One of the fundamental tenets of the Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal and Diving communities is, “two is one, one is none.” In other words, if you ever find yourself planning or expecting to operate with only one tool or one operator in the field, you might as well plan as if you will be without what you need when you need it most.

No matter how well you think you’ve planned for all contingencies, you will inevitably lose a tool or two in the face of operational uncertainty. Without back-up plans, you are as good as useless. 

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In the EOD and diving worlds, all evolutions must be conducted as a minimum Two-Person operation. One operator goes down range, one stays a safe distance away and maintains a log of what happens. 

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Outside of the obvious necessity of this set-up in the case of catastrophic explosive accidents and the tragic loss of human life, this policy also provides a duplicity of operational capability in the face of human error and fatigue.

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Without someone to pick you up if you fall, you run the risk of the whole mission failing. 

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With equipment, having a back-up just makes sense – how many screwdrivers or wrenches have been dropped to the bottom of the ocean during normal operations, let alone in times of heightened states of combat?

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I am fully aware that my metaphorical conceit quickly falls apart because, despite the often inappropriate amount of importance I place on our daily workouts, we are not conducting combat operations when you walk into the gym. However, the fundamental idea of having back-ups has some relevance. Stay with me for a minute.

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When I see something pop up on SugarWOD that doesn’t initially appeal to me, I quickly contemplate not coming to the gym…but I know none of you do this. 

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It’s actually why I feel comfortable releasing the workouts the night before the class. I trust that we all embrace the idea of consistency and we don’t worry about cherry-picking the workouts that favor our strengths. I mean, simply doing workouts that we are good at would be highly detrimental to our long-term physical development and our improved overall health and wellness so why would any of us do that?

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When I do feel the urge to skip in the name of “I’m too busy” or “I need another rest day” I have found that leaning on a support system of a normal class time, a virtual workout buddy, a coach, or some other extrinsic “back-up” helps push me through the sticky points of low motivation. Having this back-up plan offers the necessary consistency that, over the long haul, yields lasting results. Without it, well, who knows what happens the second I find myself a little distracted.

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So, who’s your back-up plan? Who’s your buddy? Who’s your “two is one, one is none” safety net to give you a soft landing when you falter?

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I will offer that if you are simply relying on your coach, you’ve got some good support but coaches can only do so much.  We love you. We want the best for you. But sometimes, despite our best intentions, we can run a bit roughshod over individuals in support of keeping the whole herd moving forward.

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Maybe you need a co-pilot who will give you a pat on the shoulder when you need it the most.

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Maybe it’s just a few friends who will give you the non-judgmental support you need when you feel like you can’t stop banging your head against the same obstacles over and over.

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Or maybe it’s just a matter of finding that extra little push from some unexpected place.

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Whatever it is or wherever it comes from, start thinking about your back-up plan because in a few weeks, the Open will be here and we will all be thinking about taking that extra day off, letting ourselves slide with our nutrition, or just finding an excuse to be a little less consistent once the fatigue sets in. 

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If you need a break, take it. But like a long, sweaty 30:00 AMRAP, if you find yourself standing around too long, take a breath, pick that bar back up, and get back after it.  If you forgot to set up that back-up plan, it’s okay, we always got your back.

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See you on the creek.

-Coach Jack