Rest Day Rant: Find Your Mojo

Posted: November 18, 2012 by Jim in Random Thoughts

Over the last few weeks, I’ve noticed that some of our Unbreakable Athletes seem more motivated than ever during their lifting sessions and workouts. Some, though, do not show the same enjoyment for their workouts that they did a few weeks ago. Still others have become like ghosts; rarely seen these days.

We all struggle with motivation at times. This occasionally involves a legitimate loss of the original enjoyment you had for an activity that lasts for a brief period of time. Loss of motivation can also serve as a sign of overtraining or a lack of taking care of ourselves.

Let’s take on the last issue first. At CrossFit Infragilis, we have a general goal of where we would like to see our athletes progress. We want to make you stronger. We want to help you feel the best you’ve felt in your life. We want to make your everyday lives better and help you function more efficiently outside of the gym. Our program endeavors to meet these and other general fitness goals. Therefore, we lift often and progressively heavier. If you do not eat to support this work, your body will begin to show signs of overtraining. If you are not sleeping adequately, you’ll start showing these same symptoms. If your life lacks enjoyment outside of the gym, you’ll start showing signs of fatigue, depressed mood, and all the rest. As some of you learned last week, when I see these symptoms in you, I do not allow you to lift at the prescribed weight. If you’re not going to take care of yourself, someone has to in some small way.

Now what about those of you who eat well, sleep well, and often have a great time outside of the gym and, yet, you’ve still lost that loving feeling with CrossFit. Have you allowed yourself to get “stuck?”

Some athletes fall for the trap that, “I’m going to get to a certain point with (my weights, my pull-ups, my box jumps, fill in the blank), and then I’ll maintain.”

I’ve seen athletes stay on the same pull-up band literally more than a year. Some athletes will never increase their box jump height while still others never put more weight on the bar no matter how good their technique is or how long they’ve been lifting. They rarely push themselves to new heights and, as you would expect, start becoming “bored.” Also, they stop seeing the amazing results they saw once had when they began their CrossFit journey.

If nothing changes, nothing changes. You must set goals and continue striving to get better or you will lose your mojo. My first CrossFit trainer once told me that “you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse, there is no such thing as maintaining.” This is so true with your fitness program. Let’s use the front squat as an example. Suppose 95 pounds was a huge achievement for you nine months into CrossFit. That weight kicked your butt and left you sore for days. Flash forward almost another year, and you’re still using 95 pounds, and sometimes will use 105, but rarely. I can promise you that 95 pounds now isn’t doing for you what it did a year ago. Also, from a psychological standpoint, you’ve lost that feeling of accomplishment you had when you were able to achieve something difficult. Some motivational theorists believe that the higher your perceived probability of success, the lower your motivation is to engage in that activity. Research suggests that our motivation is often highest when we have a moderate perception of success. Therefore, it is a good thing to have a little doubt. For me, I know if I don’t feel some butterflies before a WOD or a heavy lifting session, I don’t seem quite as motivated to do it.

So what are we to do? First, buy yourself a journal. I know there are a lot of fancy apps out there, and I’m not saying don’t use those, but there seems to be something powerful about handwriting your goals and results. Write down not only long term goals, but goals for every week. Write down your weights and your times and start pushing to get a little better each time out.

If you’re really struggling with motivation, take some time this weekend to recall what you really love about CrossFit. Write this down as well. Reflect and see what’s been lost in addition to your motivation. Maybe you love the community and seeing your friends. Well, pick up the phone and ask them to encourage you to start coming with more regularity. Plan events around your workouts with friends, like getting coffee or going for lunch afterwards.

If your loss of motivation has something to do with our actual program, please do not be afraid to call and talk to me about it. Better yet, schedule a time and we’ll sit down and talk about it and your individual program and results. At Infragilis, we are committed to the program of every single athlete, so let us know what we can do to help!

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