Just movement. All of it… turning, walking, reaching, stepping. It’s a microwave-steamed frozen veggie and a let’s see what’s in the freezer night.
The cause of all this suffering is 60 minutes of my day that is called “STAMINA”. Atomic Athlete kicks my ass. (And not just the cardio I-sweat-and-had-my-heart-rate-up, but the real kind of ass-kicking that you know what you are getting into when coach gives you a pep talk at the beginning of class. You know the suck is coming and your muscles will ache and you will want to quit.
But NO. [Insert positive affirmation here]
I do not quit. I am strong.
My coaches talk about our stamina sessions developing our mental fitness. Only 2 out of the 11 week training cycle are devoted strictly to stamina, and I look forward to them with the reluctance I usually devote to Monday mornings.
So the day starts out with a 2000 meter run. Since my toe is still hurting from a flag football injury I am doing step ups or riding the stationary bike instead. This is just the beginning. The real workout is yet to come.
It’s a 15 to 1 countdown. 15 rounds, starting with 15, subtracting a rep every round. 15, then 14, then 13, all the way to 1. You get the picture.
The challenge is mental toughness and keeping a steady grind. You do NOT stop working in this 60 minutes, so get ready. Fortitude and perserverence. Coach says that you need to be a professional inside the gym and now that you’ve shown up, it’s time to do the work.
Sandbag squats. Scotty bobs. Russian triangles. Kettlebell swings. Side to side hop ups (I really don’t know what to call them, but they suck) where you jump from the left side to the top of a bench, and jump down to the right. 15. 15. 15. 15. 15 each side.
Took a few breaks on those scotty bobs.
And on the hop ups too… those will take the breath right out of you.
Now 14. Oh shit I’m sweating and out of breath and I’m only on 14? Coach is yelling in the background; pride and compliments for good reps and game faces, demanding better performance when weakness and fatigue are shown. The words “good job Dena, very strong” resonate deeply within and overshadow feelings of doubt, laziness, and fear and I keep pushing.
11 reps and you’re halfway there. On the knees for the scotty bobs, but I’m still pumping out the squats and kettlebell swings unbroken. The urge to quit dissipates as you see the sweat dripping down your classmate’s brow and you know they are suffering just as much as you. I feel like I’m dying, have to puke, and like passing out all at the same time. But I need to get this done first. Coach yells to get right back on it, the slower you move the harder you make it for yourself.
7 and you’re three quarters. Getting the hop ups done unbroken now. Still chucking that 40 pound sandbag over my head to do those damn squats. The drive to fight through the suck and the pain swells… and the need to finish and churn out the last few rounds grows like a coal fueled fire on a train. Fixated now on the finish, and the down hill. No rest in between, just grinding it out. Coach says to finish strong and to gain intensity on the last few rounds.
You right coach, you right.
I finished with about 9 minutes of class left and split the time doing step ups and riding on the stationary bike. A good push in the last minute on the bike, and then done. Son of a biscuit eating bulldog.
I headed outside to catch my breath but was greeted by the choking wetness of the humid summer air. It had rained during our workout, and I barely even noticed. There lay comfort in the fact that we were all exhausted and drenched with sweat, each moving slowly and barely speaking.
Now that’s putting in work.
Why do they put us through this misery? To develop aerobic capacity, shorten our recovery time, train our bodies to handle more, and strengthen the mind. I get it. I know its good for me. But oh it hurts.
If you liked this blog you might enjoy this one. I am in love. With my gym, Atomic Athlete.
What do you LOVE to HATE?
How often do you train aerobic capacity?
What motivates you to push through fatigue?