“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses – behind the lines, in the gym, and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights.” -Muhammad Ali
The 2018 CrossFit Games begin next week. They are the underlining reason I began CrossFit. They are no longer the reasons I do CrossFit. I now do it because I’m truly just beginning to understand fitness. I have a lot to learn and have a lot of old habits to try to comprehend the ‘why’.
This post is to explain the behind the scenes of Games focussed training. This is from the first generation of Teams training. As you know, or if you didn’t, the Games have changed….drastically.
Now, in order to qualify, you have to go through some of the most difficult qualification standards equivalent to Special Operations training (I’m not kidding). Except they aren’t training to fight bad guys. They’re doing it to exercise. Please keep that in mind. They’re professional exercisers. Being precise in your speech in rule 10 of life for a reason. Athlete is so vague. Let’s call a spade a spade shall we?
In my humble opinion, the best athletes in the world are too busy to train for sport. The unsung heroes of our military (GETTING AFTER IT est. 1776 #BRING IT ON) are too busy getting after it (it’s like another world yo) so we can enjoy our freedom (which is uh….AWESOME). But all the attention goes to these self-sponsored athletes who just train a metric sh*t ton. Seriously. Put in 10,000 hours at anything and you’ll be GOOD. How’s the fastest way to do that? Make it happen! Is it efficient? At what cost and what is the value of your soul to you? The training is BONKERS. It literally goes against health, both physical and very psychological….it goes against the very reason to exercise in the first place: health.
This post is just to show what it took to make it to Finals without any hope of medaling. Do you believe in the story of Troy? I do. The people at the Games don’t look like humans. They look like they’re from Troy. Do you know who made it back from Troy? I don’t want to spoil it. Stories are better in the in-between, right? 🙂
Training this way is a choice. Sadly, I know people who still train this way (it saddens me dearly as it makes sense…it’s a truth…let’s discuss). The psychological ramifications that this kind of training cause are NOT to be taken lightly. Not at all. The brain is an organism and adapts like the rest of the body.
So please enjoy the Games. But envy NOT these few people who train for sport. And say a prayer for those boys and girls overseas. They need all the love they can get.
Games Rule #1 – There is NO ‘Off-Season’
The ‘off-season’ (not a word – MADE UP – it’s now’o’clock – L.F.G!) consists of 30 Minute EMOMs after Strength sessions and an average of 1:30 of training time. That doesn’t include warm-up or cool-down. That’s 5 days a week. 1:30 x 5 = 7:30 of TRAINING TIME.
You also have to eat like an a**hole. In Sports Nutrition I learned the principle of nutrition timing and the proper ratio of Carbs to Protein. The ‘perfect elixir’ they recommended was Chocolate Milk. I drank a quart of it. That’s 100g of Sugar. I couldn’t have cared less. I wanted density and logic is dead when you’re your own physician, trainer, coach….and that’s not good….
That’s insane, right? Well, in sport you have to do what the competition is doing. That’s what sets the pace. That’s literally what makes sport so interesting and fascinating. Is it healthy? HA! This is a cognitive bias called a ‘sunk-cost fallacy’. It’s where you get attached to a certain way of doing things. Ever wonder why athletes have such a hard time quitting sport? Ever wonder why people have such a hard time kicking a habit? Same, same, but different.
I quit CrossFit after 2015 and began again in late April of 2018. I didn’t go cold turkey. I found something to keep me VERY BUSY during that time. It’s called Gymnastics Strength Training….That’s the inspiration behind the way I teach Gymnastics. You respect something when your taught properly. Gymnastics as an adult is one of the most humbling things you can ever do. Please start Yoga. The sooner, the better (6-7 months just to NOTICE change – HUMBLING 101)
April is when I began my journey at Locomotion Fitness. I never knew what CrossFit was before then. All I knew was Training for the Open, The Open, Regionals and watching the Games. Seriously, all my WODs were set up to maximize transition time (military training is FUN) The fact I got offered a slot on 808 is still something hard for me to comprehend (it was totally networking and I was actually retired from sport).
I’m relearning fitness and it’s AWESOMER (it’s a word – it means more awesome than awesome…which is like the pinnacle of awesome) than ever! So in hindsight/retrospect (looking back) there’s lots to appreciate. Alas, education calls for APPLICATION.
Games Rule #2 – Sport Isn’t Healthy
Sport is fun. But wishing ill on your fellow man is not. If you think for a second everyone is having a good time there I’d like you to reconsider. Sport is war. There are no friends. Everyone’s got a mask on. It’s psychological warfare at it’s finest. That’s a terrible way to look at it. Did I have a good time? Competing, yes. Training, NO. There was no slack. I had multiple injuries and knew there was no hope until sport was done.
