Workout of the Day

The Water Never Gets Warmer

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A few years ago I started incorporating cold exposure into my health/recovery regimen via cold showers. If you’ve even undertaken this endeavor, you’ll understand the shock you feel the first few times you trepidatiously shuffle under the icy stream. Muscles tighten, you gasp, resist your body’s natural inclination to step away or turn up the heat, perhaps begin to hyperventilate and shiver. It’s shocking, in the truest sense of the word. For the first few weeks of introducing cold showers, every shower started this way -- shock, gasp, hurry through the shower to get back to comfort and warmth.

Around a month into this daily cold exposure, though, and the experience began to change. The shock of the cold water was less extreme, breathing was more controlled, muscles were more relaxed, and I more quickly became comfortable in the cold. Roughly two months into daily cold showers and the uncontrollable shock was nearly non-existent. The same icy water that left me gasping two months prior was an exhilarating and manageable cool. But the water was the same temperature. It had not changed, I had.

People often miss this distinction in training. The focus is on “when will it get easier?” and not on “when will I get better?” And while these both yield the same subjective result (i.e., rowing a 2k in 8 minutes can be completed with less physiological stress), it is important to distinguish that it has not changed at all. A 2k row is still a 2k row. A 315lb barbell is still a 315lb barbell. And yes, you’re probably saying, of course it is -- that’s an asinine distinction. But when we begin to reframe our understanding of what is changing, our mindset shifts, our direction of energy shifts. You are the object of change. Nothing that you do will be changed by your efforts; but your own conditions, capacities, and relation to a given task will change. Don’t expect the water to get warmer or the weights to get lighter, expect yourself to get better.

- PS


6/29/17

  • Strict ring rows - 4x max (90s rest)

  • 12 min AMRAP

    • 6 deadlifts (225/155)

    • 9 burpees over bar