The alarm went off at 5:15am like it always does. Time to get up for breakfast and make myself look respectable before coaching the 6am CrossFit class at CrossFit 3018. The alarm goes off again 5:17am, fuck I really better get up this time. I hit the off button quickly and roll out of bed as fast as I can so I don’t receive a whack from my fiancé for waking her up twice. As my feet hit the ground I realise that my whole body hurts, like its crying, I take two more steps and help our Maltese Shitzu dog named Layla off the bed and as I lower her to the ground I realise that my joints are not very happy with me… Then again I remember that when I was 14 years old waking up to a sore back in the morning was fairly normal too. I’m double the age now and the morning wake up is much the same.
I make my way down the hallway of our rental and let my dog out to the loo. When I let her back in she dances around the house for around 2-3 minutes excited to say hello and then I put her back to bed with my fiancé and kiss her, our other dog Jeffrey and my Fiancé Gilly goodnight ( even though it’s the morning).
As I walk down the hallway this time I recognise a shift in my physical and mental state. Moments earlier I was frustrated, sore and thinking “bloody hell I’m ruined everything hurts”… This time round I am now fostering feelings of gratitude to my pets and my partner and an eagerness and curiosity for the day ahead.
The difference between the two hallway walks was nothing but a shift in focus. The second time I walked down the hallway in my rental I was grateful, present and more eager to start my day.
I always remind myself of this, because in a moment things can change.
So much of our life is spent on auto pilot, doing things we’ve always done and I like to remind myself of the power of a moment. In a moment my attitude can shift.
In this moment Id like to share with you the constants that you will experience when training based on my 15 years experience – first let me give you a snapshot of my current week.
Monday to Friday I like to get in around 7 sessions – 4 Weightlifting sessions of 60-90 minutes and 3 sessions including 1-3 WODs additionally I play around with some gymnastics movements in and around class times. I choose Saturday’s and Sunday’s as my rest days mainly because I recover better when I have rest days, by the weekend I look like a grandpa trying to get out of bed. I’m that sore and fatigued that the weekends seem to demand rest… I basically agree as these are also good family days so I avoid the gym as much as possible and I decide that these are the days where I allow my body to rest, recover and grow stronger. In saying this when I like the workout of the day on a Saturday and my body is not trashed its a real thrill to get involved and join in on the Wod with my team.
I’ve been training my arse off (since I was 13 years old) for 15 years and over 15 years of grinding away you realise that there is no escape from certain things.
– Muscle soreness and joint pain – The requirement for adaptability – Goal setting
Muscle soreness and joint pain.
If you are going to “train” and when I say train I mean, workout hard consistently to create results that inspire you. I don’t mean go to the gym and go through the motions, that is what I call exercise. Training is done to create a certain training effect such as jumping higher, running faster, lifting heavier or becoming the best athlete you can be in your chosen sport. So if you are going to train, you are going to hurt. There are going to be days when you feel brand new and you feel like you are walking on clouds… However these days will be rare. More common will be waking up with muscle soreness, old injuries will rear their heads up in the morning and late at night because this is the time when the body temperature is at its lowest so you feel more pain than when the sun is up.
The constant when you train is that you will wake up hurting 6 mornings out of 7. The variable is where you are sore and the what you focus on.
Sure everyday you will be sore, however a good training program will provide you with an adequate amount of soreness across your entire body across the week.
If your joints are sore like your spine or your knees or elbows then you can reduce the amount of plyometric drills (jumping and landing / high impact) that you expose yourself to as well as reduce the loading stimulus by reducing the amount of deadlifts, back squats and Kettlebell swings you do if your spine is sore and perhaps avoid heavy squats, running and jumping if your knees are hurting.
The second constant is that no two people are the same and no two people respond to the same training stimulus the same way. So where both athletes did the 12 x 3 deadlifts and the WoD yesterday, one athlete may wake up the next day brand new and their best mate may have woken up the next day totally trashed. Will this effect the quality and results during training over the next few day? You better believe it will.
This is why athletes need to be in close communication with the coaches so that the coaches can impart their education on the athletes. Training stressors are not the only stressors on an individual, other life stressors including career, relationships, financial, health, social will have an affect on the athlete and the quality of recovery they get. Other factors will include sleep, nutrition, downtime. With all these variables athletes need to be open and share with their coaches when they are particularly run down or under added stress. Too muscular agree will lead to sickness, injury, frustration, anger and reduced productivity.
With the athletes help and feedback, coaches will be able to provide their athletes with education and to also be adaptable with their training plans.