Everyone at that level is training hurt. That doesn’t make sense but it’s true. I was training so much that my hormones were beyond jacked up. That’s not good. I didn’t dream during my training. That’s a tell tell sign that something within the body is drastically wrong.
I didn’t care. You can’t. You’re slot isn’t guaranteed. You’re fighting just to keep it every single training day. Imagine training like your constantly being watched. Does that sound like fun to you? To be judged constantly? Sport isn’t healthy.
Games Rule #3 – Being a Spectator is WAY more Fun!
Seriously, don’t for a second think I didn’t appreciate it. Being under that ‘do or die’ pressure pushes you WAY out of your comfort zone. It stretches it beyond anything imaginable. That’s the beauty of competition but not sport. There’s a difference. You can sign up for a competition. In sport – it’s your job. Belichick says, ‘do your job.’ In sport, God help you if you don’t. There is no mercy on performance in game day. That’s the double-edged sword of sport. Especially in a sport that literally tests the ‘unknown and unknowable’. That’s LEGIT. That’s A TEST. That’s the personification of challenge.
That’s what we experience in The OPEN. Do that. Look forward to that. Few things were more rewarding than my experiences in the Open. Very few. So come the spring and come the end of February: Standby to get some.
On multiple occasions I learned more about myself than I could ever hope to. I proved my competence to myself over that damnable voice that kept telling me my good wasn’t good enough time and time again. Even the times I wasn’t doing CrossFit I did the Open. I did that on at least 3 occasions (2012, 2016 and 2017). I wanted to test my fitness and that’s literally the proving grounds. We’ll have us a good ol’ time. Believe that!
But that’s why I wanted to be there in the first place. I never cared about a medal. It was the self-imposed judgment day where it was whatever it was supposed to be. Amor Fati (for love of fate) at it’s very reckoning. Being so close to a medal in 2014 was a kick in the nuts but that’s sport baby (but seriously, BuckFob – the ‘big’ sled). 2015 is where the super teams emerged. Getting 4th place was like icing on the cake but that was the end. The game had obviously changed. Those guys make movement look like art. So dreamy but they’re in a league of their own.
There is simply no hope for anyone not born with a royal flush in the ACTIVE gene expression pool. You know those athletes. They’re called Olympic caliber. You know one when you see one. Their first day at the gym they could qualify to nationals at….whatever. They’re 6+ feet and move like a cat. They defy physics. They are lovely to watch but don’t for a second think too highly of them. They are the exception rather than the example.
The Takeaway From The Games
They’re just athletes. They’re human. The only thing they’re doing that your not is attacking their weaknesses with a unrelenting attitude….and working out A LOT (in hindsight that made a great use of time and allowed me to save money in the military – both of which are notoriously uncommon in the military)
If anything I’ve said thus far, that is the take away.
Adopt the attitude of attacking your weakness and hitting the workout of the day with the utmost of your willpower you can muster for that day.
Lifting Heavy is a feeling not a number. Challenge thyself but know thy limits. Stretch your courage zone DAILY! No slacking, no excuses. Only taking ownership of YOUR world and getting after it.
Each workout has a purpose. Understand what it is and do what is necessary to meet that purpose. If you don’t know it. Ask. Believe me. Jay and I are experienced in the proper stimulus’ these workouts are designed to elicit. We can tweak it so you’ll have a good ol’ time and getchya some at the same time. You HAVE to perform them a certain way to induce the stimulus. If you don’t know. ASK. Don’t fool yourself. Fitness is simple NOT easy.
Getting better is a campaign.
Training for health is a campaign. A never ending campaign. Sprints are, by design, unsustainable. Most people quit. Don’t be ‘most people’. Decide that normal is boring. Decide to be a part of a community where mediocrity will no longer suffice. Make the decision to show up NO MATTER WHAT. Make a decision to get after it 5-6 days a week. It’ll make you stronger than you can possibly imagine. You are stronger than you know.
Like who you are but LOVE who you are becoming. You are a peacock. I want you to fly!
DO YOGA AND WORK ON YOUR MOBILITY. This will be the most ignored fact in everything I say. But I will keep saying it….as I keep crushing my weaknesses….thanks to Beth and Yoga. I contribute my current physical abilities due to this, which I didn’t get a chance to work on until after I stopped competitive training. Now that’s a dichotomy 😉
So please, enjoy the Games. Enjoy what the human body is capable of doing. Enjoy the SPORT. The ever so awesome drama that is the sport of the unknown and unknowable. Especially the ladies! Let’s GO USA (we’ve been in a dry-spell for a bit…) But do not train for sport. Train for YOU. Find your WHY. Find it and get after it.
Look in the mirror, that is your competition. And learn your drishti and get your YOGA on! I’ll see you Saturdays.
Or don’t. WTF do I know? 🙂