My mom ran a mother’s day out program when I was younger. Frequently, I would hear people tell her about how “they really wanted to have a little more money saved before they got pregnant” but then, before whatever magic number was reached, they had a baby, and somehow, it all worked out. I lost count of how many times I would hear my very wise mother say, “If you waited until you had enough money, you’d never have kids.”
Isn’t that true of every aspect of life? If you wait until you’re ready (whatever ready means anyway) or you have enough (another ambiguous word) you’ll never start.
I don’t know your story or where you’ve been, and none of us know where we are going, but here’s what I do know: NOW. Now is the place of beginning. Now is grabbing the bull by the horns. Now is pulling yourself up by your bootstraps. Now is every single cliched motivational phrase. Why? Because there is magic in now. There is power in go. There is forward movement in, let’s do this. You can’t get anywhere closer to where you want to be without now. So, you want to lose a few pounds before you get in the gym? Forget that, come to the gym to lose a few pounds. Whatever you’re doing currently isn’t losing the weight. You think you need a little better cardio, or to be more flexible, or a little stronger before you’re ready to start? Whatever, start now, learn as you go, and get closer to your goals than you ever would while waiting to be ready. Just like those new parents who didn’t think they had enough money to have a baby, it will workout and you’ll realize you were more ready than you thought and you had enough to start, which turns out, is all you ever needed.
Sarah Pruitt is a Baptiste trained yoga instructor. You can find her teaching others how to connect with their breath and move with greater ease and fluidity every Wednesday morning at 9:30 and evening at 7:15 at CFW. As well as every Saturday at 8:30am (except the 3rd Sat of the month).
You don’t need another self help weight loss book. Nor are you lacking in the ability to change your life and health. You have everything you need. All that’s left is to decide, commit and do.
We make decisions every single day. Simple decisions like- What to eat for lunch.
Today I want sushi. I’m going to have sushi.
Whatever side of the sushi team you’re on- gross or yum isn’t the point. The thing is, nothing happens just because I decide and have committed to have sushi. I actually have to either go and get it or make my own. Otherwise I won’t have sushi.
Decide, commit, do and amazing things will happen.
The drops of rain make a hole in the stone, not by violence but by oft falling. -Lucretius
I like my 40 year old self a LOT better!
Nobody wants to hear it took two years or more to transform my body. Everyone is enamored with the 30 day, 60 day, shrink-wrap it in seconds, take this pill, eat this but not that malarky that abounds in the fitness industry. No one wants to hear, “Keep it up. Stay the course.” Most want you to say, “You’ll be skinny in 4 weeks!”
Many of you guys may have seen these pictures of me I posted a couple of weeks ago. The time frame between the two pics is about 13 years. Did it take me 13 years to get from one to the other? Short answer- no.
The “before” picture was in 2001 shortly after graduating chiropractic school. I was on a quest to get healthy. I began to ride my mountain bike, jog and hit the gym occasionally. When I started CrossFit in 2007, I was actually kind of skinny. I had run a few marathons and was looking for something to supplement my adventure race training. It took time to add weight and gain some muscle.
Coming into CrossFit training as an endurance athlete, I was shocked at how I stacked up against the competition. The CrossFit daily WOD was being completed by the likes of Chris Spealler and James Fitzgerald (OPT). I, like most, was in awe of their scores and would devour anything I could on how to improve. I learned quite a bit and loved geeking out on CrossFit. I’d watch every video posted by HQ, read the CF Journal and try to apply all my new found tech tips when I hit the gym. It was during this time that I began to learn one simple secret to improve at CrossFit.
Want to know that secret? Of course you do.
Here it is…keep moving forward.
I know, earth shattering. But as simple as that sounds, it’s not always easy to do.
In fact, many things can stand in the way of forward progress. Work, a hectic schedule, kids, illness, injury, etc. all can stop your momentum. I’m not saying to leave your kids at home with only the dog and hit the box while you have the flu. What I am trying to tell you is to figure out how to juggle your fitness goals and schedule in an optimum way. Don’t let something as simple as not being able to find matching socks keep you from your WOD. Plan ahead. Look at the week and know when you’re going to work out. Protect that time. Know that the hour spent in sweat is building the better you- drop by drop.
Out of my 3 marathons my best one was my third race at the Dallas White Rock marathon. I had followed a plan from Runners World that had me running only 3 days a week. I ran short intervals, mid distance tempo runs and long runs. I stayed injury free (even though it was the typical build up to a 20 miler 3 weeks out) and had a great run! Four weeks later, I won a 5k here in Waxahachie. Sure it was a small local race, but I was pumped!
