For me as a coach, leading by example is an important aspect of coaching. Yes, it is easy to advise people to behave a certain way, but behaving different yourself.
Since mental toughness and mindsetting are main issues in my psychological approach and often lecturing about it, once a year I challenge my own physical and mental toughness during a Wampex, a kind of self-experiment. This weekend I was my turn again.
Wampex stands for Weekend AMphibian EXpedition, a mixture of an orienteering trail and a survival course with obstacles.
Starting Friday evening until Saturday morning, through the fields and meadows, sometimes ankle deep through the mud. I did this during the last 8 years, being the oldest participant. My group mainly consists of younger and very fit guys like Marines
or athletes. It is a struggle against the fatigue, lack of sleep, the cold and the frustration, in case one takes the wrong direction.
In order to objectify the impact I measure some guys and myself before, immediately after the event and during the rest of the weekend with the Omegawave system, to see if and how fast we recover, and compare these data over the years
Last year: 52 kilometers in 12.45 hours,
This year: 26.4 kilometers in 7.50 hours.
The difference in time mainly depends on the weather, our own motivation, the number and difficulty of the obstacles and sometimes the waiting time for the obstacles.
In this case I am mainly interested in the functioning of the autonomic nervous system, which controls all of our vital functions, like heart rate, blood pressure etc. The energy metabolism is predominantly aerobic.
It is interesting to see the differences between the impact of this event on young and fit people at one hand and old and less fit guys like myself at the other hand.
Whereas the fit guys barely tapped into their resources, this event to me brings me into serious survival mode, I have to use much more of my physical and mental resources to finish this event. Of course we kind of guessed that it would be this way, but it is always interesting to see it supported with hard data. Like my late mentor Carmelo Bosco often said: “In God we trust, all others have to show data”.