As those of you that are in the Whole Life Challenge know, we are almost halfway through our 6-week adventure! Congrats on a job well done so far! One of the themes I’m seeing the most on everyone’s daily reflections and hearing from people at the gym is a struggle to stop eating things that they know they shouldn’t. “I can’t cut out bread for lunch,” or “I need that glass of wine at night.” It’s a daily hurdle for me too, to not eat a sandwich because it’s convenient or to not have a beer at the end of a long day, and I understand that it’s not because I think those things are good for me, or that I disagree with the setup of the nutrition plan I committed to – it’s because I like those things! They taste good! And why would I deprive myself of that?
My friend Liz (6am class, rock-solid squat clean) recently lent me a book called Insight, and it’s about becoming self-aware. After the standard opening chapter about how great the book will be, in the second chapter they immediately get into the weeds of knowing yourself. Right off the bat, they ask you, “what are your values?” Understanding what my personal values are is an exercise I’ve done a few times, notably when changing careers or asking myself why I’m doing something really hard. “Why am I doing this long-ass endurance event again? Why am I opening this business? Why am I not going to quit?”
The Whole Life Challenge is an endurance event, people. So, if you want to figure out how to get motivated, how to talk yourself out of a decision that you know is not “compliant” with the challenge, then ask yourself this question — why are you doing this in the first place? What personal value do you hold dear that pushed you toward the challenge? What pushed you into CrossFit Kent Island before that? If you can answer that question, then you can face that devil on your shoulder when he’s saying “have a cookie, everyone else is doing it!”
But how do you figure out what your values are? Borrowed from the book Insight by Tasha Eurich, here are a few questions to help you figure it out:
1. What values were you raised with? Do those reflect your values now?
2. Who do you most respect, and what do you respect about them?
3. Who do you least respect, and what makes you feel this way?
4. When it comes to raising a family or mentoring others, what behaviors would you most want to instill?
You might also check out a list of personal values to get the mental juices flowing – just Google “personal values” and you’ll find a bunch of sites that offer such lists, including one I like from Scott Jeffrey that categorizes them into themes like “Creativity”, “Achievement”, “Strength”, etc.
Try to pick 3-5 key values that really hit home for you, that really get you fired up like “YES, that’s what I stand for!” I bet one of them is either Health or Fitness or Tight Abs. If you guys joined a CrossFit gym and you don’t value one of those then we need to talk. But maybe another one is Integrity. Maybe one of yours is Toughness, or Courage. Whatever they are, I encourage you to wrap these into your morning ritual (if you’re not still doing that, get back into it – it is so valuable to get your day started on the right foot!) Here’s what you do – when you’re up and you have a nice glass of water or mug of coffee in your hand, as you’re thinking about how your day is going to go, review your list of personal values. I have mine in the Notes app on my phone, and so every morning I read them: Integrity, Discipline, Health, Family, Service. I bet one of those can get me through a momentary nutrition crisis. If I’ve determined that I really value Discipline, if that is one of the words that I choose to define myself, then I better damn well be able to pass up that “just because” drink. If Integrity is something I cherish, and I signed up for this challenge, then doesn’t going off-script nutrition-wise fail that test?
Look at your values every morning and they will support you throughout the day, as you remind yourself who you are and what you’re really about. Good luck with the rest of the Whole Life Challenge, and best of luck to everyone in finding your values and then holding yourself to them when it counts!
Have any of these situations ever happened to you?
You have to give a presentation in front of a large group, you haven’t started preparing yet and the stress of getting up there is eating you up.
Or maybe even closer to home — you are committed to coming into the gym tomorrow for the 6am class, but then you see the workout and it looks even more daunting than others. You have no idea how you’re going to get through 150 wallballs without barfing – that’s a crazy number, there’s no way!
Let’s get real here and talk about the Whole Life Challenge, for those of you participating. You’ve committed to doing your best with a pretty strict nutrition plan, something that represents a big shift in how you used to eat. But then you look at your schedule and today is going to be a crazy day, lots of running around and definitely out of your normal routine. What I’ve experienced up to this point (4 days in!) is that I feel even more stressed out about my diet during these crazy days because I feel stuck eating something that is convenient and not nutritious, or going hungry for a long period of time because I don’t have access to good food. Does that sound familiar to anyone else out there?