A year later, I found CrossFit. The strength training was a challenge for me but I could still run well even though it was no longer my primary focus. Two years into CrossFit with zero extra run training, I ran the Cowtown Half and was only 5 minutes slower than my best! Again, pumped! This time for different reasons. I was enjoying the varied fitness CrossFit was throwing at me and at the same time I could still do well at another fitness endeavors that seemed totally unrelated.
Nighttime exchange after running just over 7.5 miles.
That’s right. At the event, I ran 24 miles over the course of 31 hours with only 5 specific training runs. Want to know what they were?
1) 200m repeats x10
2) 400m, 600m, 800m x3 (rest was equal to work)
3) 3 mile run
4) 3 mile morning run/ 3 mile evening run
5) 5 mile “long” run
What else did I do? I rowed, squatted, performed muscle ups, did double unders (rope jumps), push weight overhead. I did rounds of running and kettlebell swings with pull ups. In other words, I did CrossFit. It’s my sport. I love it. But what I truly love about it is the preparation it gives me for just about anything.
Deadlifts make runners and cyclists better hill climbers.
The C2C5 was by far my best race. I enjoyed it. I loved running with my teammates. I loved the fact that 10 out of the 11 of my team were CrossFitters who like me scarcely prepared for this race.
My teammates ROCK!
Am I the “best” runner I could be? No. I’m not a specialist. I’m just a guy who enjoys doing unconventional things and preparing for them in a different way than most.
Could you benefit from some strength training? Will something like this work for you? Most likely.
If you’ve got a “hole in your game” it’s going to bite you. As a recreational CrossFitter it might not be a big deal. It may just mean you’ll suffer a little bit more in a WOD or that you have to scale quite a bit. Again, no big deal. But if you want to compete in CF, holes matter.
We saw a gymnastic hole (handstand walk for distance) keep the 2013 Games champ on the women’s side out of a return trip to Carson in 2014. As fit as she is, Sam Briggs couldn’t make up for her poor performance in the HSW to catch up.
What’s your hole? Gymnastics? Strength? Flexibility? Skills like double unders? All of the above?
A team prowler push requires no skill but double unders post push…that’s a different story.
The good news is that there is a fix. It’s called practice. You have a chance to practice 3-5 days a week as you come in and warm up or cool down. The extra credit pieces we’ve been doing can go a long way to shore up your holes.
If you have a mobility or flexibility issue, no amount of working out is going to fix it. You have to spend time on a roller, with a band, at yoga (every Saturday) or stretching.
If the issue is strength there may be times that you can scale up and go slower in a metcon. This week has been a good example of using heavy weights in a conditioning wod where we’re more focused on effort than time. The “heavy Fran” allowed you to chip away at heavy thrusters and the max rep bench with no time component had you focus on effort each set. Turning off the clock in your head (and on the wall) let’s you focus on quality reps without getting sloppy. Strength work should never be done with compromised form. Set up, keep it tight and do work.
Gymnastics is another area that can slow down your WOD and hold you back. I remember when I was first working on handstand push ups. I could get one and then all of zero more without resting a minute or so. That meant the 21-15-9 in Diane were not going to happen quickly. So instead of working the full HSPU, I did negatives. I set up on the wall and did the lowering portion of the HSPU. Over time, I got stronger and stronger at this movement. Yes, it took time. All worthwhile things do.
So how do you get better at gymnastics movements? First, dial in your core. Movements like dead bugs and hollow rocks transfer essential midline stability necessary for good body control. Secondly, break it into pieces. A muscle up is a daunting task. Work on ring pull ups and ring dips combined with plenty of “walk thru” transitions or jumping transitions. Show your body where you want it to go and do it over and over. If you want to get good at handstand walks, you’ve got to have a decent amount of overhead strength and body awareness. But first things first, can you kick up against a wall and not crumble? Can you hold a handstand on the wall and lift a hand even for a moment? Can you hold and touch your shoulder? These would be good starting points. After that, working on freestanding balance is going to benefit you. How long can you hold it? Break it up and then put it all together.
I don’t want you guys to suffer (ok maybe just a little). I want your game to be solid. I want you to move well, be strong and have fun in your fitness endeavor. And if you go to compete, I want you to kick some tail and CRUSH IT!
Team heavy rope double unders? Better get to practice!