Do the Work

The best thing about The CrossFit Open is that it highlights (in a sometimes painful way) what we need to shore up in our fitness skillset — what we need to WORK on.  I’m sure those of you that have done The Open this year have one or two gaping holes in your CrossFit game that have been opened up by a workout, maybe it was even embarrassing how poorly you performed against your own expectations, or maybe you are pretty self-aware and you saw it coming!  In any case, it really stings when we are put to the test and come up short.  The important part of this experience is that we remain humble and realistic, and accept this lesson that Dave Castro served up to us for the low, low price of $20.  If our overarching goal of working out is to become more fit, we have been tasked with at least one new objective to get there.  That’s what makes finding out that you still suck at Double-unders “the best thing” about The Open — not the frustration during the workout, but that the question, “What do I need to improve?” has been answered!
But now comes the hard part (you probably saw this coming…).  You’ve shoved your ego aside and accepted that you need to improve.  But how do you make the improvement?  The very first step is to draft a goal.  This is as simple as writing down what you want to get better at, but we’ll layer on a little complexity in order to make it as actionable as possible.
Your goal should be SMART:
Specific – Not just “get better at Handstand Push-ups”, but “Do 5 strict HSPUs without coming off the wall”.
Measurable – Along with Specific, how are you going to measure whether you did it or not?  There should be a test.
Achievable – Is this actually achievable/realistic for you within a reasonable timeframe?
Relevant – Are we still talking about improving overall fitness here?  Improving your Back Squat by 20% meets this test.  Improving from a 300-lb squat to a 500-lb squat will not make you more fit, and you will have to make serious concessions in other facets of your fitness to do that.
Time-based – How long before you will achieve it?
So now we have a SMART goal, one that stands up to all of these criteria.  I will do 5 strict Handstand Push-ups without coming off the wall by July 11, 2020.  You don’t have to tell anybody, especially if you know that you are very internally motivated.  However, if you think that a bit of accountability would help, or maybe just a personal reminder every time you walk in the door at CFKI, write it on the wall!  No going back now, unless you determine that your goal no longer meets one of the SMART criteria above.
What you’ve set in motion with this goal is a result you want to achieve.  Now we need a plan to get there.  I can think of three specific ways that every member of CFKI can achieve their individual fitness goals, and the first two just start with showing up to class!
1) Lean into the CFKI workouts that highlight your goals.  If The Open taught you that your endurance is a weakness, and in a 20-minute workout you are taking several long breaks, then when a straight-up running workout comes up on the whiteboard, or a challenge of 100 burpees for time, this is when you show up with a positive attitude, ready to get some.  Don’t slouch away from the workouts that showcase your current weakness — lean into them, and your weakness will slowly chip away into a strength!
2) Scale workouts with your goal in mind.  Maybe your previous reaction to a workout with 15 consecutive Handstand Push-ups in it was, “Oh, I can’t do that, I’m going to scale to an easier version of HSPU.”  But now, with your goal front-and-center, you decide that performing this movement is more important than a good finishing time on the workout, and you keep the difficulty level high, and scale the overall number of reps you will perform.  By making that paradigm shift in your scaling approach for today’s workout, you have committed for today to get closer to your goal.
3) Use extra time to get extra reps.  Showing up to class consistently and getting the most out of each workout is absolutely the first key to achieving your goal.  I’m a firm believer that any result that you want can be achieved by regularly working out with the CFKI team, and implementing a diet that aligns with your goal.  However, many of us like to push that “Realistic” boundary by having a pretty short timeframe to achieve our goal.  “I want to be able to do a pull-up, like tomorrow.”  And this is where your desire for an expedited result has to be matched with your desire to work.  There’s no secret that getting that first pull-up means getting stronger.  And getting stronger means doing low-rep, intense sets of strict pulling on the bar, rings, barbell or other weights.  Make the time to meet with a coach about your goal, and ask them to create you a plan!  Then put the plan into action — write down on your weekly schedule when you are going to come in for Open Gym, or ask your coach if you can stay 15 minutes after class to burn through some strength sets.  You won’t always want to, but if you have a solid plan, and you do the work, you will achieve your goal.
Achieving your goal is something you have to do for yourself, and it is a deeply personal and emotional thing to set your sights and then persevere through the rough times when things don’t seem to be going well, and then also not get too high on yourself when you succeed.  When success does come, take a moment to celebrate all of your hard work, and then it’s back to analyzing your performance and determining your next goal.  Look ahead to the next Open test and ask yourself “What would I pay Dave Castro to not include in The Open?”  Then get to work.
The NBA Hall-of-Famer and U.S. Senator Bill Bradley said that as a young player, he would always remind himself, “When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win.”
When the next test comes, which one will you be?

Categories: WOD

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