Workout to Train Your Willpower

Got something new and challenging for your Memorial Day weekend – and to get you toned for the summer. (Look for a separate Memorial Day email later this weekend.)

This is, I think, the most significant Newsletter in terms of workouts that I’ve ever provided. Not, mind you, because of the physical exercise, but because of the way this critter trains your soul – your mind, will, and emotions.

What follows is one of a whole series of protocols that I use with clients in my studio – and in my own training, I’m not sure if I can get all this across in a Newsletter format, but I’m up for it – I hope you are!

I do hope you carry through with this – but it means work!

Let’s get to it –

So, are you ready for the weekend? Memorial Day BBQ? Lots of (I hope) dips and chips? Potato salad? Ice cream? Can you resist it?

Resisting that second helping of something (usually carbos, yeah? I mean, who wants another serving of eggplant?) is either an act of your will, your mind, or your emotions – or it can come from habit. Happily, you can train all of these.

Today’s workout, combining lots of starts and stops, invokes this kind of training. The format requires frequent, albeit short, rest periods, which obviously means it requires frequent re-start of the work – which means you have to find it somewhere in your soul to fire it up again!

The protocol involved is a simple but mightily effective way to train your mind, will, and emotions to stay under their own mutual control.

Today’s Workout

Disclaimer – you should consult a physician before starting any exercise program. This workout is for information purposes only. All problematic results arising out of anyone’s using this information including but not limited to any injuries or damages are the responsibility of the user. No warranty is given, no results guaranteed.

Here’s what to do.

1. First, download and print out the “20/10 X 8” workout template from my website. It’s a hidden page in a section reserved for clients, but email me know if you have trouble downloading it and I’ll send you a pdf.

2. Next, use the formula provided to compute your Heart Rate Max, your 60% HR Max, and your 80% HR Max. (The reasons for this are found below.)

3. Then write these in the “EXERCISES” section:

1. Squat Jumps
2. Jumping Jacks
3. Mountain Climbers
4. Walking Lunges
5. Total Body Extensions

(Hark! If you are not familiar with any of these you can find them on the net, or substitute one of your own. The main thing you are looking for is any large-muscle multi-joint movement.) (That is, none of those sissy curls with the pink one-pound dumbbells, please.)

4. The timing protocol is what makes this work. You will do each exercise for 20 seconds, take a 10 second rest, then do it again for 20 seconds for a total of 8 sets. Keep a count of how many repetitions you do in each 20 second period.

(You can use any timing device, but I suggest you download the free GymBoss app.) Set it up for eight intervals of 20 seconds and 10 seconds.)

At the end of each 20 seconds of work, write the number of repetitions you scored. Sooner than you want it to, the next 20 seconds of work will start.

5. At the end of the eight 20/10 intervals (four minutes total) you get a one minute recovery period. During that time take your heart rate for 15 seconds and write it in the “15 sec HR” column.

For this protocol, you want your HR to be within the 60 to 80% range. If you’re over that, slow down. If you’re under, hit the next set harder!

6. In the remaining 45 seconds don’t think about what you just did. Focus on the next exercise. Think about the benefits of increasing your endurance, your cardio-pulmonary fitness, and your strength. Think about how great it feels to wake that Warrior within you!

You are building willpower here, through using your mind to control your emotions. You are building the habit of starting over. You are building the habit of staying in the fight. You are building the habit of finishing strong.

Focus, focus, focus!

When the timer goes off hit the second exercise hard.

Again, write your reps and your ending heart rate at the start of the one-minute recovery period.

7. Repeat this for all five exercises. (The sixth slot is for your own use, once you get stronger in this protocol).

8. At the end of all the exercises, circle your lowest number of reps for each exercise and write it in the space provided. Then put a box around your highest reps and write that down as well.

9. Then take your average 15-second heart rate and multiply that by 4 to get your average HR for the workout.

This gives you three baselines to compare to the next time you do this.

So, what’s going on here?

First off, let’s look at the 60-80% heart rate. The reason for that is – hormones! Here’s why.

Workouts produce stress, yeah? A good stress, but stress nonetheless. When you perceive that stress as a challenge, you release the hormone noradrenaline, commonly called the “fight” hormone. (Righto, one step away from adrenaline!) This sweet little chemical makes your blood vessels constrict to pump your blood with higher pressure, so you can do more movement. By the way, I’m assuming that’s why you can do more reps at the end of the set.

(As an aside, after certain conditions are met, we do this at 80-100% of your HR Max. That produces adrenaline – but that’s a separate story.)

Next, consider this. You are learning to push yourself in small increments. In the 25 minutes of the workout you will have had to start up 40 times – on schedule, no matter how tired you feel. You will have to push yourself in the presence of ever-increasing fatigue. You will have to bring your mind back from whatever distress you are feeling as you write down the number of reps.

If you push yourself, you will find that you are summoning inner strengths you did not know you had.

At the end of the full workout – if you push – you’ll find that your mind, will and emotions are stronger than when you started.

And here’s a funny thing that happens every time I do this protocol myself (which is weekly, with different exercises, of course) or when I do it with clients. Most of the time the number of reps is higher in the seventh or eighth set than it was in the first or second. When you see this on your own sheet it shows you that your mind, will, and emotions are controlling your body – what a glorious outcome!

Congrats! You’ve awoken the Warrior Within!

No recipe this week –
First of all, this newsletter got kinda long. Second of all, who needs a recipe when you’ve got all that stuff prepared for Memorial Day!

God love the those who now serve, those who did serve, and may God especially bless the families of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

May our nation be ever grateful, may their names be hallowed forever, and may their families be comforted.

About Tom Schweickert

Tom Schweickert, EA, CPC, CPT brings a unique combination as a Life Coach, Personal Trainer and Money Coach to help folks negotiate these interesting times.
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