A few years ago, a couple of young dudes I trained with (Muay Thai), wanted to do some extra conditioning work. I offered to take them on a run up Puke Hill on the weekends. After a few nervous side-glances, both of them asked, “Why is it called Puke Hill?” After striking a suitably melodramatic pose, I just smiled and then walked away.
When they finally got to do the run, I noticed three distinct changes to the way they normally trained:
- Intensity – It was the hardest I’d seen either of them train.
- Team-work – When one of them almost gave up, the other one slowed down and ran beside his friend–helping him to complete the last set of sprints.
- Accomplishment – After the run, neither whined or complained. In fact, despite their exhaustion, both had shit-eating grins plastered across their ugly faces.
Of course Puke Hill is just a hill. Sure it was steep, and using it for interval-sprints was quite challenging, but what hill sprints aren’t challenging? So here’s the point of my story: I believe that by simply giving the run a name, my two padawans trained harder, worked together better, and gained a greater sense of individual and shared achievement.
Names can change our perceptions, motivations and actions.
When it comes to training, names can be used to help squeeze every last ounce of punishing-goodness from our workouts. It’s so easy to fall into a rut when we train. Each workout starts to melt into the next one. Until pretty soon months have passed and we haven’t achieved the gains we would’ve liked. Sound familiar?
I’ve found that naming workout programs helps me stay focused, keeps the intensity-levels up, and promotes better cooperation and shared motivation with those I train with. Sure I could do a nameless three-week weights program to try and get stronger. But why would I do that when I could improve my results by simply calling it, “Personal Best or Death“? 🙂
I’m not saying that by naming your workout you’ll magically get leaner, stronger or whatever you’re trying to achieve. But it can certainly provide that extra motivation that’s needed to get everything possible out of your workout.
So let me conclude with a few helpful hints . . .
I’ve found three good sources of inspiration for coming up with killer workout names–Eighties death metal bands (their lyrics and album names are an endless source of cheesy-macho-goodness), Chinese kung-fu movie dialogue (the shittier the plot and translation, the better the workout title) and, of course, ANYTHING THAT COMES OUT OF MR T’s MOUTH (His words are gold! Gold I tell you!). So let me know if your “Get Some Nuts“, “Quit your Jibba-Jabba” and “Meet my Friend Pain” workouts end up being as good as they sound 🙂