12 May 2021

Intensity is Everywhere!

We live in an intense world. We are constantly drip fed the narrative, that in order to achieve something we must hustle, work more, push harder. If some is good, then more is better. 2 is 1 and 1 is none.

We wear our hard work on our sleeves like a badge of honour. I did 10 sets; well I did 12. Took me 7mins, only took me 4. I slept 5 hours last night, well I only ever sleep 4. I had a stroke at 45 well I had a heart attack at 28, where does it end?

In a race to the bottom the winners loose!

Hard Work Pays Off… Right?

One of my favourite quotes is by Denzel Washington “Don’t confuse constant motion for progress.”

Progress is the goal… Isn’t it?

Do we want to tread water and struggle to stay afloat, telling everyone just how hard we are working or do we want to make it to shore and drink a Dakari?

What are your intentions? For how long do you wish to be “the hardest worker in the room”? How long can you sustain the gritted teeth, pain faced flailing about and the over dramatized collapses on the floor before you think, is this dumb? Is this actually doing anything for me?

Success Leaves Clues.

The best in the sport of CrossFit, make this most painful of sports incredibly easy. Annoyingly so at times. Watch any of the best and it’s hard to fully appreciate what they are displaying. The greatest of all these to watch workout is still, Rich Froning. He is precise and effortless in all his movements. Working out looks second nature to him, like its just an extension of walking. He never looks in pain, he never looks rushed and he always moves well.

Iv seen him do 10mins of WB’s, where he did 300+ WB’s and afterwards simple just walked off to the side, grabbed his kid and a milkshake he had sitting there and just went about his day like it was nothing. How does that compare to what you’d expect to see from 99% of people?

He’s figured out that the goal isn’t to make this fitness thing harder, the goal is to make it easier.

If you want to get better at thrusters, do you just work harder? Push more? or do you try and progressively make them feel easier and easier?

When two or more people are completing the same task, the person with the lowest perceived effort wins. If you’re in front of me but I’m at a 3/10 and you’re at a 9/10, how long do you think you can hold me off for? If you do manage to hold me off today, then what about tomorrow and the next day and the next day. What about for the next week, or month. What about for the next 1 year, 2 years, 10 years?

The goal is to be relaxed, to make it easy, like walking. This is why we do KB swings, Hand release push ups and Air Squats instead of Power Snatch, Burpees and Thrusters. Same patterns, ones easier than the other. The nervous system responds to what we teach it. We want all patterns to be effortless. The goal is to move towards easier and sustainable. Not away from it.

Progress, not just constant motion!

So, Can I Not Work Hard?

This all isn’t to say hard work isn’t necessary or required. The best at anything do certainly work hard. This is merely an attempt to get you to question your intentions. To perhaps pause and seek a deeper understanding of yourself. Ask a harder question and challenge societal norms.

Yes, your allowed to go there. It just shouldn’t be all the time or to prove a point.

Your allowed to work hard, of course. Just do so with correct intentions.

Pushing yourself can be fun. I get it. But let the goal be the goal, not some twisted up narrative.

Consistency before heroics.

Progress over pride.

-Written by Andrew collins