Looking back at all these situations, they all could be vastly improved by some dedicated preparation time, and then a little mental rehearsal. Those of you that have done any SCUBA diving may have heard the saying, “Plan your Dive, Dive your Plan.” Planning your dive means mapping out what is going to happen, and then a “dirt dive” would be rehearsing the plan before you get in the water. Let’s apply that to these stressful scenarios and see how the stress can be relieved by following the process.
The first situation about public speaking is rather obvious – the more you prepare, the more you start to feel better about your prospects of delivering a solid presentation. Then after preparing the speech, you spend some time rehearsing it in your mind, thinking of audience questions that might come up and how you would respond, or what you would do if the projector didn’t work.
In the “daunting workout” scenario, dissecting the workout into smaller, doable pieces is the appropriate preparation step, rather than stressing out over a huge mountain of reps. 150 wallballs breaks up in to 15 sets of 10, right? Just do 10 and take a break. Not bad at all. Then when you have a plan, you can visualize that plan in your head, and having successfully completed the workout once mentally, the actual execution on gameday — diving your plan — is not as big of a deal.
Bringing the preparation and rehearsal into your nutrition plan is not that big of a stretch, and will save you a ton of grief (and hunger). Each night, as you’re thinking about the next day’s schedule, plan out what you’re going to eat! What are you going to have for breakfast, and what do you need to do to get that ready? Making breakfast ahead of time (and maybe even a big batch of it for future crazy mornings) is always a good strategy. Do you need a mid-morning healthy snack to bring with you? Where are you going to eat lunch, and if you’re at a restaurant, what can you get that complies with your nutrition plan? Or even better – are there some leftovers from tonight’s dinner in the fridge that you can bring to work with you? Don’t be that guy that reheats fish in the microwave, but anything else is pretty much fair game! When you’re done drawing out your nutrition plan for the day, go through it one more time and try to poke some holes in it – is there anything else that you might need to prepare for and have another healthy snack on board just in case? The planning and quick run-through won’t take more than a couple minutes, and then you can spend any time needed to actually prep your breakfast and snacks. You’ll go to bed feeling positive about your extra planning effort, and wake up ready to hit the ground running!
I hope this helps you out if you’ve had some stress about complying with the Whole Life Challenge or any plan that you are doing your best to follow. Take the time to “plan your dive”, thinking about how your meals and snacks will fold into your busy day, and you’ll be much more successful at making it happen!
As you may have heard, either at the gym or one of the many online sources of CrossFit news, the CrossFit Open is gearing up to start very soon! Beginning on February 22nd, one workout will be announced on Thursday evening for five straight weeks. Each week, you have until Monday evening to complete the workout and log your score. And I really want all of you to do it!!
There are a few reasons that I feel like this is a great idea for all of our members, beginning with one that you might see coming from previous blog posts — personal challenges are important! I believe in periodically signing up for and then leaning into a challenge that will test you, whether that is physically, mentally or emotionally. Many times it will be all three! As you take on that challenge and emerge victorious on the other side, you will be stronger and more resilient for the next one! As far as “victory” is concerned here, please don’t think I expect you to win anything as part of competing in the Open. Victory in this sense will mean that you have given your all to each weekly test, and have timestamped a level of fitness for Spring of 2018 that you can then use as a benchmark for next year’s different but equally tough CrossFit Open.
That brings me to Reason #2: The Open is a great way to have an annual, comprehensive test of your fitness. True, long-distance runs or other pure endurance events are not included, but as those of you that checked out yesterday’s “17.1” WOD at CFKI, there are some pretty long tests of continuous movement that will tax your cardiorespiratory system quite a bit. There will also be short sprint workouts, tests of power and strength, and tests of skill (double-unders and muscle-ups come to mind!) What a good way to see how you have advanced in these individual capacities, as well as where you end up at the conclusion of the Open this year, as opposed to last year. Or again, if this is your first year competing, throw down a good baseline this year and then train hard to wreck it in the Spring of ’19!
