Progress is a human imperative.
We’ve driven ourselves forward, from wearing loin cloths to suits and ties. We pursue improvements in financial, educational and emotional endeavours. We measure this by the success we see in our careers, relationships and financial well-being.
Training is no different.
CrossFit, by design, is observable, measurable, and repeatable. Such a methodology allows us to train, record and to repeat, for ongoing comparison.
Unlike field sports like rugby, where we encounter unforeseeable factors leading to specific outcomes like scrums, lineouts etc, the competitive CrossFit athlete can focus purely on the performance of specific movements over defined time and modal domains.
We can develop a training cycle, take it on, collate our results, adjust our tactics accordingly and then repeat. We can easily identify areas of improvement based on such introspection.
For the average, recreational exerciser though, the need for this level of focus can be somewhat overwhelming and, ultimately, unnecessary.
When we start our fitness journey, we often experience regular improvements, and can become accustomed to PR’ing on a regular basis.
This is in contrast to the experienced athlete, who may often undergo months of consistent effort in order to add 2.5/5kgs to a lift or to shave a few seconds off a finish time.
The flip-side to this, is that the glory days the new athlete experience’s, dry up after a wee while, and we confront one of the hardest times in our journey. This is where noticeable progress becomes harder, and often the enjoyment we associate with new fastest times or heaviest lifts can disappear.
With this comes reduced motivation and appetite for the work involved in improving.
As coaches, we’ve seen, and have personally experienced, this many times. It dawns that the process is simple, not easy, especially when combined with the realities of family, life, work and the limited ability to train because of such responsibilities.
So, grim reaper, what are you trying to tell me!?
Firstly, it’s not all bad.
Being trapped by a focus on numbers and times can be avoided with the right mindset. The foundation you create yourself, the realization that your quality of life outside the gym should be benefited by what you do inside the gym, rather than the other way round is key.
Yes, it’s great to hit a fast 500m on the rower, or a super heavy deadlift, but if what you’re doing in the gym isn’t benefiting your life outside the gym, both of these achievements are likely irrelevant.
As we get older, have families, take on more and more responsibility in lives, our training and fitness should be tools to develop better health and greater longevity.
It is this health and well being that we should be celebrating as we continue our fitness journeys.
Push yourself, challenge yourself to be better over time with a focus on health, rather than performance, you’ll have a lot more fun and last longer.