Unleashing the Beast Within

Normally I’m a very low profle guy. I don’t like talking all the time, but when I talk, I’m make sure my words are meaningful. I don’t have a lot of manic energy like some people. But something happens when I’m pushed past a physical limit. It’s like a back up drive of adrenalin that kicks in. It’ always been like this for me.

One day as a recruit in the police academy, we all had to line up in the hall and do group pushups in cadence. In other words, we all had to go up and down at the same time on command of the TAC officer. Of course the TAC officer barking the pushup commands would make the class stay in the bottom pushup position for prolonged periods of time to make them exceptionally painful. My classmates would collapse on the floor, because their arms felt like spaghetti and their chests were burning with lactic acid.

I remember being in that bottom pushup position with my nose an inch from the floor, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw the boot of one of my TAC officers off to my right. I looked up and saw him standing over me. I looked to my right, and I saw all of my classmates wailing and groaning, the other TAC officers yelling at them to stay up in their pushup positions. There wasn’t a propped up body in sight.

Then I realized that the TAC officers were waiting for me to physically give out. I was the last one standing, so to speak. So then I started groaning and screaming in pain and collapsed on to the floor. The group pushups ended shortly afterwards.

Just last year I was attending an update course for police defensive tactics instructors. The instructor of the course came in one morning and because he was in such as a good mood, he put us through non-stop physical activity: pushups, sprints, punches, kicks, takedowns, etc. Non-stop for 2 hours.

Within 5 minutes, the old salty veterans could barely breathe and keep themselves propped up during the pushups. Within 20 minutes, half the class was dripping enough sweat on the mats to make some guys slip as we ran. The other half were well conditioned and just kept the pace.

By the one hour mark, everyone except for myself had slowed down quite a bit. I was still going at the same level I started out with. By the second hour, the instructor was no longer paying attention to what we were doing or that half the class was lounging on the mats. I, on the other had, was still punching and kicking maniacally on the heavy bags.

The fact is that your body can take a lot of punishment. It takes time to get to a decent of level of conditioning, but once you’re at that level, you can go on forever. Your mind will quit before your body ever does.


3 thoughts on “Unleashing the Beast Within

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  1. James, that's awesome…and inspiring, as well. I'm afraid I've turned into one of those salty veterans myself over the last two years. So coming here and reading about training helps me get motivated.

    it sucks getting older and having your testosterone levels drop. i definitely feel my energy levels have dropped over the past few years, and I've put on some unwanted pounds, but I guess that's why lifting is so great.

    One, it helps boost testosterone levels. Two, it helps keep your bone and tendon strength up in addition to keeping your mass. Three, it's great to get those endorphins pumping thru you after you lift.

    I definitely need to ramp up the intensity of my workouts and especially with the cardio. Like a lot of people, time is at a premium, so if I can't get in a good 30-45 minute cardio session, the next best thing I've found is interval training.

    It's definitely grueling, but if you can do a high intensity interval workout at least once a week, it really helps with your cardio endurance and it helps burn up a LOT of calories.



  2. Looks like you sacrificed your own ego for the sake of the rest of the group in regard to the pushups. Commendable. The fact that you are in great shape is even more commendable.

    One thing I've been doing in the gym lately that kind of mimics this attitude is working the heavy bag under one condition: no flat-footed punches allowed. I must keep my feet moving at all times, which means a nice burn in the calves of course. Also no rest breaks longer than 30 seconds.

    While this is nowhere near what you've accomplished, the concept is similar – to be able to put my body through duress for as long as possible in order to condition it.


  3. I don't ever discount or diminish the conditioning of boxers and MMA fighters. The fact that you can make heavy bag work a full body cardio workout to the point where your calves burn is a testament to the extreme level of physical stress.


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