Finally, as CrossFit Games commentator Rory McKernan says, the Open “is what we do.” Competing in the CrossFit Open binds you together with the rest of the CrossFit community for 5 straight weeks of competition and community. On Thursday nights at 8pm when the workouts are announced, you’re glued to the CrossFit Games live feed waiting to see what it’s going to be, and then you get to watch two (or sometimes more) big-time competitors you might have seen in the Games last year find out at the same time and then throw down head-to-head! On Friday the Open workout will be our Workout of the Day, and it always seems to be a bit more meaningful if you have some skin in the game — if you know you’re going to enter your score on the CrossFit Games leaderboard to see where you stack up against all the greats, but also against everyone else like you! You can filter the leaderboard to show you everyone in your age range, in the Mid-Atlantic region, even in Maryland! The workouts will have an “Rx” version and a “Scaled” version that everyone can do.
I’ll hope you’ll join us in having fun and testing your fitness in the CrossFit Open this year!
PS – here is a cool link that David Minich found that breaks down what movements and types of workouts have been in previous Opens, in order to predict what this year might have in store for us!
“How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”
As I was briefing the 10am class on “Angie” today – a brutal high-rep chipper of pull-ups, push-ups, sit-ups and squats – I began to review the standards of the push-up. What ended up coming out of my mouth as I exhorted all of our members to meet the standards on every rep was a bit of a preemptive reaction to what I would be thinking if someone decided to NOT meet the standards. I said, “Show some respect for the other athletes in class that are doing the same workout you are, and get your chest all the way to the ground.” I immediately recoiled a bit in my head and the little angel-coach on my shoulder said “Take it easy, bro.” You don’t want to know what his devil buddy said.
To those in the 10am class, I hope you know I didn’t mean to call anyone out before the workout even started, and I certainly don’t mean this blog post to be about anyone in particular — this is something we all need to think about, myself included! Those of you that have worked out with Denee and I have undoubtedly heard her yell at me to “stand all the way up in that squat!” And there are those that although they understand the standards, cannot meet them because of mobility constraints. The struggle is real, keep grinding away and get a little better every time! But I do feel strongly about meeting agreed-upon standards, and I thought I would try to explore why in this week’s post.
Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Bad news, I thought you’d say that. If you said good news, you’re a weirdo, but I guess go to the next paragraph first and then come back here.
When you choose not to meet a standard, it’s not a victimless crime. Whether you’ve done 100,000 or 100 push-ups in your lifetime, you know that it’s not an easy movement, but it’s doable and some might even say worthwhile to build physical and mental endurance. If you start cutting some reps short and other people see you do it (and guess what, they do), it affects them in the sense that it dampens their will to compete against you because they know the deck is stacked, and maybe even creates a lack of respect.
It also affects you! Lowering your personal standard in order to put up a good score or beat someone else reinforces that nagging feeling that maybe you’re not very fit, or that you can’t compete straight-up against your peers.
Phew! But now the good news. When you do consistently meet that standard, there is a positive consequence to you and others. To others — you motivate them. They see you working hard and they want to emulate what you are doing. You are a role model. To yourself — by upholding the standard that you understand and outwardly agree to, you are practicing a value that we call integrity.
Integrity is when your thoughts, words, and actions are aligned. Practicing integrity, being honest with yourself and others about what you say or think you’re going to do, is something that gets easier with time. When you break that bond of integrity, the confidence that you will maintain it in the future erodes. But the more that you keep your word — when you follow through with consistent actions — confidence is built up and your character will grow strong.
In conclusion, the answer is yes. You do kick ass. You are prioritizing your fitness and your happiness above many other things in life that don’t deserve as much attention, and that is amazing. Take some time in the new year to think about what your values are. If integrity — holding yourself to a high personal standard of matching your thoughts, words and actions — is one of them, I applaud you! If it’s not now, but you would like it to be, treat your time in the gym as not only a time to gradually increase that level of fitness, but also a time to practice integrity. Understand what needs to happen, internalize it as your personal standard, and then hold the line.
