It’s not often that most of us can get through our metcon without taking a break at some point. But what are the best ways to get that rest, yet make sure your coach doesn’t yell at you?
Below, I list the ways to take a break, from worst to best, so you can endear yourself to the coach (and potentially avoid penalty burpees.)
“You’re not out of breath. You’re nowhere near redlining. You just don’t want to push hard today. The problem is everyone knows it.”
#1 – Sandbagging
You’re not out of breath. You’re nowhere near redlining. You just don’t want to push hard today. The problem is everyone knows it. Those dirty looks and glances you think you’re getting? Yeah, everyone knows you’re not pushing yourself today, and they feel like you cheated them. Oh, and wait, did you drop the weight down ten pounds, as well?! C’mon!
#2 – Checking the Whiteboard
You have the memory of a goldfish, or so you tell everyone as you apologetically run past five people to check the whiteboard. Along the way they’ve had to stop swinging their kettlebells to avoid hitting you in the head, and you accidentally kicked someone’s rope, as well. It’s round four of a five-round workout. You know box jumps are next. We all know you’re just stalling.
#3 – Clothing Maintenance
Everyone knows it’s not what you do, it’s how you look while doing it. And those pesky laces on your brand new inov8s (or ultra-discounted Nanos) just keep coming undone. You can’t metcon with your laces untied – that’d be dangerous. So, you pause to tie your laces, this time double knotting them. So what if your heart rate comes down. It’s safety first, right? It’s just weird that no one else has to fix their laces so much.
“There’s more chalk on your hands than in the bucket. So much so that you’ve wiped over half of it off on your clothing. Other members are just taking their chalk off the back of your shirt at this point.”
#4 – Chalking Up
Surely chalking up is legit, right? I mean, you’re chalking up so you can minimize your rest and get those darn toes-to-bar unbroken. Fewer sets, more work! But, this is the 27th time you’ve chalked up. There’s more chalk on your hands than in the bucket. So much so that you’ve wiped over half of it off on your clothing. Other members are just taking their chalk off the back of your shirt at this point.
#5 – Water
Now we’re getting to a legitimate reason to pause. You’ve got to stay hydrated. Everyone has a fundamental right to water. But, let’s make sure it’s not a three-minute sprint workout, where you could have survived without some water. Or, in a longer piece, that you spend more time drinking then clocking up rounds. And don’t even think about “forgetting” your water bottle on the other side of the gym, giving you an extra twenty seconds of rest while you walk across to get it.
#6 – Timing
“I’m working in sets of three, with strict fifteen seconds rest,” you boldly declare. No one can begrudge you now. You, my friend, are a strategic genius. “I’m not going to sprint and limp. No sir, there’ll be no blowing up for this competitive exerciser.” It’s hard to argue with you on this one, you’ve got a game plan.
Note of caution: It’s important to declare your strategy nice and early. You don’t want to be confused with number one – The Sandbagger.
“You, my friend, are a strategic genius. ‘I’m not going to sprint and limp. No sir, there’ll be no blowing up for this competitive exerciser.’ It’s hard to argue with you on this one, you’ve got a game plan.”
#7 – Fixing Equipment
Finally, we’ve hit on a strategy that no coach ever can chastise you for. Those lock-on collars are sliding up the sleeves of the gym’s new barbells. With them loose, the plates will bounce at an angle, shortening the lifespan of both the bar and plates.
A big deep breath and you pause mid-set to tighten those collars before getting (almost) straight back to it. For extra effect, I recommend a shake of the head to heighten the impression that you don’t want to stop, you have to stop, for the good of the gym.
Who could blame you for that? You were totally on course to smash the gym record and go to that dark place. But the gym is more important than one workout.
That Post-Workout Feeling
“Yeah, I could have shaved sixty seconds off except for the collars,” you recount as you swig your protein shake down in the post-workout window, hoping no one has noticed you haven’t gotten into the couch stretch yet.
Your trainer smiles at you and you glow, knowing you’re in the good books and have stolen a precious few seconds of rest that nobody can pin you down on.
How many of these types do you recognize at your gym? What other rest strategies have you seen sneakily deployed during a workout? Post your observations to comments.
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Photos courtesy of Jorge Huerta Photography.