The 1000 Rep Month: Day 22

The Grounded Man is in town and he’s been practicing Wim Hof breathing*, so inevitably that has made its way into today’s 50 rep workout. We did 50 hyperventilated breaths, followed by 50 pushups during a breath hold.

Temperature wise, I wanted to see if the Wim Hof technique really did make me more resilient to the cold. I had my coat off but I can’t claim to have felt any of the “warming” effects others have reported when doing Wim Hof breathing… but then again I’m not yet familiar enough with the technique to be confident that I was doing it properly. I’ve also been a big puss since the cold weather’s arrived and my showers have been steamy hot (instead of ice cold), so there won’t be a whole lot of brown fat available in my body for that magical heat boost. (Apparently cold exposure builds brown fat, and brown fat is burned for heat, allowing a person to better withstand the cold.)

An odd thing is beginning to happen with these workouts. My brain is no longer as aware of doing them, and I don’t seem to remember the workouts as clearly once they’re over. Except for having a video to refer to, I’m apt to forget whether I’ve worked out at all that day.

I remember this same “selective amnesia” happening when I was first learning to drive. At first the act of driving was vivid and stimulating, and then after a few weeks of it I realized that I was doing everything without being all that aware of it. I was driving without thinking about driving, and sometimes I’d arrive at my destination with the somewhat jarring realization that I didn’t remember much of the trip at all. Apparently, my brain no longer found the act of driving remarkable enough to remember. Over time, I suppose most of those conscious motions had been passed into my subconscious, and my conscious attention was then free enough to notice the difference.

Maybe you remember this same sensation with driving becoming automatic, or with another activity that had become engrained through repetition. Either way, I think it’s probably advantageous to become more automatic in doing things you want to do more of (like working out) because automatic behaviour starts to reduce reliance upon motivation and willpower. I’ve definitely had my share of low motivation/willpower days, so I’m seeing how brute repetition can get me to automatically do shit I otherwise would struggle to do with any consistency.

In other words, I’m starting to form a habit.

* Hyperventilating like this before a breath hold can make you black out because it suppresses your gasp reflex. So everything seems like it’s going fine, then you wake up on the floor. Never attempt Wim Hof breathing unless you’re in a place you can afford to suddenly become unconscious.

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