Week 2 - Day 8: Fatigue Training

January 21, 2020

These are things that can be added to any current fitness routine, whether you are performing the 21-Day Mindset Challenge , or continuing your own fitness program. We are going to combine your mental toughness capacity with exercise to see how you handle it.


Let's jump right in!


Who said micromanagement was a bad thing?


You've probably had the micromanager boss. You know, the guy who tries to control everything, no matter how large or small. Well, at work, it may be a bad thing. In mental toughness and fitness, we are going to be complete micromanagers.


There are two things we are going to start, today, actively controlling in every workout:


1. Breathing


2. Muscle Relaxation


Practicing these two tips is great for performing exercise in an efficient and effective way, as they are pretty common. But the behind the scenes Challenge reason for doing the two tips is to get our minds off of "THE SUCK" and onto something else. The less time you waste using brainpower on feeling sorry for yourself, the more time you can use it on becoming a mental toughness practitioner.






If you are not careful, your breathing can get really out of sync with your body, and this lack of rhythm can cause mild panic in which your brain gives you a huge - STOP HERE.  You need to start focusing on your breathing. If your breathing gets really out of whack and you are not getting enough oxygen, your brain will stop your body. Now, it would have to be pretty dramatic for your brain to shut your body down, and we do not expect to see that happen during any workout, but you have to focus on what you can control.


What you can control is your breathing tempo. You may have a relatively paced respiratory tempo or a very fast respiratory tempo based on the type of exercise you are performing and intensity level. Either way, focus on the ins and the outs. Be in control of your breathing, don't let it control you.


That is all you need to practice; voluntary control of your breathing. I am not going to give you a tempo to breathe at because that is too exercise-dependent. Also, I won't say in through the nose out through the mouth crap either because we know that will fly right out the window when things start to pick up. So make it easy.


Control your breathing.


Next up:


Muscle Relaxation.


How can your muscles be relaxed during exercise? All I want you to do here is relax your face. Everyone has some sort of workout grimace, but we are going to try and minimize this. It wastes energy and puts your mind in the wrong place. Relax your face!


Let's keep our energy expenditures in the right place, which is not your face. The next time you work out really focus on this.


Today, you become a micromanager. You are going to actively think about controlling your breathing and relaxing your face. As stated, your focus alone, on these two aspects will put your mind in a different place, and not thinking about how bad a workout may be. Not to mention the actual benefit of saving your energy.




Today, is day one of your training.


These workouts are not meant to be too taxing, but they are still very challenging.


The goal for phase two is to take a drill, primarily physical, and couple it with a mental toughness tactic.


Tactic + Exercise (Workout) = More Efficient Training


Today is fatigue training.


We are going to fatigue the body. While fatiguing the body, we are going to apply the principle of energy management. We will then go one step further to challenge your mental capacity during the physical demand, by making you recall what you memorized in day 3. If you want more info, read more about "Why Fatigue Training?" below the listed exercise.


Fatigue Training, what you'll need:




-Enough space for burpees

-15 minutes


What to practice


-Energy Management

-Controlled Breathing

-Muscle Relaxation



Don't lower your intensity in an attempt to write your passage correctly.


Be intense! As many burpees as possible in the given time frame.


FOCUS on controlling your breathing and relaxing your muscles, don't let your mind drift to what you memorized during the burpees. Only be thinking about controlling your breathing and relaxing your muscles.


For 5 minutes perform the following...


30 seconds of Burpees

Rest for 30 seconds


IMMEDIATELY after the 5 minutes, write what you memorized in day three. You only have 60 seconds to write all, or as much as you can, of the passage you memorized.


For 4 minutes perform the following...


40 seconds of Burpees

Rest for 20 seconds


IMMEDIATELY after the 4 minutes, write what you memorized in day three. You only have 60 seconds to write all, or as much as you can, of the passage you memorized.


For 3 minutes perform the following...


50 seconds of Burpees

Rest for 10 seconds


IMMEDIATELY after the 3 minutes, write what you memorized in day three. You only have 60 seconds to write all, or as much as you can, of the passage you memorized.


You're done!! How was that?


Remember, this is mental training. A mental workout. It is not graded, there is no pass or fail. It does not matter if you were too winded to write anything at all, or if you wrote the passage perfectly each and every single time.


We are putting in the mental reps here.





Why Fatigue Training?


First, During the physical activity you need to completely block out the "what's coming" a.k.a your memorization drill. Your natural response is to think about what is coming and how you will perform. However, if you can completely eliminate that looming distraction while also managing your energy by controlling your breathing and relaxing your muscles, you are on your way to the zone. You are on your way to complete mental toughness.


Second, there is a chemical in the brain called neuropeptide-Y (NPY). NPY is an amino acid produced by our bodies, which helps regulate blood pressure, appetite, learning, and memory.  It also works as a tranquilizer, controlling anxiety and lowering the effects of stress hormones like adrenaline. It helps block alarm and fear responses and keeps the frontal lobe working while stressed.


This research comes from Dr. Andy Morgan of Yale Medical School. Dr. Morgan's research on enhancing cognitive performance under stress in special operations personnel has been crucial to understating the physical/mental stress response. And while there is no hard proof, this research has led to statistical and anecdotal evidence that your stress coping ability can be enhanced during stressful physical training. 


Dr. Morgan calls it "stress inoculation." One of the physical ways is to design your workouts so you get significantly tired and winded (physically stressed) and then do some form of creative thinking, math or writing.


In this challenge, we have done our best to base this workout off of his research.


Have a great day 8!!




Complete the fatigue training exercise


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