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I need to work(out) smarter

March 6, 2012

I took a look at today’s workout from 100pushups, and on closer inspection I’m supposed to be able to bust out at least 31 reps in-a-row before even beginning Week5.

I’ve been ignoring all the “exhaustion tests” along the way. I’ve just been keeping to the far left column (lowest reps) each week and moving on day-to-day, week-to-week assuming that I could work the program like C25K. Along the way, I’ve had to break some set up into microsets in order to get all the reps in, and I even experienced working my muscles to he point of exhaustion.

I’ve had no problem repeating individual workouts or even entire weeks of C25K, so I’m going to port over some of that attitude and start working the 100pushups program the way it’s laid out.

Do a test at the beginning of each week. Do as many consecutive reps as you can. Not as many as you think you can. And by that I mean during the test, whichever rep you’re on when you start thinking, “This is my last one. I can’t do any more,” you’ve probably have at least one or two more in you. Push yourself.

Once you have you’re max number, it will not only determine which of the three columns you need to follow that week, but also whether or not you’re ready to begin that week at all.

Week1 seems to be the only week where you get a free pass. The required reps for all three columns are the same for both Week1 and Week2. Since only 5 reps are required to start both weeks, then there’s really no chance you won’t be able to move on after you’re first three workouts. After that is where the system actually seems to start working.

For example, Let’s say during your test after Week2 you can’t do the required 16 reps to start Week3. If for some reason you’re still at five or less, then follow the workouts in column one (left column) again. but if your max number is between 6 and 10, this time you’re going to follow column two (middle column). And then at the end of that week, if you’re in the 11 – 15 range, follow column three (right column) and so on.

In reality, the left column of Week 3 is probably where I’m supposed to be start today, but this is now a test day, so we’ll see.

Things comes easier to some people, and while repeating workout doesn’t seem to bother me in the slightest, for some, the idea is downright crippling at OCD levels. Take running for instance. The biggest differences I’ve noticed are in the way people think about their workouts. Let’s compare a couple of subreddits, shall we?

People on /r/running are concerned with miles and times for the most part. Now move over to /r/c25k. Here the focus is on schedules. I’ve seen a few posts where someone is upset because they physically weren’t able to finish a workout. Rather than take an honest look at themselves, they’re more worried about keeping to their schedule, because at the beginning of the program they signed up for (or at least just decided they would) a 5k exactly 9 weeks away with absolutely no though as to if they would actually be able to run 5k by that time.

If you’re able to, then that’s awesome, and you should do that because it seems that to do so would make you happy. But if you’re not ready, then you’re not ready. Take all that self encouragement you’ve been teaching yourself up to this point and apply it. You’ve trained yourself to not let small set backs or difficult workouts get you down. Well, stop pouting about this. Focus on where you are presently and what you’re doing, because that 5K you signed up for (at least at this moment) is still an imaginary event in the future that may or may not happen.

You didn’t start this program because you want to run in a race. That may be one of your goals, but it’s not your root desire. You began all this because you wanted to change your life for the better.

Shit happens, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that in the movie, Forrest Gump coined that phrase while he was running. Your body won’t perform perfectly every time. It’s not a machine. Even if it was, machines break down.

Whether you’re doing C25k, 100pushups or any other scheduled system, it’s not about finishing each session flawlessly and completing the schedule without repeating any workouts. It’s about being better than you were yesterday, and nothing more. Don’t run a 5k if you’re not ready. Don’t move on to the next week if you’re not ready. Just do better than you did last time. Better can be as simple and as small as one more rep, one more minute or even one more step. In planking exercises, better can even be one more second. But better can also be the same number of reps/miles as last time, so long as you are better while you’re doing them.

That’s the only rule. That’s the only promise you need to make to yourself. As long as you’re better today than you were yesterday, you don’t have anything to feel bad about. (Unless you grandmother dies. That would suck.)

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