Thursday 9 June 2016

June: Hero's Journey; 5 Weeks Later

   Having used's Hero's Journey for a month already, I'm about half way through. I'm actually really loving it, too, for a multitude of reasons.

   The book itself is easy to use: everything is laid out clearly, the illustrations are easy to follow, and while every workout is displayed on the left page, the right page has a box for notes and such which I've been using to note the date I used the workout, which level I did, whether I did bonus quests and so on, and since that only takes up about a line, there's plenty of room to do the same again.
   And do it again you certainly can. There's something new every day - you could be doing resistance, cardio, yoga, and it really keeps even this 60-day workout really fresh. Having used days 1-25 so far, I can say that a few workouts are similar to each other, but they're spaced apart quite well so that they don't feel repetitive, though the individual movements on similar workouts are actually different anyway even if the set-up is the same.
   The story factor is brilliant, too - some days are calm, usually filled with ab work, and they tend to be pauses in the story, such as time taken on the road to train and keep in good form. Some days are encounters, some in which you have to fight and typically use kickboxing, and others are chases which involve big cardio moves like sets of high knees and such. There's also a karma system, wherein your choices or abilities affect the story further down the line or directly affect you once the workout has been completed. For example, a bridge collapsed, and you could either clear it in one jump (sets of squat jumps, I think), in which case there are no repercussions, or you can scramble (multiple moves), in which case you lose your lunch and have to go without bread for 2 hours. Another example is a chase, where completing level 1 (5 sets) catches only one of the fleeing attackers and results in additional sets on a later, pre-determined day, completing level 2 catches 2 and results in reduced rest time, and level 3 you catch all 3 and there are no negatives further down the line. These aren't supposed to be read ahead of time, in fact you're supposed to complete the workout before checking the karma so you don't cheat, but they're great fun because they force you to make a choice as to how you're going to complete that day's workout, and give the story and your 'character' more diversity, aiding in keeping the workout from getting stale even if it's your second or third time working through it.

   Speaking of the story, you may have noticed installments of something called Of Ash And Dew popping up on the blog since early May. I realised recently that I never actually introduced it. I decided, given the nature of the workout, that I would see if I could write along with it, put the workout into a deeper setting, and to be honest I'm quite happy with how it's been working out. Every time I complete a day's allocated workout, I lay out a new installment. Some days are just training and don't warrant a post, in which case they're merged with a day that does.
   I admit I looked ahead through the workout's story a little, just picking pages at random near the end to see how it concludes, but it's quite open so I've gone ahead and decided upon a story that suits the character I've been playing (I'm starting to shrink beneath typing this, I am such a nerd) rather than creating a character for the story. It's been really interesting because I've not been looking ahead at the workouts themselves in order to keep it a little more exciting, not knowing what I'm going to be doing until I actually get down to it (meaning I don't have the time to dread it if it's something I hate), and that's also meant that I've not known how the story was going to proceed. I have a loose plan in mind, of course, but not for the day-by-day.
   Everything that happens in the story is based on the vague task given during each day's workout, upon the choices I made where I was able to (such as heroically clearing the bridge or scrambling in a panic), and upon the number of sets I was able to complete, which also makes relevant the karma system. It's a tribal fantasy short story and features a young woman from a water tribe who is on the quest for justice.

   So, if anyone is interested, I post 2-3 installments of the story a week, and as I post it about a week after the respective workouts, it should be finished around the end of July. I only work out 5 days a week, after all, so 60 days isn't 2 months so much as almost 3. But at least I can write it confidently, knowing there is an end in sight.

   I'll post again at the end of the month, though I won't have finished it yet, but as I've been using it after kettlebell and Jillian Michaels workouts, I plan on shifting Hero's Journey over to make room for another new workout to be used first, though I will still be using Hero's Journey. That's assuming I can find something new, of course...


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