Work Hard, Measure, Repeat

I am a big believer in measuring everything I do in the gym. I actually have a tough time not measuring in some form. Sometimes when I just want to do something light and not time myself, I end up doing the first 1 or 2 rounds easy and then I look at the clock and play the mental game of… “It’s 5 rounds. I did the first 2 rounds in 3 minutes each, so I should be able to finish this faster and get it done in less than 15 minutes.” Maybe that’s just me. The other way that I also see this is something like this: “I did this workout last year and I want to see if I am getting better, staying the same, or getting worse over time.”  Since I am over 40 years old, it’s a victory to just stay the same sometimes! I will say that it does provide some efficacy for me and lets me know if my training is effective. And it’s motivational. I never want to lose to myself…

The whiteboard in our gym exists for several reasons and one of them is so that we can bring back an old workout every once in awhile so that we can compare ourselves to whenever we did that first workout. Now, it’s not always apples to apples. We don’t necessarily get the same amount of sleep, eat the same things, have the same stress, or feel the exact same as we did the first time we did the workout. But nonetheless, it can serve as a marker for us, and I believe it’s good feedback for us, individually.  

I like the idea of randomly doing a revisit to a workout for several reasons. Our fitness should really prepare us for what is unexpected, meaning, we aren’t pro athletes and we shouldn’t have to prepare a week or two in advance for our opponent or a workout, in this case. We should be able to express full efforts after a good warm up and a bit of tactical guidance from a coach, we don’t need to prepare for a workout the way the Vikings have a pre game meeting the day before, followed by a meal, and on the field warm ups that last over an hour sometimes. We can just show up to the gym, not know what’s coming, and work hard.

For some of you, the tendency to shy away or look away from your previous results is very real. It can be scary to look at something that you have done in the past, know the first result, and then be asked to beat it. I would ask that you look at this from less of an indicator of how you are doing overall and more of an indicator of how are you doing on this particular day. Then, if you’d like, you can use that information to look at the bigger picture and see what tweaks you may need to make, if any. This gives you the freedom to work as hard as you want to work, which is usually a better way to attack any workout because it will be more fun, you will be more fulfilled, and you will be doing it on your terms.