If you’ve been reading our blog for a while, you might remember that in May of 2017 we had our 5-year anniversary as a business! We took that as an opportunity to take a look back at where we came from, and to reinforce the direction we’re going. Now that 2017 has come to a close, let’s look back at the year in pictures as well as some of your great results!
As 2017 started, we celebrated a state championship in fundraising for Barbells for Boobs! Coach Jason’s leadership in getting us organized and motivated was a key driver in our success, as well as all of your persistence in requesting cash money from your family and friends for this great cause. As 2017 came to a close, with even more donations rolling in in the last few days, we are currently on top again in Maryland with a total of more than $8,300! It’s too early to declare victory, as any checks that are mailed in or final corporate matching gifts need to be included, but it’s looking good for a second straight state title! Back to back!
Last winter we also started working with one of our local Kent Island travel baseball teams. They came in once a week to work on their conditioning for the season and hopefully to also gel as a team. They and we had a blast coaching them through some tough workouts, and building their skillset to include rope climbs and sled pushes! Thanks to Lori and Denee for the help wrangling these youngsters and maintaining their focus on constantly getting better! We are back in session with these guys now, having just completed our first workout of the 2018 season this week.
In March, as always, the CrossFit Open arrived and wrecked us all for several days at a time. This year we played with dumbbells for the first time in the Open, including 17.1’s wicked combination of DB Snatches and Burpee Box Jumps. Ugh. Can’t wait for the Open to start up again in a couple months!!
In early spring we also implemented our new Wodify membership and workout management system. There have been bumps in the road, as with all new software, but overall I am very pleased with the increased functionality and seamlessness of having all of our information in one spot. Many of you love the ability to view each other’s workout results and “like” them too!
On Monday, July 24th at 1:30am, a tornado tore through the center of Kent Island, displacing many people including several of our members and coaches. We banded together with True Core CrossFit and BayDog CrossFit in Annapolis for a fundraising workout and cookout, and raised $4K+ to be distributed among families on Kent Island that needed it. This was just one more great example of our members coming together to help those in need, an AWESOME theme of our community.
Those special events were huge milestones in our year, but there were amazingly special things happening every day in the gym as well! Our community grew in an unprecedented way, and the results that you guys were putting up on our new e-whiteboard were incredible!! Here are some of those results gleaned from our shiny new Wodify reporting tool:
– Our membership grew from 84 athletes in the beginning of the year to 111 in December, an awesome 32% growth rate that we haven’t seen since 2013!
– You all attended 5.6K classes, with Rich Bruce (170 classes) and Sam Roberts (157 classes) leading the league!
– There were 416 personal records (PRs) shattered – and remember that means you have to have had a previous PR listed in Wodify to break it! Matt Smith had 27 new PRs, and Cathie Weishaar had 25!
I hope you are all as proud of these accomplishments in 2017 as I am, and ready to keep this momentum going into 2018! Here’s to a great time challenging our nutrition and lifestyle habits with the Whole Life Challenge this winter, going right into an awesome performance in the CrossFit Open!
As an aspiring writer, especially in the realm of fitness and self-improvement, I love reading the CrossFit Journal. They have some amazing writers that contribute articles, as well as pretty hilarious videos on a regular basis. This one caught my eye as one to share with you all, because of the vivid writing style (you’ll see what I mean), as well as the amazing yet familiar story it tells. It’s an article about a guy that started CrossFit, and dutifully went to classes but still doubted his ability. And then something happened, and I’ll let him tell the rest of the story. Please do read it, maybe it’s something you can directly relate to, or maybe it will just provide some extra motivation when you need it!
“I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”
– Bruce Lee
We have some really great coaches at CrossFit Kent Island. They can all command a big group, can teach and motivate individuals, and they genuinely care for others’ wellbeing and their success. Those qualities alone would place someone at the top of a Best Coaches list anywhere. But one more thing that I truly appreciate about our coaches, and that I know you all appreciate too, is that they move really well. Have you ever watched one of our coaches do a thruster or a handstand push-up and thought to yourself, “Wow, that looked like crap.” Nope, neither have I!
