“Every workout is a chance to learn something about yourself.”
This is something you will hear often in our gym. We see the pursuit of fitness as a journey–a never-ending climb that begins when you first step foot in the gym, and continues over the course of a lifetime. We refer to it as “Climbing the Mountain,” and those who truly embrace Crossfit understand that it isn’t about reaching the Summit (spoiler alert: You never will), it is about the climb. The endless array of challenges. The constant pursuit of Better.
There will be days when you come to the gym and have a great workout. Those days when you pace perfectly, get yourself right to that edge of your hardest effort, and finish thinking to yourself that there is not one thing you could have done better. Those are the “Good WOD days”, and on those days we get a better handle on “what works” for where we are as athletes.
But what about the not-so-great workout days–you know the ones. The ones where you come out too hot, go too heavy, your pull ups fall apart, or the WOD just kicks you in the teeth and leaves your ego crippled when you walk out the door. Or the days when you finish and know that you could have pushed yourself harder or used a heavier weight.
Those are the “Bad WOD days”, and those are the days we have the biggest opportunity to learn and get better. In truth, they aren’t really “Bad” at all.
Every time you finish a workout, ask yourself: What did I do well? What went right?
And also: How could I have improved? What can I do better next time?
There are a lot of variables that go into finding success with your workouts. Some of the obvious ones are sleep, nutrition, consistency, and working on skills (here’s looking at you, double unders). But other things, such as weight selection, pacing, and figuring out the best rep schemes for you individually also play a huge role–Not to mention learning how to manage the feeling of discomfort that happens when you are struggling through a WOD.
If you fall into the “Always Blows Up, Always Time Caps, Always Fails” Camp: Start holding back a little bit during workouts and try to develop a better sense of pacing. Lighten up your working loads and scale more so you can align yourself better with the intended stimulus and avoid time-capping. Check your Ego at the door and start taking on workouts as the athlete that you currently ARE–not the athlete you WANT to be.
If you fall into the “Always Over-Scales, Plays it Safe, Never Fails” Camp: Start testing the waters and try a heavier weight next time. Run the full distance. Do all of the reps. Don’t set your bar down when it starts to hurt. Push yourself to that edge, even if it means it might send you to Redline Land.
In most cases, the worst thing that can happen is that you wind up learning something about yourself. You might redline. You might fail. But then again: You might not. In the end, there are no mistakes: Only lessons.
These lessons are what make us better..if we’re smart enough to listen and apply what we learn.
– Nicole Voelzke