Use Physical Tokens to Count Sets

There is something about exercise that excites your brain a little. I know I’m not the only one who stops counting accurately after about … the second set. So if you have multiple sets of exercise or circles in a circle, try giving yourself some physical tokens to help you count.

For example, if I’m doing six sets of chin-ups on a child’s swing (I set the rings where one of the swings would normally be), I put a rock on the picnic table after each set. When I have six stones in a row, I am ready.

I cannot claim this idea. I first found out about this when I sometimes went to CrossFit classes. One day we needed to do something like ten rounds of three different exercises, and the coach opened a tiny suitcase in the corner of the room to find rows of multi-colored poker chips. Each of us took a stack and used them to count the rounds.

If you have a goal of doing a lot of exercises – say hundreds of push-ups – you can take it one step further. For some time every day I did 300 kettlebell swings. I kept losing count until I remembered the set of poker chips I got as a promo and brought them to my garage the next time I swing. Ten swings were a chip, six chips brought me a mark on the wall, and five marks meant I was finished.

Even if you are usually good at counting your sets, try this. It’s a terrible feeling not to know if you’re playing the fourth or fifth set, so if you know exactly what I mean, grab yourself some poker chips or pebbles.


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