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Progress & Priority, Risk & Reward

By Sean | In Psychology | on March 16, 2011

Tom Foolery in action!

For most CrossFit newbies progress tends to come quickly and easily.  Once their muscles stop hurting so much the first week, our newer folks watch their numbers climb, see differences in their physiques, and just feel a lot better.  Those of you who have been with CrossFit for some time can probably remember back to your first 6 months and I bet you’ll have fond memories of setting PRs every other workout, getting more wind, and being able to hang with the O.G.s during WODs.  Like Dan John and many other strength coaches have said, with new folks and children it really doesn’t matter what you do because almost everything will help them progress.

Now let’s snap back to reality:  you’re six months in, you’ve found that the shine has worn off, and PRs are tougher to come by.  You’re no longer making 5-10 pound jumps in your lifts every week and your benchmark times have leveled off.  Now progress isn’t achieved by merely showing up but rather earned with sweat, chalk, gut checks, and hard work in and out of the gym.  When you start hitting that wall, you have to consider if you’re content with your current state.

Do you want to be active and exercising for health and fun?  Or do you want to push your limits and strive to reach your genetic potential?  Only you can honestly answer these questions.  If you simply enjoy coming in to break a sweat, toss some weight around, and enjoy the camaraderie, we will help you meet those goals.  However, if progress is important to you, consider if your actions are in sync with that goal?  Put simply, progress becomes a matter of priority.

How can you help yourself?  Think if you have become comfortable using a specific color band, a certain size kettlebell, a particular height box, and how long you’ve been using it.  Understand that scaling is a two-way street.  We rarely see athletes scaling UP to make their workouts more challenging.   Progress is earned so if we want to be rewarded with PRs and progress, risk is involved.  You may have to swallow some pride for the next few workouts but, before you know it, you’ll be back to kicking-ass and taking names, wondering why you hadn’t made the jump sooner.  Consider the coaching staff your trusted advisors that will make sure you’re ready to make the jump, but we aren’t going to force anyone to take that step.  That willingness has to be intrinsic and if it’s not you may have to ask yourself the above question again.

How can we help your progress?  One area we are reviewing is our programming.  We feel that our programming has been top-notch in helping the average athlete achieve higher levels of fitness but has it really been enough to maximize your potential?  This is the question we grapple with constantly and lately we’ve taken a hard look at our programming and made some changes.  We started incorporating skill work sessions into the warm-ups and adding equipment like the ropes, tires, and rowing ergs.   We want to challenge your different energy pathways but do so in a way that’s logical.    As coaches we understand that there’s a balance to attain between maximizing intensity and maximizing work output  and sometimes a temporary decrease in intensity (and your self-esteem) might be a necessary compromise for long term progress.

I’ll be honest that it is really helpful to know what your goals are.  The way we coach, the movements we program, and our overall approach will be different if your goal is general health vs placing in the CrossFit games.  If you’re willing to take the steps then we coaches are willing to make the extra effort to get you there.  So, what’s the verdict…is progress a priority for you, and, if so, are you willing to risk in order to be rewarded?

WOD 03.16.11

Ring Inversion/Skin the Cat Skillwork

Hang Power Snatch 2-2-2

“30 or Bust”

4 Rounds:

You have 30 seconds to complete each station. If the 30 sec timer goes off you must stop and move onto the next station whether you finished or not. If you finish before the 30 sec timer, you can rest the remainder of the interval.

  • 2 Rope Climbs
  • 4 Hang Power Snatches
  • 6 Ring Dips
  • 8 Standing Broad Jumps
  • Rest

8 Comments to "Progress & Priority, Risk & Reward"

  • jeff says:

    March 16, 2011 at 7:49 AM -

    Terrific blog!

  • Nik Werre says:

    March 16, 2011 at 9:01 AM -

    Timely post Sean. Great writeup and speaks directly to me. IN other words, stop dabbling in 3 programs and do one – Thanks Ruth for that one.

    Also, very cool to see you guys challenging not only the members but also yourselves to improve.

    How did Aileen do in the Meet?
    Sean, how’s the Oly lifting going?


  • Pooja says:

    March 16, 2011 at 9:18 AM -

    greattt post Sean!!!!! i think its time i retire the red band and try using the blue/purple combination… face my fears =|

    see you tonight, can’t wait for the rope climb!!!

    1. ruth says:

      March 16, 2011 at 9:25 AM -

      Lol, I love your enthusiasm, though! Glad to hear you’re focusing your training a bit. Avelyne did really well! She pulled under a PR attempt for her CJ but couldn’t stand with it, mostly because it was around her front squat PR too!

  • Michael H says:

    March 16, 2011 at 11:00 AM -

    Well put Sean! I’ve had a lot of goats in my way and switching over to PLC, I can already feel the difference.

    Those that have hit their plateaus in strength portion of the WOD’s come to PLC :)

  • Tom says:

    March 16, 2011 at 11:00 AM -

    Excellent post Sean. There is a lot to be said about getting your mind right, regardless of the endeavor. Which means defining your goal and concentrating on it until its achieved. We all know that the brain usually quits before the body does. Thanks for the “food (paleo) for thought.”

  • Nik Werre says:

    March 16, 2011 at 12:04 PM -

    That’s awesome, my bad Avelyne not Aileen oops! Great to hear though.

    Did you get my email, I replied back to yours about the goals. Just wanted to make sure it went through – computer’s been acting weird.

    We’re focused on Oly lifting for a while now. I see a meet in the future…


    1. ruth says:

      March 16, 2011 at 3:32 PM -

      @Nik: got the email and reviewing it. I see a meet in your future as well!

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