I love stories.

Especially stories that make me run faster, like the ones I heard last week.

My trainer has a habit of making up her own workouts and using them to torture me. So last week she decided to come up with a plyometrics workout from hell based on a deadly sport the ancient Mayans would play. For them this was literally a matter of life and death.

If you’ve ever seen The Road to El Dorado, you might remember an interpretation of it from this scene.

The game was a cross between soccer and basketball and was played with a very heavy ball. The winners would become heroes. The losers would be killed as human sacrifices. Pretty decent incentive.

When the Mayan jails became full, all the inmates would be put on a team against the reigning champions (obviously the best, because otherwise they would be dead). If they won, not only were they given their freedom, but they were treated like kings. If they lost… capital punishment.

This game involves quick movements. Throwing and running at full power. So my trainer gave me a heavy medicine ball. I would throw it to her as hard as I possibly could and with the same momentum I would take off into a sprint. I would also have to throw it with the same force while doing long side leaps, and catch it again. After that I would throw it across the gym and chase it. I almost hit a few people in the head, but as my trainer said, “They should watch where they’re going!”

The ancient Mayan culture would revolve around this sport. It was usually held in a stadium, gladiator-style. So my trainer had me do my entire workout in front of the long row of treadmills where everyone could watch me. This actually worked to help me move faster and not give up. It’s harder to stop when people are staring you down.

In my last post about plyometrics, I wrote about how difficult this style of exercise is for me. Now if I start getting discouraged, my trainer will start into Mayan anecdotes. I give her props for finding an innovative way to motivate me beyond the all too common yelling and threats. Instead it is stories like these, about the history of sport and its strong cultural role, that drive me to dig down deep and find my inner Mayan.

AND IN ACADEMIC NEWS…

I passed my first nutrition course! The passing grade is set at 80% and I came in at 82.5%. Phew!

And I got 96% on my first anatomy test! I lost my marks on multiple choice but I totally owned the practical application questions. I have another one on Thursday that’s supposed to be twice as hard. Gulp.

On a lighter note, here’s an anatomy fun fact!

THE COOLEST BONE IN THE HUMAN BODY

The human body consists of 206 bones (and newborn babies have 300)! But I have a favourite. It’s called the hyoid bone. It’s in your face.

This is the ONLY bone that is not connected to any other bone. It is held in place with muscles and ligaments and it is responsible for holding your tongue in place. Because it just sort of floats there, it is not the strongest structure.

A few days ago I was watching a low budget thriller (it wasn’t very good). In the movie, a high school student was trying to get revenge on another student by cutting off his tongue. I made the point that this was both messy and unnecessary. It is actually quite simple to just rip the tongue right out. A straightforward grab and pull operation.

So if you happen to be someone who tends to annoy people by talking too much, you might want to keep this in mind. Remember your hyoid.

This is what it’s all about my friends. Practical application. Now let’s have a moment of silence and think about that.

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