Today was a conditioning / General Physical Preparedness (GPP) day.
I always have mixed feelings towards these. In principal I love the idea of them, they are usually very simple but brutal workouts where you just get stuck in and give it all you've got. However when it comes to actually doing them I often find myself procrastinating and delaying the start of what I know if going to be a brutal 15-30 minutes.
Today was no different. I stepped out of my door and headed off up the snowy and freezing cold hill toward the gym. My head was pounding, which caused me to consider whether exercising hard was a good idea when my head was already hurting, stupid paranoia regarding brain haemorrhages and such made home seem the better idea, but I put it aside and found that the fresh air actually chased the headache away by the time I reached the gym.
So here was the plan for today's session:
100 Skipping rope turns
10 Burpees - proper not sprawling burpees
10 Press ups
10 Bodyweight squats (low as possible)
10 Pull ups (strict, no kipping)
x 10 sets as quickly as possible
It's a supped-up variant of a session which I have done with many of my clients but I was feeling fairly confident...that didn't last long.
By the second round I had a slight bloody taste in my mouth (probably a result of the cold air outside followed by heavy breathing) and I couldn't see how I would possibly finish the workout in anywhere near a decent time. I pretty much committed myself to just doing 5 sets and then building up on it by 1 round at a time over the weeks until I finally reached 10 sets in one session.
However when I got to 5 sets I just knew it wasn't enough, I knew I had more to give and that if I quit there would be letting myself down. Eventually I completed all 10 sets in 32 min 50 sec, not the best time in the world and considerably more than I was hoping for but it is a starting point and one that I will defiantly be building upon.
One thing I wanted to discuss, which I don't think is mentioned much by coaches is how you behave when pushing through a session like this. Sessions like this are nasty and generally my demeanour adapts to match them. Generally I motivate myself by viewing everyone else in the gym as a rival or enemy, I mutter insults under my breath, I shoot people dirty looks if they stare, I stomp around and guard equipment. Any other time of day I would consider myself a nice guy, but when I have to get through a session like today it helps to let something more primal take over.
Now obviously I'm not saying go and act like an arse hole in the gym, there are enough of those already around already, but don't be afraid to let some primal behaviour surface for the duration of a tough rep, set or session.
Most 'Globo-Gym's' actively discourage people from working their asses off. It is frowned upon if you drop weights, shout out during max effort reps or sprint so hard that you risk flying off the back of the treadmills. Now I can see WHY they discourage this type of behaviour, its intimidating and for legal reasons it can be quite risky. But as an individual wanting to bust your ass to achieve your goals, it can be very limiting. So, you have to find ways to get around it without risking your own or anyone else's safety. My way around it today was to choose simple exercises that could be done to max effort with little risk... and to act like a bit of a dick for the 30 minutes that it took me to get through it.
This is an interesting topic and I have actually written more than I meant to, I might pick it up again in the next few weeks as I'm currently a member of a standard 'Globo-Gym' but have aspirations to own and run something more tailored to actually getting work done. However for the time being I have to find ways to still train like a beast in this place (and I'm sure most of you reading this work-out in high street gyms). So, more info on this to come in the following weeks.
As always, any comments, leave them below.
Train hard, live happy