Sometimes you don’t fully appreciate the depths of a niggling problem until you live a little of your life without it. Or at least that is to say that you sample how improved something could be…which modifies your perspective on what you have been putting up with!
My new found freedom…
I had such a moment in the gym this week…
Perhaps you could liken it to the moment 21st century man invented the Oyster card allowing other humans to effortlessly bleep their way onto the tube without fumbling around in their pockets for loose change. Or that time when you realise you can copy and paste blocks of text from the Internet into your course work project without the need for monotonous copying by hand. Eureka!
Ok, so maybe this weeks breakthrough wont have quite the same level of impact on mankind and civilisation, but when it comes to finding an edge to my training I do get a little excited!
For years I have been grinding my way through gym sessions whilst semi consciously doing an intermittent dance with my headphone wires as they ping-pong back and forth across my face, chest and into my short pockets where they penetrate my sizeable iPhone. No I’m not just pleased to see you…
The amount of times I have accidently karate chopped my headphone wires whilst running on the treadmill causing my iPhone to fly off the shelf…or spent most of my efforts focussing on avoiding the scenario by half holding the wires with one hand instead of relaxing into the running style itself. This state of affairs leads to an odd one sided arm drive…not efficient for good running technique and certainly not cool!
In other scenarios I have ended up playing an imaginary game of chess with my iPhone as the only ‘chessman’ on the stretching mat whilst foam rolling tension out of my quads and ITBs. You know the sequence of events – you’re writhing around on the mat trying to find new areas of tension whilst massaging out painful spots and you end up nudging your phone out of the way across the surface whilst getting more and more tangled in your wires. At some point you’re guaranteed to foam roll over your phone and accidently email someone something you really shouldn’t have…ok that’s only happened to me once, but once is enough believe me!
There are certainly many more niggling issues, too many to list…
…yesterday I was doing the bench press and as the bar firmly pressed my chest it crushed the volume control button towards the top end of my headphone wires which is definitely a painful shock and rather a distraction with 100kg bearing down on your pecs.
…the biggest and most common problem with headphone wires and bulky phones is highlighted when trying to perform a ‘cross-training’ or ‘circuits’ type of workout. In such a HIIT routine you need to push yourself hard and move quickly between a wide variety of exercises, it is unrealistic to achieve the desired intensity whilst being plugged in.
Here is the paradox – your favourite music motivates you to push yourself, but your headphone wires and phone cause you to hold back your efforts slightly!
I know I’ve certainly held myself back from a box jump or two at the fear of launching my phone across the room as the wires tear off my ears and land on the girl doing her Yoga poses on the adjacent mat. I’ve lost count of the times I have thrust an arm into the air and pulled out one earphone mid set to then have to try and pretend that it’s not a distraction whilst finishing the remaining reps.
All these problems aren’t the end of the world of course, we can happily cope by being patient and adjusting most exercises to accommodate a few pesky wires and a small metal brick of a phone bulging in your pocket…but the best workouts are always focussed with minimal distractions and taking these problems away can actually free you up for a whole new level of performance. That’s got to be a good thing non!?
So what did I do this week that was so revolutionary?
Well I grabbed some wireless headphones (Miiego AL3 Freedom), got my favourite playlist prepped and ready before hitting the gym. According to Miiego’s tag line ‘No Wires. No Worries’… I was feeling hopeful!
Rather like an animal being let out of captivity into the wild for the first time, at first I felt slightly hesitant with my new found freedom. There I was in the gym listening to my favourite tracks, in my own little fitness world, with only wireless headphones on (plus my gym kit obviously…) and no other distractions! To test the water I started jumping about and trying out some plyometrics. Pretty soon I was fully engrossed in a full on training session incorporating some compound lifts with some dynamic contrast sets. The animal had been set free and was truly enjoying what the vast gym wilderness had to offer!
Having smashed out one of my best sessions in weeks I sat down with my recovery drink together with nibbles and tried to mentally digest what had just happened. I likened the liberating feeling to skinny dipping for the first time…casting off the shackles and enjoying the essence of the activity itself. I had definitely discovered what pro sports teams call ‘an edge’ to my game.
Now that I’ve experienced training in the wire free zone, like copying and pasting my course work for the first time, I would find it tricky to go back to the old ways. If you love music and love to train hard without distraction I definitely recommend that you take this next step in your fitness evolution and go ‘wire free!’