can be grueling. But after a workout, you have done it! You have completed it. You have defeated it. You will not surrender to it.

Mikko Salo was once asked why he didn’t lie down after completing a chest-to-bar Fran in a time that would have placed him first in the event at the 2008 CrossFit Games. “I once read an article about it: when animals surrender they go lying on their back,” Salo explains. “From then on I decided I would never go lying on my back. It’s a sign of weakness and surrendering. I’m never lying on my back.”

So go ahead and catch your breath after that tough workout. Sit on the floor or lean on the wall. My favorite spot is sitting on the stairs. But I will not lay down and surrender to that workout. I am the master and I have conquered it. I am better than that workout and I am better than I was yesterday.

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