Have you ever wondered how that happened? How did Jason’s deadlift technique get to the point where his setup on the bar is bulletproof and he can lift almost triple his bodyweight? How did Lori get every one of her kipping pull-ups to look exactly the same, knocking out more reps after everyone else is beyond tired? How did Alyssa figure out how to snatch so much weight over her head? Maybe they were born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline. But I’d bet (because I know it to be true) that they have spent hours working on those skills, watching others that move well and imitating, practicing and asking for feedback, and mastering each component until they were satisfied and ready to move on to the next progression in that skill.
I’ve heard from several people going through the On-Ramp program, “Man, you made that look easy” as we are working on stringing together Double-unders or Toes-to-bar. And my answer is generally that it is easy for me now, but it wasn’t always! All of our coaches have gone through the frustrating struggle of learning new skills, and we are incented to do that constantly so that we can make it look fluid and mechanically correct for those we are coaching. The side benefit of all that self-development work is an ability to move flawlessly and efficiently for as long as possible, and thus an increased level of fitness.
So if you want to look like Tristan when he does a perfect air squat, or Denee when she does 20 strict handstand push-ups, you have to follow the process. It’s simple, but not easy.
Here we go:
1. Be coachable. If a coach zeroes in on you in the warm-up, asking you to get lower in that squat or to lock out the barbell over your shoulders and not out in front, don’t take offense! They have identified something for you to work on, that’s a gift! Take on that feedback and make a point of thinking about that one improvement as you train. The more you continue to move correctly, the easier it will become!
2. Make an improvement plan. If what you need to improve on is not currently possible, due to mobility or strength deficiencies, then you know what the gap is. Put together a plan to address it. A coach can help you with that! I think you’ll notice their eyes will even light up when you ask for help. The plan could include some extra work that you need to do outside of class time, in Open Gym or before/after class. It could also just mean a targeted scaling plan for future workouts, using your improvement goal as the scaling reason. For example, if I need to improve on my squat mobility, I am going to go super-light or even just go to air squats in weighted squat workouts so that I can focus on perfect technique. If I need to get stronger pressing overhead, then in a Thruster/Double-under workout I am going to scale back the number of double-unders to accomplish, and make sure I have a heavy-ass barbell in my hands for the thruster.
3. Put in the work. Here comes the “simple but not easy” part. Everybody loves making plans, putting together lists of things to accomplish. Actually checking those things off the list is where many fail. It takes discipline and dedication to get it done. It’s going to involve some frustration, and require heavy doses of patience and toughness. I know I already threw a quote at you up top, but here’s another one from Jocko Willink. “If you want to be tougher, be tougher.” Developing mental toughness simply requires you to be tougher in situations that demand it. Decide to be tougher than your excuses to not put in the work. We’re all tired, and we all have way too much work to do. For some people, the tough people that get shit done, those things just don’t matter.
To close this post out where I’ve asked you all to get in here and put in work, I’d like to announce that effective immediately we are expanding Open Gym time for an extra hour on the front end. Open Gym is now 11am to 1:30pm each weekday, and I hope you can find some time to make it in!
In 2018 we will also be hosting a Double-under clinic with some professional jump-rope instructors, as well as offering some gymnastics skill seminars with our own Coach Alyssa! Stay tuned for more information soon there.
Until next time, train hard, have fun, and practice those skills!
We’re doing the CrossFit Total today at CFKI, and coaching classes of athletes through this brute strength workout got me thinking. I’m thinking about how this test of a 1RM Back Squat, 1RM Strict Press, and 1RM Deadlift has shone a spotlight for some people on a weakness in their overall fitness. And for others, it hasn’t exposed anything but strength! So good for you if you are in the second camp, but that in itself should provoke some self-analysis in terms of bringing your fitness game to the next level. Coach Greg Glassman, the founder of CrossFit, outlined 10 general physical skills that should all be included in our definition of fitness. They are cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy. Every movement that we include in a workout at CrossFit Kent Island tests at least one of these, and some of the more frequently-used movements are popular because they test several skills at one time (ahem… wallballs…) So if you have the strength box checked, maybe it’s time to refocus your energy on a general skill area or movement that remains an Achilles Heel when it pops up in a workout, rather than re-doubling your effort on that 400-lb squat.
