My freshman year in college, the conditioning test every player on my Division I basketball team had to pass was the 20 in 20: Run 20 suicides in 20 minutes.
[Suicide: Start on baseline of basketball court and run to free throw line and back; then to half court line and back; then to other free throw line and back; then to the other baseline and back.]
The first 10 suicides, you could run each as slow or as fast as you wanted, so long as each suicide was done in under one minute. After those 10 suicides, i.e., after the 10 minute mark, the next five suicides had to be run in 43 seconds each for post players (me); the last five suicides had to be run in 39 seconds each.
The entire team lined up to do the 20 in 20 together. Not all of us made it through the first 10, even though they were untimed.
But I did. It was a struggle, but I finished those first 10. Barely. The next few sets were a blur. My feet felt laced with quicksand and my muscles burned. I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t see for the sweat pouring in my eyes. My mind stopped working….and that was only on number 13. No way was I going to make it to 20 if I already felt like death on number 13. No way! Still, I gave it my all for number 14, but didn’t make my time. I missed it by a second and went out.
One of my teammates ran up to me, grabbed me by my sweaty shoulders, and shook me like an angry elf: “HOW COULD YOU GO OUT ON 19??!?!”
I had lost count. I wasn’t on number 13. I was on number 19. I was ONE SUICIDE AWAY FROM FINISHING and being only the second freshman to ever accomplish that feat. I literally gave up RIGHT AT THE FINISH LINE because I couldn’t remember what number I was on. I didn’t finish hard because I didn’t think I could make it, when in reality, if I had only dug a little deeper and held on a little longer, I would have conquered that obstacle.
The bad news is I had to run the 20 in 20 again – every player had to actually make all their times if they wanted to play during the season.
But the good news is I passed with flying colors on my second try. And, more importantly, I learned an important life lesson: KEEP TRACK OF THE COUNT AND NEVER GO OUT ON NUMBER 19.
I tell you this story because I love this week’s set-up for Total Body Core: It’s easy to keep track of the count. With this week’s rep scheme of three sets of 10 reps, it’s easy to remember how much you’ve done and how much you have left to do. You do the same three exercises for 10 reps each, three times in a row, then move on to the next set of exercises.
Last week, because the workout gets so long, I tended to get lost and forget if I’m on set one or two.
But this week, it’s easy to remember. And I don’t know what it is about not having to think about what set you’re on, but it makes it easier for me to push myself with heavier weights. I think because I can actually remember how the first set felt and adjust accordingly; I can recall whether I really struggled and need to drop a pound or two, or whether it was on the cusp of being easy, so I can add a pound or two.
This week, I was able to add a pound or two. I felt strong. Especially in that first shoulder set, where you go from squat-row-hinges to rotating-lung-to-chest-press to quad-ped-opposite-arm-knee-crunch –all the burnout. Even then, I felt like I had extra power to press that weight above my head, and each time I managed to move quick enough to stay a beat ahead of Autumn and the gang. Plus, it was easier for me to adjust my weights for the reasons explained above.
This Week 3 in the Phases is my suicide number 19: It’s when I push harder and hold out a little longer because I know how close I am to finishing.
That’s what I remind myself during this week: As much as I might not want to do the workout or bump up in weight, I don’t get that option. I already blew that mindset on the 20 in 20 in college. That was my one screw-up, and I remember how it felt. TERRIBLE. I do not want to do that again, so I don’t let myself slack off during this week.
Neither should you. Even though you know you can do three sets of 10 reps for all exercises, push yourself. This is IT. You are past the halfway point on 80 Day Obsession. You should be feeling strong and kicking ass. Look at this steely eyed determination:
Channel whatever you need to to get the job done. For me, it’s hearkening back to that heartbreaking moment in college: I don’t quit on 19. Not ever again.
Don’t let yourself quit on 19, either. You’re doing this for a reason. Remember your why and stick with it.
Besides, you’re more than halfway there. You’ve come this far….why give up now???
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