What’s your Why?
Simple question right!? But when it comes to your training it might not always be so easy to understand or hold yourself accountable to. As athletes we must ask ourselves what our purpose is behind our training and make sure that our efforts coincides with our purpose. Although our “why” may change and develop with time; we must always stay true to our objectives.
Now let’s say your reason behind starting CrossFit is to be more generally fit; be able to wake up with less pain, go up a flight of stairs without losing your breath or just be able to keep up with your kids or grandkids. You have to dial in to your thoughts on what that means and what kind of training you should be participating in. CrossFit is infinitely scalable and every WOD can be adjusted to your specific needs and goals. So if your goal is to be able to keep up with your kids would it be the best choice to put 185 on a bar and use that for your Shoulder press weight in a workout? The answer is a simple no; lifting weight to that degree will not get you any closer to your goal. Yet a 75lb Shoulder Press at a higher rep output will help facilitate shoulder strength and stability to be able to lift a small child overhead with ease, as well as increase your metabolic conditioning to be able to handle those steps.
Let’s switch it up a bit and say you want to increase your overall strength; with consistent results. Another easily manageable goal within the CrossFit method, all you need is a proper plan and strategy. Your first 3 months you should spend time logging your results in detail; understanding the movements and focusing on the overall form of each. Once the general understanding of your strength and weaknesses of each movement is catalogued you can start your approach.
Month one you get exposed to an olympic barbell movement such as a power clean; the workout calls for 155 for 8 reps. Now right off the bat you realize that’s pretty close to your Dead-Lift one rep max. Understanding this you throw on 95 lbs, which proves to be as challenging for you as the athlete that’s moving that 155 lb barbell. You manage to get 3 out of 8 reps unbroken; you think to yourself next time you should do 115…wrong. The best time to move up in weight is when you’re able to keep up with that Rx athlete or do all the called for reps unbroken. In doing this your are conditioning your body and reinforcing crucial stabilizing muscles in your back and other areas to better be able to handle 115.
You get to the point where 95 is being moved smoothly and easily 3 consistent workouts in a row where power cleans are involved. You’re now ready to throw on that 115 and the process starts all over again. This may seem like the long way, but in fact it’s the best way to have consistently proveable results; minimizing injury and maximizing work potential. Gradually increasing your strength so when you finally arrive at a fabled RX, your mind and body both match up. No longer will you think, “maybe I can do it”; but being able to know you CAN do it.
Within CrossFit a lot of athletes get caught in the pitfall of staying at a lighter weight purely so they can get a better time on the board, or modifying a movement to gain an edge on other athletes. Doing this they’re no longer staying true to their “why”. Instead working within their comfort zone; never allowing themselves to get to their work load threshold. We believe in an effective rule “Get comfortable being uncomfortable”. If you stay true to that statement there is no limit on what you can achieve in fitness. If your goal is Stamina related push yourself to a higher output under light to moderate load. If you want to increase strength, always make sure the weight on the bar is increasing when form and body allow it.
Your “why” may change as time goes on and gain experience; and that’s okay! Understanding your goals and why you walk through the door each and everyday is important; but always train with a purpose. CrossFit is functional fitness; and through that functionality we gain the ability to better our lives each and every day. So no matter what path you choose, never forget that you’re an ATHLETE!