Friday, January 12, 2007

The Ten Day Wall

Last night, I did my day ten workout in Body for Life. Hopefully, this is a good sign for my eventual success.

I mentioned the "New Year's Resolutionists" in my last post, referring to the vast crowd that begins and exercise program on January 2nd. Well, I don't have official numbers to back any of this up, but there are three critical milestones in a New Year's workout plan. There is a whole crowd that drops out after one workout. Yes, I'm not kidding. One. They frantically re-arrange their schedule, maybe even shell out the big bucks on a contract at a gym, go one time, and quit. There is a subset of this group that gets a treadmill or elliptical for Christmas and sets it up in the main room of the house, maybe right in front of the television. This new exercise wonder gets used once or twice. Then a week goes by. Then a month goes by. And something gets stacked on top of it, or it gets moved to a corner. Within a year, it's in the basement, or the garage, or is being used as a planter.

Then there's the one week crowd. They start on Tuesday after New Year's day. They make it to the next Tuesday. They've worked out hard for an entire week. They get on the scale for the one week weigh in. They must have lost ten pounds, maybe fifteen. They look down at the display. Zero. Nada. Niente. "This exercise stuff is bogus," they mutter as they shove their new elliptical in the corner of the garage next to last year's treadmill and the ten year old exercise bike that's being used as a planter.

So, if one makes it past the one week barrier, what could possibly stand in one's way. How about the ten day wall. "But, we've made it through a week," you say, wringing your hands with anxiety. "Why would we quit at ten days?" I didn't invent the human Psyche
, I just observe it. So what is it about ten? Does the extra digit intimidate us? Is it our inherent need to fit everything into the base ten numbering system (even though the natural world and virtual world alike all run in binary)? Who knows? All I know is that by January 12th, most of the New Year's Resolutionists have fallen on the swords of their good intentions and have been carried from the battlefield, to be seen no more (at least until January 2nd of next year).

But I'm now past day ten and I'm darn close to the all-important twelth workout. Psychologists have determined that it takes an average of twelve repetitions of an action for the human mind to form a habit around it. So, at twelve workouts, you've hurdled past the ten day wall and you've reached the point where exercise is something of a habit. And it's clear sailing until the one month moat. Just kidding, although the inimitable Skwigg (check out her blog on fitness and general madness) refers to something known as the "four week freakout".

So, for the record, my last weigh in, on Tuesday, showed that I had lost a pound. This isn't statistically significant (yet), but at least the trend is in the right direction. I feel more energetic, although I did sneak in a short nap after work last night. I finished my week one video diary. I don't have a link to it yet. I shot some video clips for week two, which I plan to assemble into a coherent something-or-other over the weekend.

I had a good workout last night. I even surprised myself by going up in weight on some things I didn't expect to. More later. Ciao.

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