So, what do you REALLY need to work on? Let’s think about that question from the perspective of a few fictional athletes completing today’s WOD.
Joanna finished the CrossFit Total today in record time, even though it was not a timed event. She is an experienced squatter, and so quickly moved through the warm-up and ended up PR’ing her Back Squat by 5 pounds for a happy 175-lb effort! Moving onto the Strict Press, Joanna knew it would be a struggle — Strict Presses have never been “her thing” — but was feeling confident from that PR and put her previous best weight on the bar for a warm-up. She pressed her warm-up weight for one rep, and failed on the next set! Oops, I guess we haven’t improved there. Regrouping, she got an impressive 10-lb PR on her Deadlift in about 15 minutes, stretched her legs, and headed out the door to work!
Joanna’s experience with the CrossFit Total would lead me to believe that one thing she needs to work on is upper-body strength, at the very least on overhead pressing. Staying after class for 15 minutes once per week to do 3 sets of 5 Strict Presses, Push Presses, or Jerks (maybe alternating weeks between the three) would be a great first step in shoring up her strength imbalance.
Christopher is a monster with some weights in his hands, and he’s pumped when he sees the CrossFit Total on the nightly blog. He walks into the gym a couple minutes late for class, some last-minute work emails got in the way, and jumps on the bike to catch up with the class. His Deadlift and Press numbers during the WOD are definitely at the high end of the class, and his Squat numbers would be too but he’s been feeling really tight lately. Well, I guess his whole life he’s had tight hamstrings and back problems, so what are you gonna do? His squats at 225 lbs are suspect, and as he loads more on the barbell the depth of his squats are such that they don’t count as full reps. He works with the coach on technique adjustments to help get lower, and it works sometimes if he really concentrates and gets as low as he can in an air squat, but that bottom position is very uncomfortable so he does a few more reps at 315, getting as low as he can.
Christopher is a strong dude, and I would pick him on my side in a fight any day, but a well-rounded athlete he is not. Luckily, putting some effort into his squat mobility — what he REALLY needs to work on — will increase his comfortable range of motion relatively quickly, and for him the sky is the limit in terms of gains that will materialize with better flexibility and pain-free movement. To be clear, I’m saying that improving your mobility will also increase your strength, stamina, endurance, balance and agility. It starts with putting some focus into your pre-WOD and post-WOD mobility – don’t show up late or jet right after class! That is the bare minimum that we all need to put in to get primed to move, and then to recover. After that, stay for 15 minutes to do 3 more personal drills that any of our coaches could prescribe and you could add to your regimen, or come to one of our Mobility sessions once per week, and use the knowledge gleaned there to work at home for 10 minutes per day. Christopher is never going to be an ideal picture of mobility, that title is reserved for those that are genetically gifted to be super-flexible. But he can definitely make improvements, and they will go a long way.
My last example will be Yolanda, who also needs no introduction to the barbell, and is pretty fresh since she hasn’t been into the gym since last week. After all, the past two WODs have been pretty endurance-heavy, and that’s not really in her wheelhouse so she decided to stay home and do some push-ups or sit-ups or something. She wants to see those abs, so she’s been working sit-ups into the rotation more often when she thinks about it. When it comes to her max lifts in today’s CF Total, she’s a little bit underneath her current PRs and generally felt a little sluggish. She just PR’d her Deadlift and Press last month at Open Gym, so it’s not really a big deal, and she definitely has the highest total of any of the females in class today.
Yolanda is strong, and has consistently been getting stronger which is awesome. But her workout choices show a neglect for other facets of her fitness, and that’s not going to help her quest for abs. She has no glaring weaknesses in the CrossFit Total, which is a sure sign that what she REALLY needs to work on is not strength at all, as much as it might be fun to do. How about committing to hitting at least one workout a week that “doesn’t look fun”, or even show up to class without knowing what the workout is? Leave the programming up to your coach, and just show up and give your best effort. Gradually, the parts of your game that you haven’t practiced too much will not be apparent weaknesses, and you might find there are some pretty fun gymnastics skills out there!
