23 July 2021

An Uncomfortable Truth

There’s a misconception within CrossFit that the best just go and don’t think. That they just turn off and put themselves in the pain cave and that it’s through a force of will that they can survive a metcon and that this is what makes them the best.

The key to success inside the sport of fitness is self-awareness. Its an understanding of your limits and exactly how close to them you are working.

Most refuse to except this as truth.

At some point it actually becomes “EASIER” to go hard. It takes no thought, no self -awareness and no intentions. You just flail about until the timer beeps then lie there exhausted.

Understanding and controlling your efforts and being able to access different gears within your paces is key to continual progress.

It’s like Riding a Bike

Conceptually you want to look at a developed aerobic system like gears on a mountain bike. We have our 3 main gears on one side, along with 12 gears on the other, for a total of 36 different gears.

We can view our aerobic system in the same way. We have our 3 main gears, lets call them Easy, Medium and Hard and within each of these conceptual efforts there should be the ability to further shift between 12 different efforts.

This is obviously just an analogy and these numbers perhaps are not precise but it should stand to serve as a good frame of reference and ideally broaden the way we view “paced” efforts.

Subtle Changes

Its important to recognise that these different “gears” are conceptual. There not necessarily a huge, definitive shift through efforts, but rather nuanced and subtle changes, something that you have to be able to internalise.

Ideally if we perform say a 400m run and it takes 1:40 and that’s to hard our next gear should not be 2:25 or walking pace. We should have the ability to “feel” what our perceived effort is and make minor adjustments. Something like 1:42, still to hard then try 1:45, and so on until we land on the right number. Again, don’t get caught up in the exact numbers I’m merely illustrating that the changes should be incredibly subtle and not huge, dramatic shifts.


Understand the Edges of your Capabilities

Our intention should be to “Express” fitness not merely perform it. This takes practice and deliberate awareness. You can’t just go full hog and kick the shit out of yourself and expect to nail this.

Don’t confuse constant motion for progress. Just going until exhaustion is not progress. We can run up and down on the spot all day and not get anywhere. We need to pay attention to what we are doing to create a different internal dialogue.

Having better intentions with training and remaining mindful of the details is where success lies. Over time as we develop each of these gears further, we begin to broaden or fitness base, allowing greater expressions of fitness.


Start To Think Bigger

How do you make consistent progress over the next 10+ years?

Don’t hide in the fog by remaining vague. Be mindful and create better intentions around training.

I get your not a games athlete and you maybe don’t take this fitness thing that seriously, but you also complain when you don’t get better. So, which one is it? You can’t sit on both sides of the fence. If you desire to improve, then become a student of this thing. The details matter. Ask better questions. Seek to understand more and stop chasing pain, it’s a dead end.

Start by recording round times on your paced efforts. Remember details matter. The goal is to be sustainable and repeatable. Every round time should be the same. Be precise, not just rough times, exact times. If you get it wrong then that’s ok, because you can see it. Then next time you can take that information and apply it to the next task. Over time you create more and more context around these different scenarios and a deeper understanding on where your capabilities lie. Once we are consistent and repeatable then and only then can we start to push up against the edges. But you have to do you due diligence first, there has to be some work put in upfront to create an effective understanding of how these different gears work and feel.

Developing the full array of gears will allow us to begin to actual “Express” our physical potential. Along with more satisfaction in our training this will ultimately lead us to long term progress.

Remember, don’t be vague. Details matter. Seek to understand more then just pain.