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Setting The Baseline


I walk into the door of my apartment after spending the past thirteen hours in a suit. Unlike most of my friends in the blogosphere, I still have a job. And I don’t plan on changing that for a long time, but that’s a story for another day.

I really want to get a workout in, but I only have around half an hour with the list of action items I have to wrap up tonight before going out of town this weekend.

I have a great idea. Why not try and complete all of my physical challenges tonight? I get excited at the ridiculousness of trying to max out on four bodyweight exercises. Let’s do this.

I jog the 0.6 miles barefoot to the local YMCA. Well, . The jog to the gym in the dark is one of my favorite moments of the day. I feel alive, a little scared, excited for what’s ahead, totally present in the moment, at peace. No one out here but me and the asphalt.

The girl at the front desk knows me now by HRO. I used to spell out my last name to check in every time, but tonight she just smiles and says, “Yep, gotcha. HRO.”

Walking down the stairs to the weight room is another favorite moment of the day. I imagine myself walking into the Colosseum. Or the Octagon. Or on stage. My peripheral vision starts to go and I hyperfocus on what’s in front of me. In the gym I’m less than human. I don’t talk to anyone. I don’t ever take out my headphones. I don’t even notice what people’s faces look like. A clown on a unicycle could ride in right now and I wouldn’t notice him. It’s just me and the work ahead.

First up, handstand pushups. All the way up, all the way down. I manage to do 7 before finding myself in an unintentional headstand. A new record, but then again I’ve never tried more than two or three and the last time I did them was in the streets of Portland at 2am with Leo, Steve, Joel, Alan and Mark. A quick rest and over to the pull-up bar.

15…16… 17. Seventeen pull-ups, not my best and not even half of my goal. I tell myself, “Remember, you’re just setting a baseline. No need to kill yourself.” Tonight at least.

I walk over to the corner to start doing pushups (Funny how pushups has no hyphen and pull-ups does). The first 30 fly by but then I abruptly stop at 35. I think that’s the most I’ve ever done. 100 is going to be brutal.

Last up, bodyweight squats. I set up a bench so I barely touch the end of it on each squat. The first 20 go by pretty quickly. The second 20 as well. The next twenty go by a lot slower and I stop at 60. 200 is going to be devastating. I’m looking forward to that day.

Four exercises to failure, a handful of core exercises, some light stretching, and I’m out.

Final stats
Handstand pushups: 7
Pull-ups: 17
Pushups: 35
Squats: 60

Handstand pushups: 20
Pull-ups: 40
Pushups: 100
Squats: 200

Oh joy, this is going to be fun.


Total activity: Jog to the gym, warm-up, workout, core work, light stretching, and jog back home.

Total time: Less than half an hour.

And who says there’s no time to work out?

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