Maybe you can categorize yourself into the Joanna group, the Christophers, or the Yolandas of the world. Maybe your current fitness situation doesn’t fit neatly into one of these. Wherever you are, take a moment to analyze first what you’re good at, and then where you need to put in some work. Start with the 10 general physical skills that make up “fitness,” and then maybe drill down from there to specifics. Like we said to Christopher above, your weakness will probably not ever become a strength compared to the other skills you are naturally gifted at, but it sure as hell can get better. You’ve all proven that!
Until next time, I’ll see you in the gym, working on my overhead squats!
Some of you may know I was interviewed a couple months ago by Athlete Daily, a fitness blog, about my experience with SEALFIT, and specifically how it helps with my CrossFit training. Check out that article here if you missed it!
Denee and I were talking the other day about staying productive and efficient during the day, based on a quote we had both just read from the Daily Stoic, “Life is not short, we just waste too much of it.” Out of that discussion, we started talking about making sure that we were doing everything we could fitness-wise outside of the gym to recover well, and not spend too much time on things that would adversely affect fitness. I started thinking about writing a blog about this, and then randomly opened Athlete Daily’s blog to check out if they had anything.
Enjoy, and think about one thing in this article that you need to improve on. Make a plan, and get to work!
“You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.”
– C.S. Lewis
Denee came across this quote the other day and sent it to me, and I love it for it’s simplicity and applicability to so many situations in our lives.
One audience that comes to mind immediately for me is folks that are having a hard time starting a workout regimen like CrossFit. You’ve all probably heard it as many times as I have, “I want to do CrossFit, but I need to get in shape first.” Think about where you were in your fitness journey before you started working out at CFKI. Even those of us that THOUGHT we were in shape were rudely awakened with our first few WODs. So, if you hear this from someone, remind them that their starting point doesn’t matter, what matters is that they do start.
Of course, this quote could also apply to all of us that have taken the leap and are serious about our fitness. Now I’m thinking of the upcoming holidays that will disrupt our work, family, and fitness schedules to no end. Many of us spend a lot of extra time in the gym before the holidays and plan to do the same afterward, to account for our plan to not work out or eat right at all during that stretch from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day. We’re automatically writing off that whole time as a “no fitness zone”, but that doesn’t have to be the reality!
If you really tear it up on Thanksgiving, layering on the turkey and stuffing with two pieces of pie (you have to try them both) and then 6 beers watching football on the couch, that’s fine! Another great quote to live by during the holidays is “Everything in moderation, including moderation.” So, don’t beat yourself up and feel guilty about going overboard once in a Blue Moon (get what I did there?). That leads down a spiral that can continue the debauchery for much longer than you planned. In addition to enjoying all the food and drinks with your friends and family if you’re away from home, spend some time hiking outside or tossing the football in the backyard. If you’re at home, take some “me time” to get to the gym in the morning before the whole crew is awake. You’ll feel great from the endorphins released when you move around with a purpose, and because you know you’ve once again committed yourself to a healthy lifestyle.
Finally, I’m sure we can all read that quote and think of another area of our life that it really seems to fit. Something that you know you should be doing but haven’t been able to pull the trigger. That feeling that is holding you back may be a fear of failure or even just a fear of the unknown. “What if I make the leap and things suddenly are a lot different?” Or maybe it’s just that the objective you have in mind is so daunting when you look at the big picture that it seems like too much to bite off at one time.
Thinking about our quote again though, we’re never going to be able to find the perfect starting point, the perfect beginning. The thing to do is to take small actions that lead toward your future state. As part of your morning routine, identify ONE THING you can do today to make progress toward your goal. In the evening, reassess where you are and determine the next appropriate action toward your goal. The next morning, review your plan and then go out and take action again! As you continue progressing toward that final objective, the bigger picture will come more into focus and your momentum will keep you energized.
So in the end, whether we’re talking about starting or maintaining our commitment to fitness and health, or even creating a meaningful change in our lives, the process is simple but not easy. Wherever we are in the continuum of “ready”, all we need to do is start. Take one step in the right direction, which leads to another… and the rest is your story!