With time, it's now obvious to me that Hell Night needs to evolve into something else. A more personal battle.
It's been over 20 weeks since the first Hell Night in Leicester and on Wednesday of this weeek we tried something different. The idea I had was to take each individual's personal weaknesses in to account and suggest that each person focus on that weakness.
Hell Night was an essential programme to condition my body and mind to a higher standard. I'm stronger and faster than I've ever been and my body fat percentage has dropped. But I have to admit I was perhaps being a little selfish by shaping the exercises around my personal goals of increased upper body strength and power.
Since most people have much stronger legs than they have arms anyway, everyone was happy with the program and saw results. Fast.
But after 20 weeks of conditioning, all of the people who weren't mentally tough enough to push through the pain barriers, keep going when they could hardly breathe and do that one final rep when it felt like their heads would explode have stopped coming. We're now left with the hardcore warriors who know what it means to work hard to achieve results and have a great mindset to make the most of those 4 hours.
So I think it's only now with almost 6 months of experience that we're all ready to step away from the group element and focus on training in the areas we each need to improve on individually. For example, on Wednesday I spent 4 hours doing pushups, muscle ups, dips, cat crawling, climbups, shimmying across sharp ledges and running on my own because at the time my upper body felt strong and I wanted to break it down and test it's ability to heal. The next day I had only minor stiffness in my shoulders and today I'll be training one armed negative chin ups and pull ups. Next Wednesday I'll work the various leg muscles for 4 hours.
I think in the old programme, a major motivator to keep going was to see the man in front and the man behind sweating and suffering the same pain as you so it was a test to push myself just as hard when I knew it was just me suffering in that particular exercise. But afterwards we all got together again and agreed it was a brilliant session and people were happy they could work on their weaknesses. Nobody had trouble driving themselves as hard as usual.
We had tested the idea of not using the group for support before when on a couple of occassions we completed the 4 hours in total silence without bellowing "COME ON, KEEP PUSHING" or "AAAAAAAAARGH!" every few minutes (hahahaha) but this was a bigger step.
I think it takes a very disciplined person to exercise and push themselves for 4 hours with no encouragement so if you've recently started your own Hell Nights in your area then I would suggest continuing with the group training and supporting each other in a general body strengthening programme until the minds and bodies are collectively strong enough and just need some refinement in certain areas. When you get to that stage (I would recommend 20 weeks as it seemed like a natural time for us) then look into what your weaknesses are and focus on them without relying on your unit for support.
Hope you all have a great weekend, I'm in the mood to train arm jumps galore! I'm hoping there's gale force winds and heavy rain so I can drill the jumps I'm comfortable with in harsh conditions.