Updated: Jan 3, 2019
It’s getting on towards the new year now (35 days to go at the time of writing), and for many of us, that means New Year’s Resolutions. Some of us might even think we’ll keep them, with a Hope-Springs-Eternal-Every-Day-In-Every-Way-Better-And-Better Positivism.
But let’s be honest. We start out with the very best intentions but… January is a bleak part of the year in much of our small planet’s Northern Hemisphere, and it’s difficult to carry out Grand Plans for self-transformation when the weather is crap, colds, flu, and other Winter ailments have everyone around you feeling like crap, work is crap, there are no more major holidays or time off for a while, and it may well be that all that you can see before you is a barren 3-month long emotional wasteland of paying down holiday debt, eating celery and that gluten-free sawdust stuff everyone says is so good for a flat stomach, before even the faintest hint of Spring arrives to lighten your stony, demoralised little heart.
It’s genuinely difficult to start up an exercise regime when the weather is more inclement than not, too. It’s not entirely your woefully weak will that finally makes you jump off that wagon, with a sigh of mixed resignation and relief, sometime during the third week of January. I’ve seen it firsthand, year after year. I used to work as a lifeguard and a swimming instructor, and every January, the pool would be chock-full of well-intentioned night swimmers, clocking in after work hours to swim and get fit…
…By the middle of February, all but two or three of these enthusiastic new swimmers vanish, never to be seen again.
And here are two interesting facts that explain why sometimes our very best intentions fail.
1. It typically takes 6 — 8 weeks to form a new habit (any new habit, unless it’s some kind of highly addictive substance abuse habit). So, until you’ve carried your New Year’s resolution through to at least the middle of February, you’re still on probation.
2. Taking up a new habit or starting a new regime with enthusiasm can take a heavy psychological toll, especially in the first 6 — 8 weeks, if our initial enthusiasm is greater than our ability (physical or mental) to carry out said regime. In other words, when crafting your amazing transformation, in order to succeed, you need to set smaller, more realistic goals, and have the patience and determination to reach them.
Think of it: you sign up for a gym membership, with the intention of working out there as hard as you can every day, and getting ripped and 6-packed by the time March rolls around. After three days in a row of this, your muscles ache, your whole body feels inflamed, and you’re having difficulty wiping your own arse without half your body feeling like it’s on fire from the effort of movement. So you skip a day (of exercise, not wiping your arse, hopefully)… maybe four. Maybe a week…. you get the picture.
The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak. And the physical setback of your over-enthusiastic start takes a psychological toll: you suddenly feel that you won’t be an amazing chick (or dude) magnet by March. And, well, that beer in the fridge isn’t going to drink itself, either. And who eats celery and sawdust with beer? It was a nice thought, but a bad idea…
… and anyway, it takes up too much time, right?
Enter MC Jizzy’s Amazing One-Punch Man Exercise Regime.
I don’t care who knows it. I love Saitama. And as I was thinking hard recently about what kind of exercise regime I could incorporate into my days now that my swimming season is kind of over for the year, I thought about the wonderful “reveal” in the House of Evolution, about Saitama’s exercise routine:
“100 Push-ups, 100 sit-ups, 100 squats, and a ten kilometre run every single day!”
Well, after an injury (and heavy metal poisoning) several years ago, I was sadly no longer anywhere near as fit as that. And I’m well aware that starting out trying to do something that’s physically too demanding will either re-injure my injury, or make me give up.
Then I remembered the Youtube video of the push-up girl who was sick of having a scrawny physique. And my mind connected the two.
So here’s the amazing regime (suitable for anyone without serious health issues that would prevent them from performing these exercises correctly or without danger — if you’re not sure, consult a physician: this is your responsibility, not mine):
On day one, start with one push-up, one sit up and one squat. It doesn’t matter if you can do more, or how pointless and silly it feels. Start with one. And make a note of it somewhere. There. you’re done for the day. Less than a minute. A few seconds, really. Rope a friend into doing it with you, at very least to keep you both motivated, and to hold each other’s feet and count.
On day two, you do two of each, and make a note of it, so you don’t forget where you are. And so on, adding one — and only one — rep to each exercise each day.
Very soon, you’ll be looking forward to small milestones (oooh! Up to 25 on Friday!), and you’ll notice that you have more energy. Depending on how fit you are to begin with, you’ll start to see small, subtle changes in your strength and overall body tone.
As your days (and reps) climb up, take rests as you need them (This is a form of HIIT training — high intensity intervals with rest, shown to burn more fat than ordinary “BRAAAAAW! Power through the burn!” style training, if you also happen to be trying to lose weight with a healthy eating regime. Just be aware that building muscle and losing fat require slightly different diet styles, though kelp can form a healthy part of them both). Concentrate on your breathing, and rest when you feel your heart rate getting up there. Push yourself between rests, but not so hard you feel wrecked and totally out of breath.
Because you’re only adding one rep each day, it’s never impossible to do more the next day. It’s only one more. The psychological barrier to continuing is essentially removed, because you’re really only doing what you already know you can do. If you find you’re struggling a little more than you think you should at a certain point, repeat a day (or more) with the same number if you need to, until adding one more feels manageable again. There’s no rush, and no shame in taking the time you need to succeed.
Do this for 50 (or more) days. If you’ve managed to make it this far, you’ve now also formed the exercise habit you’ll need to continue. And it wasn’t even much of a struggle! This is because your daily “goal” is only one more. And you have easily achievable milestones every step of the way that, by adding one rep each day, you achieve as a matter of course.
Once you are doing 50 reps of each exercise, add a 1 kilometre run. Keep adding one rep per day, and maintain the 1 kilometre run for a week (or more), or until it feels pretty easy. Even if it’s easy from the outset for you, start with one, and do it for a week. When you’re ready, go for a 2 kilometre run, and so on.
Assuming that you’re adding one rep each day, and one kilometre each week by this point, by the time you reach 100 reps, you’ll also be running about 7 kilometres. Keep the reps at 100, and focus on lengthening the run until you’re at 10 kilometres.
And there you go. You are now doing One Punch Man’s exercise regime.
Keep it up! (But, you know… try and keep your hair, if you’ve got any) and you, too, will be amazing! You now have a good foundation for physical fitness.
From here, you can take it in whatever direction you want. Enter a 10K race, add cycling and swimming and go for a Sprint Triathlon… or just keep going as you are to keep fit, whatever what works for you, and whatever your next goal is, remember the methods you lerned doing this, and build up from there.. Just try not to punch anyone through a mountain. The integrity of the planet’s terrain is kind of important. (By the way, as a kind of aside, our album Raving Masses actually pairs really well with exercise...and gaming. And it should be coming to Spotify, etc., this week, hopefully. Please do check it out.)
I wish you good health, good fortune, strength and patience as we approach the New Year. Watch out for mosquitoes!
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