Have you ever heard the phrase, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going?” Do you ever feel like when the going gets tough…you just can’t keep going?
As I watched the CrossFit Games Athletes this weekend I realized the top athletes just don’t quit. They don’t walk, they don’t stop they just keep going. One could say they have a ‘engine’ on them, and that, they do.
A fitness engine is your inner-drive, the level at which you can just keep going and going without stopping. Your fitness engine is 2/3’s mental and 1/3 physical.
Everyone has an engine, but not all people have a well-developed engine. You could say your engine is rather new, or that it never went through the proper break-in period.
Today, we will talk about how to break-in your fitness engine. You can’t go from zero to hero overnight, but you can get better everyday!
What is a break-in?
Break-in or breaking in, is the procedure of conditioning your body by giving it an initial period of running, usually under light load, but sometimes under heavy load or normal load. It is generally a process of moving muscles and increasing your heart to produce an adaptation that will settle them into a stable relationship for the rest of their working life.
The goal of a fitness engine break-in is the relationship between the mind and body when it comes to prolonged, or intense, exercise. The body sends signals to the mind informing it that it may be overloaded or task-saturated, thus resulting in stopping exercise movement. If the body is stressed too quickly it will immediately go into an alarm phase.
During the alarm phase of exercise the body is not use to moving quickly or sweating. The body is unaware of what is happening and will initially tell the brain this needs to stop. The goal is going past this point where the brain and body work in unison to a prolonged, or intense workout.
There are important preparations that must be made before the actual process of a fitness engine break-in can occur.
- The break-in can take place in a garage, a commercial gym or outdoors.
- Each engine should be well-hydrated and on a proper diet before breaking in a fitness engine.
There are two ways to perform a fitness engine break-in. You can run the fitness engine slowly or quickly to initiate the process. Those who are not accustomed to exercise or may be new to an exercise routine should take the slow approach and slowly build the fitness engine. Those who are in pretty good shape, but are just lacking in mental capacity, need to break-in their engine in a quick and intense way. The following are examples of how the two processes can be carried out:
Option 1: The Tortoise Method – Slow and steady
Heart rate will be around 70-80% of your max heart rate, walk, run or jog for about half an hour while monitoring your heart rate and overall ‘feel” of the movement. If you don’t know your max heart rate you can just take 220 and subtract your age (not he most accurate, but it works for now). Like any form of exercise be safe and listen to your body, so as to not overdo it. You will walk, run or jog at this pace for an indefinite time period (weeks or months).
You will record: your first distance achieved, your average heart rate and how long it takes for your heart rate to get back to its resting state after the workout (most important). Once your distance achieved is far greater than your first distance achieved, your heart rate is lower than the first attempt and your resting heart rate comes at a much quicker rate you are ready to move on.
After this initial step, run in varying speeds on a track by sprinting at max effort for 30 seconds on and 30 seconds off to see how your engine is improving. You should be able to handle the new load and move on to more intense exercise.
Option 2: The Blitzkrieg Method – Lightning War
For this method you will attempt to find your maximum heart rate. A well-conditioned athlete (the only ones who should attempt option 2) may have a much different max heart rate then the old 220 – age formula. You will find your maximum heart rate by running bleachers at your absolute maximum effort until you feel like you just ABSOLUTELY cannot take it anymore. Immediately record your heart rate or refer to your heart rate monitor to see maximum heart rate achieved.
After the maximum heart rate test is performed you will run your fitness engine for about 20 minutes while monitoring your heart rate, and you will keep your heart rate at 80-90% of it’s maximum. The goal is to stay in this heart rate zone. This will develop your fitness engine. No more guessing if you are pushing yourself or developing your engine.
- Be sure you are well hydrated and have had a proper meal before performing either break-in procedure.
You will perform these workouts 2-3 times per week until you full understand how your body responds and adapts to the alarm phase of exercise. You then may move to frequent prolonged and intense exercise with the mental toughness to never quit a workout.
**A high power setting is relative to the fitness engine (person), so fewer sessions per week may be necessary if a person has less developed fitness engine – or you should refer to option one if you are unsure AT ALL if you could handle option 2.
The following are consequences of a bad fitness engine break-in:
- Water will be allowed to escape too quickly from the body without being properly replenished, and the subject will become dehydrated.
- Improper warm-up or knowledge of ones body may result in a injury, strain or painful exercise.
- Unsuccessfully breaking-in your fitness engine will result in quitting workouts, ending workouts with the knowledge that one could have performed at a higher level or a complete lack of adaption to the alarm phase of exercise.
Good luck with your fitness engine break-in’s!! If you have any questions hit me up in the comments!
If you know anyone who is in the need of a good fitness engine break-in PLEASE share this post!