Rest Day Rant: Reaching a Turning Point

Posted: December 22, 2012 by Jim in Random Thoughts

Sorry it’s been such a long time since my last Rant. Soccer has truly dominated my weekends lately.

Are you at a point in your program where you feel stuck? If so, have you sat down and made an honest assessment of the things holding you back. Could it be (gasp) your diet? Perhaps you still let the voice break your workouts down, either in your weight or the intensity you apply to the WOD. Maybe you fall into the category of on-again, off-again CrossFitter and have yet to fully commit to the program.

No matter what is holding you back, the first step in moving forward involves getting honest. If you’re anything like me, then the person you must be honest with is yourself. Are your kids really so busy that you can’t make one of the seven class times we offer? If I’m honest, soccer has not taken up every single minute of my weekends. The truth is more like this: after spending about 2-3 hours at the soccer fields, I didn’t feel like writing anything. The truth is I could have written something had I really wanted to. Is it really true that you don’t have the money to come more often? I have single mothers, full-time students, and even a married couple who are both graduate students who all manage to scrape together the cost of CrossFit month after month. Are you really eating clean? Really? Really??!?!?

You would think honesty is pretty easy when it comes to CrossFit. But I’ve recently learned that is far from the truth. 🙂

About 9 months ago, my workout partners and I made a turn toward a very intense and dedicate course of strength building. We didn’t intend to move away from heavy met-con workouts, but it happened. When we started this strength building, my metabolic conditioning was at a pretty high level for me. I had run my first sub 6 minute mile, and put up PRs on a variety of WOD’s such as Helen, Fran, and Fight Gone Bad.

Flash forward to a couple of Saturdays ago: I was competing at a charity event and the WOD was Fight Gone Bad. I had been on a string of five consecutive performances over 300 reps, with a PR of 389. Well, at this event, that all came crashing DOWN to the tune of 267. The most humbling part happened in the third round. As I approached the last set of push presses, I stared at the bar for nearly 20 seconds. It’s not that I broke for so long; it was the fact that I mentally did not want to continue. That’s right, I wanted to quit.

Prior to this event, I realized that the longest met con WOD we had done in this last cycle (which is a vicious modified Bulgarian cycle) was 10 minutes long. I could justify this with a mountain of “experts” who said it’s easy to re-build endurance, and that while building strength, you really have no need for the longer met-cons. Blah Blah. I had lied to myself and lost an important piece of my program.

This leads to my second key for taking the next step is continuing to practice the mental battle. I know it is hard to build strength and complete a number of killer WOD at the same time, but you still need to put yourself in the habit of practicing the mental discipline of pushing through. See, I’m not sure if I lost so much metabolically as I did mentally. I lost the will to finish when the suffering continues. Sure, I can clean, snatch, back squat, and front squat a ton more than I could nine months ago, but I’ve lost that mental edge, that will to push through the suck…the desire to embrace it.

Fortunately, all we really need to do is decide to reach for that turning point. We can choose on our very next workout, our very next meal, our very next lift to reach out and turn that page. We can decide today that the excuses will end and the results will begin. We can set our minds to complete honesty about our program right now. We don’t have to wait.

This happened in a real way for me Friday. Yesterday was the first day in F-O-R-E-V-E-R that I did not lift a weight at all. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. We did a weird incline walk that I read some Games guru has his athletes do, and then we completed five rounds of 20 double unders and a 200 meter run. So I decided that the double unders had to be unbroken or I had to start over and the run had to be a sprint. By round 3, I wanted to cry like a baby and quit. I felt like a big, sweaty Bulgarian lifter trying to sprint and I wanted to give up. But a little voice, a different voice started to whisper, “Why not find your groove again today? Why not just finish this dang thing?” I didn’t want to, but I listened to that voice. And guess what……


IT SUCKED!!!!!!!!! I wanted to vomit and curse Greg Glassman for ever making up a thing called CrossFit.

But I finished. And I didn’t die. I didn’t even pass out! And I took one huge step toward reaching that next turning point in my program.

Listen, don’t be dramatic. Don’t set some magical “date,” like New Year’s or your grandmother’s dog’s vet’s birthday to start your turning point. Just do it. And stop wasting time!

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