By Coach Rob
"We live our lives forwards, and understand them backwards."
Those who know me know I'm big on reflection. It's important every once in a while to take a few minutes to look back and think about what you've learned, and then to let those lessons be a part of how you move forward. This is how we get better.
Specifically, following in the wake of the 2017 Open, we see this as a time to think about our performance, to look at the lessons we learned, and to set new intentions for the training year ahead. The Open generally does a good job of helping us identify strengths and weaknesses, and gives us a good idea of where we might direct our focus in training over the upcoming season.
So we invite you to take a few minutes (if you haven't already) and think about what you learned...
You might ask the following questions:
- What was I hoping to get out of the open? (A personal challenge, a particular ranking, a particular improvement from a previous year, etc.)
- How did I do relative to my expectations?
- What went well that I can be happy about/proud of?
- What did I learn about where I need to improve? (get specific... I need to work on my engine, I need to improve my endurance in particular movements (thrusters!), I need to improve my ability in a particular area (pulling strength), etc.)
- How does this impact my bigger health and fitness goals?
That last one is critically important, and it's on this topic in particular that I want to spend a little time. Because in the big picture, here is what's true for us:
We are an organization committed to educating, inspiring, and supporting people to be the best versions of themselves,
physically and otherwise, for the rest of their lives.
We believe very deeply in what we do. We are constantly trying to learn and do better. And despite the fact that we may appear to be goofing off and just fitnessing, we actually take it very seriously. We are here to play the long game, to see you and our community thrive in their lives, both now and for a long time into the future, in whatever you do.
The challenge we run into sometimes, and particularly during the Open, is that we see this philosophy in direct conflict with what the media pushes for, and what our short-term and immediate-gratification-culture tells us is what we should be focused on - namely, squeezing performance out of today, at the expense of our long-term health and fitness.
Yes, the Open is a great time to challenge yourself, and to test your fitness. It's a time to give it your all and let the workouts tell you how you did and where you stand. However, it is NOT a time to step completely outside of our training philosophy (where we are always pushing for the prioritization of safety, quality movement, and training that will make your body BETTER in the long term rather than INJURED). It's hard, especially as athletes in the heat and thrill of competition. But we have to keep things in perspective.
Sometimes this isn't what people want to hear, and we understand that. But there is a big difference between challenging yourself and putting your body at risk by doing workouts at weights you otherwise shouldn't and wouldn't be using, or re-doing workouts that have taken a huge tole already on your muscles or your CNS. It's just not worth it, from a bigger picture perspective. And as your coaches, we see it as our job to help keep that perspective. To those of you who tackled the open with all your might, in a way that was safe and good for your long-term development, we are proud of you!!
There is a phrase we use with each other often, and that you'll hear our coaching staff use often, that represents this philosophy well:
"Trust the process."
I've got some great news. When we take a long view of our training and our lives, we are empowered to consistently take the small daily steps that create real, meaningful improvements. If we're patient enough and we "trust the process", we begin to see incredible compounding progress, which is where the magic happens. It's not by going crazy hard and heavy on one day, or in a week or a month...
...It's by slowly challenging the body in and around it's current capacity, with intelligent programming and responsible training and recovery principles, and then giving it time to adapt and increase it's capacity...
It's simple, but not always easy to do. Don't disregard these principles because of their apparent simplicity. Their power is truly incredible.
Trust me, I get it. I'm not a guy known for my patience. I am the first one to want results yesterday for today's efforts. I'm also guilty of having reached beyond my capacity at times, and expected things of my body that it wasn't realistic of me to expect, because I hadn't put in the proper time and disciplined effort to earn those abilities. But I now know that with a little patience, with some trust in my coaches, and with support and encouragement from my fellow athletes, that in time real magic can happen.
So! We hope you had an amazing experience in the 2017 CrossFit Games Open. We are proud of all of you! We hope you take a few minutes to answer the questions above, in light of your big picture health and fitness goals. Set some intentions for the training year ahead (and share them with us!!), and get excited for next year!
Thank you for your trust in us, and for inviting us to be a part of your health and fitness journey.