When I am programming for myself or for our team I am programming R+ for the fitness male and female in our gym. I am programming RXD as the CrossFit standard or as the standard I believe 40% of our athletes will reach and then the final 55% of our team will fit into the health and fitness or newbie categorie. That said the person who has the best clean and jerk may not be the best at double unders and running, therefor the person that one day does the R+ standard of workouts may be doing the health and fitness standard the following day. This type of programming can be hard to understand for new athletes and coaches need to be direct and patient when explaining their expectations for each athlete… however once you understand it you will notice that this programming allows you the athlete the ability to manage your traIning demands.
In our classes you have the opportunity to reduce or increase your training stimulus on days when your body is beaten up or feeling great and athletes also get to see the next level of performance with the fittest people in the gym hitting the R+ category and showing everyone what is possible.
“When the student is ready, the coach appears”… Ask more questions and communicate with your coaches.
Goal setting is the third constant. If you aren’t setting goals around what you want to achieve, then you’re wasting your time. A goal is merely an intention and intentions determine the results that you get because they direct your focus. A results focused person is easy to identify. They are the one that is on a mission, it’s like they have a certain amount of time and they use is wisely. Someone with a goal to achieve their first ever handstand push up might have a mini goal of being able to do a handstand or a walk walk. This person will be seen arriving at training 20-30 minutes early or sticking around late to prepare their body for this movement. Stretching their shoulders and lats, practising their wall walks and handlifts and encouraging other people to join in with them or asking others for advice. This is the power of a goal.
Goals direct focus. If your focus is blurry you will get blurry inconsistent results. I had many goals to achieve in 2015, weightlifting goals, strength goals and metcon (conditioning goals) and from this information I made a plan regarding what goal was most important to me. I decided it was the clean and jerk. By increasing my clean and jerk, my snatch would improve, my squats would improve and my conditioning will improve if I am using heavier weights in workouts. I then thought each day, what can I do today to increase my clean and jerk?
Every week I committed 2 days to some type of clean or hang cleans and jerk. I also decided I needed to add 5kg body weight to me so I regularly read information or listened to talks on gaining weight and strength. I knew if I learned and reinforced what I already knew consistently I would stay on track and remain focused. When I focused I will keep progressing. I spent a lot of hours weekly learning about the clean and jerk and that gave me new ideas on how to train the lifts and also how to get stronger. I mirrored the best athletes in the world and started applying their habits. I simply created habits that successful people had. I hired a new coach at 3018 to teach our members and me how to become a little bit better and arranged a weightlifting workshop to keep learning and progressing. In 9 months my clean and jerk went from 95kg to 115kg and my body weight went from 71kg to 76kg. I was also right, my snatch increased from 65kg to 88kg and my conditioning improved as I maintained consistency in my training and regular WODs. It’s important to note that things don’t always go to plan and over the last 15 years I have not always gotten the goals I have set for myself. What I have always gotten is improvement, better education and consistent action. I act more focused and consistently with goals set that inspire me. That is the other piece you must know how to set inspiring goals.
Here’s a little bonus, my top ten reasons for doing CrossFit:
10/ This is really a great community and all great success happens with great support 9/ Everyday I am challenged by what is ahead of me and rewarded by what I have overcome 8/ Each workout is different and varied, so much that sometimes I wonder whether I am getting any better but certaint that it is good for me and very stimulating 7/ I am kept accountable, if not from the constant variety exposing my weaknesses then from WODify, the computer system where I record all my scores and it gives me STARS when I improve on a previous performance 6/ Great coaching – Having great coaches (Passionate and Educated) means I am constantly learning and developing as an athlete and not just doing what I think is right in the corner 5/ No matter how hard the workout seems, it as hard as it is for me as it is for everyone else. “it doesn’t get easier, you just get better”. 4/ My body has transformed overtime and I love it. I was a skinny, 62kg before CrossFit and now I am 76kg of muscle and eating like a horse. 3/ Everyday I have to give my best because I am surrounded by a culture of excellence and giving any less than my best would be an insult to not only me, but everyone else too. 2/ I train with my Fiancé, my family and my friends. I led the way day in day out doing CrossFit and ever so slowly one by one, not all at once, but slowly my friends and family started noticing the benefits of this crazy thing I do and you do… and they are 1 by 1 by 1 continuing to join me. I love spending positive, energising time with my family. 1/ I am humbled daily about what is possible for the human body. I see transformations from people that could hardly run 100m to being able to WOD as hard as me and even beat me. I have experience personal progress in the way that I feel, lift, look and move. I have learned and become more educated about how to care for my body and I thought I was at my peak as a top 100 ranked Aussie tennis player. Sometimes I am scared, sometimes I am excited, sometimes I am exhausted and still I am certain that I am always getting better.