Thursday, April 19, 2007

Motivation: Padwans, follow Master Yoda's advice

I help a couple guys in another branch of service with their physical training. Often we train side by side. Good times! A complete psychological difference between the services became apparent today. Here's how. The Army tests sit ups, push ups and a 2 mile run and the guys I help had significant improvement since their last test. This is the stuff that motivates me. I always look forward to other’s improvement.

So what is the big deal?

The big deal is the approach the Soldier takes toward the test. Not the approach in preparation but their approach in execution. A brief description of the Soldier’s approach follows:

(1) Some of the soldiers did not complete the maximum number of push ups and had 30 seconds remaining when they stopped. One only required another 10 repetitions to max this part of the test. Several of them stated they were saving energy for the impending run.

(2) I heard more than one Soldier talk about the tempo of their sit ups. “Keeping the correct tempo to max the test is hard.” I talked to 3 or 4 Soldiers, all failed to achieve a maximum score in this portion of the test.

Do you see the problem? If not, let me describe for you how a Marine approaches a physical fitness test. In a timed event, like a crunch or sit up, it is unacceptable to quit before the time has elapsed. Those that attempt to stop will be told or motivated to keep going until the time is up. There are two acceptable times to stop. First, you have already completed the maximum number of repetitions required. Second, you are broken and cannot physically continue.

One comrade provided an argument for pacing and saving energy for later events. He stated, if I go all out on the sit ups, I will burn out before the time is up and not achieve a perfect score. Well, that is fine if you are able to achieve the perfect score. When you consistently fail to reach that score, if ever, it is time to try another tactic.

If you train hard, failure becomes increasingly difficult. It comes down to confidence. The difference between those that are successful in any event and those that also ran just to get the tee shirt is confidence. Successful people are confident because they conduct adequate preparation. When it is time for the big event, they don’t think, they just do.

Quitting is a big deal! Quitting should leave you feeling guilty. If it doesn’t you need to do some soul searching. Quitting on yourself regardless of improvement negates all of the hard work you complete in preparation of an event. Quitting brings regret along with this thought, “What if I would have (fill in the blank).” What if you didn’t quit? You just might be successful!

Yoda said it right when training Luke Skywalker, “Do, or do not. There is no try.” The timed events only have a two minute time limit. This means that burning pain will subside very soon. Overcoming the pain is as simple once you realize it is only temporary. Just close your eyes and go until told to stop. Leave it all on the field. Lance Armstrong once said, “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”

I do understand the theory of pacing and conserving energy. Only do as much as you have to. A physical fitenss test for all of the services lasts less than 45 minutes for all events. This is not an epic time period and will not even begin to tap out glycogen storage. In fact it is not even necessary to do any carbo loading for these events which is customary; although it doesn't hurt. With that said, proper training, rest and hydration will enable anyone to go balls to the wall during ALL of their physical fitenss test events.

Today's Workout(s) - increased intensity.
AM: 5 rounds of Pullup x 5, Push up x 20, bw squat x 20

PM: Other paricipants - Dan and Shane.
Jerk (2x24K) 5x5 - Dan did presses with the same weight, he is nursing a strained calf.
Kettlebell Swings - Tabata

Note to self: drink more water!

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