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Things are only as hard as you let them be

February 22, 2012

I can honestly say that this has only happened one other time that I can remember. Don’t get me wrong, There are plenty of workouts that I haven’t been able to finish, but not because I was physically unable.

I began Week4 of 100pushups today. In truth, I guess I finished as well, but we’ll get to that. I felt really good after my second set. I had to take a breather before pumping out my last rep, but I did 13. It may seem like a small number, but considering that a short time ago a single rep would prompt a quick, “Fuck that shit,” I felt my pride was earned. Not to mention the fact that I’m still carrying around at least 100 extra lbs, so there’s more to lift. I’ve been taking breathers as needed the whole time, but I’ve always finished the reps. I might have lengthened my rest periods between sets, and I might have broken some sets into three or four smaller ones, but I’ve done every single rep of every set of each of the sessions.

This morning I was checking my email during the five minutes before my final set. When the timer sounded I was in the middle of something, so I probably waited another three or four minutes before starting. I didn’t have the slightest inkling that those 16 reps would be any trouble. In fact, after my second set, I did some math and realized I would have done 63 in all. That filled me with so much false confidence that I cooked up a plan to tag on another four sets of 10 for an even 100. Well, the last one would only be seven, but you get the point. That all went right out the window when I my arms quit working.

Now I’ve hit the deck and then not been able to push back up, but that’s when I take a breather, re-do that rep and keep going. On my first rep, I didn’t even get that far. The second I left plank position I felt my arms begin to fail, and I slammed into the deck. I thought, “Well, that was different,” and got back up. I gave it another three tries, but each time I would feel the area where my biceps and pectorals meet begin to give. The ache and failure would immediately spread out in both directions, and I would hit the floor. I thought I might be able to finish the last set from my knees, but I was still only able to crank out 10, and they weren’t all solid reps. I finally went to the kitchen and leaned against the bar like I was going to do calf stretches. I got all the reps in, but even then It was slow going and I had to really concentrate on each one.

I’m going to give my upper body the rest day I normally do and then repeat today’s session (and keep repeating it) until I can do the full sets. Then I can move on to Week4Day2.

I realize I’m really pushing myself, but I am seeing (and feeling) results. I’m no expert, but still, my thoughts are that this was a good thing. What doesn’t kill you …, right?

I’ve been holding on to a thought for a while now, and I fell like it’s applicable today: “Things are only as hard as you let them be.” I don’t know if that’s something I read somewhere or if it’s just me paraphrasing a lot of what I have read. Either way, it goes right with what I was saying last week about perspective and attitude. I’ve heard Joe Rogan talk about Malcolm Gladwell’s theory that most people need 10,000 hours to master a skill, and in those 10,000 hours, there’s bound to be more than a few that could be looked at a failures. When he talks about it in reference to comedy, he’ll bring up things like having to bomb on stage in order to learn how to react when that happens. That’s what makes “hard work” hard work. If something comes easy to you, you have an advantage, but until you learn how to keep doing your job when everything isn’t going smoothly, you’re no master.

I think my main point is (as always) to just keep going. No matter what happens or how hard things get, it will get easier as long as you don’t stop. I came across the above picture on /r/GetMotivated this morning, and I think it’s applicable as well.

I guess the most appropriate thing to leave you with this morning would be a track off “Winners Never Quit.”

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