There are times in a man’s life when he needs to give up. Quitting is the best option.
Sloppy Joe eating contest. Trying to make dub-step cool. Wearing only spandex during a workout. Telling friends that cats should eat vegan too. Wearing jerseys in public. Getting angry about comic book movies.
Quitting ain’t all that bad, ya know?
I’ve joked several times on Death to Dadbod about quitting during a workout. I say it’s a joke because I’m being funny, but it’s always at the tip of my tongue. I’m a quitter. Been this way since I quit the football team my junior year of college. If I can’t quit, then I cut corners. Maybe shorten the rep scheme. Back out of a commitment. Figure out a way to change the narrative before it happens.
Sorry, I know that took a dark turn. You didn’t come here to experience some middle-aged dude having an existential crisis. Death to Dadbod is all about laughter and fitness and fun workouts, not a time for the writer to stand on a soap box and announce his flaws.
Still here? Good. I promise to make it up to you.
This workout was a big moment in my life.
Let me say that again for the people in the back: THIS WORKOUT WAS A BIG MOMENT IN MY LIFE.
Why? Because I overcame. It’s been so long since I’ve felt the rush of powering through a difficult workout. My body didn’t know what to do, but my heart and soul wouldn’t let me stop. The thoughts that were swimming in my head were a mixture of self-encouragement and self-loathing.
I’m not trying to hype this up, but this workout meant more to me than a simple 30-minute sweat sesh in the confines of my own living room. This workout was a moment.
6 rounds of:
60 Double Unders
30 Dumbbell Swings | 25 lbs
I’m doing fast feet instead of Double Unders. I don’t have a jump rope. Maybe someday, enough traffic will come to my blog posts where RPM will mail me a totally awesome rope. And some t-shirts too. Pat Barber is a master t-shirt collector and I always see him rocking the RPM gear. Now that I’m his best friend, I feel like I should begin to emulate his style.
Anyways, Fast Feet instead of Double Unders.
Wait, maybe I should explain what I mean when I say Fast Feet;
I’m going to jump off the ground about a quarter inch, back and forth. 60 times total.
There, that’s better.
I don’t want to do 15 Burpees. It’s been a long day. I’m tired. Work has taken a good turn, and I just want to go home and snuggle a baby. If I do 6 sets of 15 Burpees, I might keel over in the middle of my living room. My achy breaky heart just don’t understand Burpees.
Against my (not) better judgement, I choose to stick with 15 Burpees. Worst case, I’ll shorten it.
3… 2… 1… Go!
Fast Feet move fast. I used to be pretty good with footwork, back in my day. Still a pretty good dancer, too. These feet might be attached to an ogre, but they got some kick.
Each DB Swing goes above and over my head. I can actually see the outline of my biceps in the blacked-out TV screen. Nice little boost of confidence.
15 Burpees wasn’t ideal. The first 10 reps felt rather fine, but those last 5 made me feel bad about myself.
I instantly regret this decision.
Finished Round 1: 3:04
Fast Feet finish quick.
DB Swing goes smooth.
Burpees are slow and plodding. I regret all the decisions that led me to this point. Which is like 365×32 years of bad decisions. From eating two plates of Korean barbeque to skipping the gym for like 18 months straight. My body hates me.
I’m trying to move through these with a pace, but I feel like I’m slowing down with each rep. There is nothing that hurts on me, but my lungs and my pride. Why must I be blessed with so much pride?
Finished Round 2: 7:12
You probably already know the pattern. Fast Feet and DB Swings are smooth and efficient. I feel like a real exerciser.
Until I get to Burpees. This set is #3, and I can’t do it. I can’t finish. I can feel my body begging for me to stop and take a break. Sit down on the chair. Check your phone. Get a drink of water. GO SOMEWHERE ELSE! My face rested on the living room floor at rep 8, I was borderline heartbroken at the thought of only being halfway done.
I picked myself up and laid myself back down 7 more times. A wise man once said, “break them up into smaller sets. Like 3 sets of 5.
It’s a great idea, until I’m at about rep 10 a realize that I’ve finished 5 sets out of 18.
Cue the near emotional breakdown.
Finished Round 3: 11:45
Honestly, this workout might as well be just me doing Burpees. Why even do other things? Nothing matters when they’re coupled with this soul-crushing movement.
There’s a faint echo of someone cheering me on. My inner monologue is not only feeling torture, but I have grown a second personality to cheer myself on. What is happening in my brain?
I’m trying to get to 15, but it’s so far away. Each rep feels heavier. Each jump at the top feels like gravity is getting tired of my insubordination.
I chip away, but each rep chips away at me. There’s a tightness in my chest, I feel like I’m going to have an anxiety attack.
Sidebar: I’m not.
Finished Round 4: 16:36
This one. Man. This one really got me. I can’t really single out an emotion or a feeling, outside of misery.
That’s when it hit me: most of the pain is in my head.
I’m overthinking it. The movement isn’t THAT bad,
Okay, it is THAT BAD, but I’m making it way worse. My hatred of the workout is even worse than the workout itself.
Sidebar: I’m moving one rep at a time. Breaking each into 5 sets of three. On the third rep, I take a breath and hold back the tears. By this point, my music has turned off. Not sure why. I might have gone deaf, but I’ll be darned if I don’t keep it going.
Finished Round 5: 20:10
The last round. I don’t know if you’re a religious person, but I am. And since you’re reading my writing, it’s a great time to force you into reading about my religious experience.
When I was fully into my own personal lamentations, I heard something in the wilderness.
A voice spoke in my ear. Very faint. Sounded like it was telling me to keep going.
Nevermind that the voice sounded like an elderly Hispanic woman.
Yo no tengo abuela hispanica, comprede? (I don’t have a hispanic grandma, understand?)
I half-halfheartedly look around. No one. I take my headphones out to listen. Silence.
I’m 83 Burpees down and I’m not alone. The grandma from Coco is here, watching over me. She’s proud of me. I’m not hearing her anymore, but I know mama Coco would be proud that I did the workout right. No corners cut.
Sidebar: On my 21st birthday, I drank too much. Like, I had more shots than I had years alive. When I got back to my dorm, I puked in our shared bathroom for like 4 hours. My roommates said in between heaves – I was shouting, “Abeuloooo!”
Anyways. I collapse to my chest. Push myself up off the ground. My forearms and core are in flames. It’s not great form, but it’s good enough.
Finished Round 6: 25:04
My body rests in child’s pose. No idea how I got there, but there I am. The room is spinning. My heart is racing. Everything sucks. But I finished. Everything is going to be okay. You’re alive.
“Great job, Danial.” The voice has returned. If I weren’t so composted – it would have scared me. At this point, the voice in my head could have been the devil himself and I wouldn’t have been able to give a reaction.
Slowly, I turn my head to look mama Coco in the face.
It’s Emma. My beautiful 10-year old, very caucasian daughter, smiling at me.
She had been watching me the whole time. I never saw her, but she said she was cheering me on when my face started to look really sad.
All this pain was worth it.
But I’m not in any rush to do it again.
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