Taking note

By Melissa, who is gunning for five gorgeous dead hang pull-ups

Last weekend, we visited CrossFit Denton County and presented both our Foundations and Trainer’s nutrition workshops.  We brought along a special guest for this particular Trainer’s event – Dutch Lowy, CrossFit Level II trainer, competitive Olympic weightlifter and strength and conditioning educational speaker.  Dutch took over for the second half of the day on Sunday, talking to our Trainer’s group about goal setting, strength and conditioning training, optimizing group programming, and customizing your gym’s program to meet clients’ goals.

It was a pleasure to be on the other side of this particular presentation – we’re used to being in the front of the room these days, and it was fun to participate from the other end.  But more significantly, Dutch’s presentation could not have come at a better time for me.  While he taught me some new training and programming concepts, the thing I most valued at the end of the day was the motivation and renewed commitment his presentation inspired.

My own training has been lackluster these past few months… and that’s putting it nicely.  Spending three months on the road does terrible things for your strength, conditioning and flexibility.  Traveling four days of almost every weekend leaves not as much time for training as we’d like.  (You’d think being in CrossFit gyms every weekend would be a blessing, but believe me, after presenting for eight hours straight, the last thing you want to do is train.)  And the lack of routine and constant shifting of our day to day schedules has left my training motivation lacking.

Because of our schedule, I’m only training a few days a week – long, strength-focused sessions that wear me out but don’t deliver much adaptation, probably because I’m only giving them half effort.  And the long sessions plus little motivation plus no tangible progress makes me far less excited about getting into the gym the next morning.  More mornings than not lately, I’ve just been skipping it altogether.  It’s a terrible cycle – training is frustrating, which makes me not want to train, which makes me skip a few days, which makes me feel even more frustrated the next time I train… you get the picture.  (If I were my own client, I’d be alternately lecturing myself and kicking my own butt until I smartened up and got my training in order.  Dallas has tried, but sometimes, I’m more stubborn than he is.)

Last Sunday, however, Dutch’s talking points on goal setting, training and programming began to stir something inside me –  a small kernel of interest, motivation, and a tentative desire to recommit to my own training.  I realized it had been too long since I’d had any definitive goals, or any training plan at all.  And in order to get back on track, I needed something to shoot for – a target, a strategy, a timeline.  When Dutch started talking about the composition of a good strength and conditioning program, I realized my self-programmed training sessions had taken me way off track.  I knew better, of course, but it took Dutch’s presentation to remind me how far I’d strayed from what I really wanted out of my exercise program.

By the time the day was done, I felt something I hadn’t felt in a while.  Energized.  Excited.  Ready to get into the gym and start fresh.  I did that the very next day, with a hard 5×5 back squat session (and a happy return to the high bar position).  And I’ve got some new programming, three new (challenging) goals, and a month where I’ve committed to making training my top priority.

It wasn’t that I learned some life-changing new “secret to the universe” in Dutch’s event.  Much of what he had to say, I already kind of knew, and the new things I learned were fantastic, but weren’t going to add weight to my squat all by themselves.  It was the inspiration, the motivation, the re-commitment to the subject matter that made Dutch’s presentation worth every penny, and every minute of my time. Often, we don’t attend presentations like this because we assume we’ve heard it before.  Whether it be a training  lecture, movement assessment, nutrition workshop or programming seminar, we hesitate to commit our day to the subject matter because we’re not sure how much we’ll “get” from the material.  We’re well educated, well read and experienced – so why attend yet another (fill in event here)? 

I’d like to remind you that sometimes, the biggest benefit from an event like that is the feeling you have when you leave, not the material you write down in your notebook. To go home with a newfound sense of energy, drive, determination and inspiration, to develop a new insight about yourself, to truly recommit to improving your health, fitness and quality of life… those after-effects are often more important than the technical material you learned during the event.  And this was certainly the case for me this weekend.

We want to thank Dutch Lowy for the amazing presentation, and for all of the help he’s been giving us outside of the gym.  I’ve got some reading  to do – and I promise, I’ll update the blog with my training progress when this cycle is over.

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  1. says

    It’s normal to occasionally lose the ability to see between the spaces in routines. Everything blurs together. And I’ll bet your training regime isn’t the only thing impacted. That’s why a long time ago I told you to stop and take a look at the worlds largest frying pan or ball of twine if you came across it. The spaces are where exciting and renewing things happen.
    It sounds like Dutch Lowy helped you to see them again. Good for you, and thanks Dutch.

  2. says

    … sometimes, the biggest benefit from an event like that is the feeling you have when you leave, not the material you write down in your notebook.

    See, now that’s exactly why I wanted to come to your Saturday workshop in Denton County, even though I’d done your one-day before. I knew it would shift my perspective again to a higher level than it was before (which it did), renew my commitment to eating clean (it did that, too), and put another nail in the coffin of those self-defeating attitudes that sometimes derail my best intentions (and yes, it did). I’ve been eating awesomely since coming home from Dallas – not 100% clean, 100% of the time, but with so much more peace, balance, and simplicity, that it’s becoming effortless.

    And yes, Dutch’s time had a similar effect on me as it did on you. I thought his presentation was super-informative, honest, humble, and fun. And, best of all, it invigorated my passion for training, and reinforced a number of ideas I’d been arriving at through my own experimentation. Great stuff.

  3. J.Spice says

    Thanks for this post. I’m going through the same thing. Going to set some goals tonight and start working on them tomorrow.
    Just what I needed.

  4. says

    I have to completely agree with Adam. Seeing you guys again got me fired up to eat right and live smart! Glad that you got inspiration as well, good luck!


  5. says

    I completely agree with the post!

    I personally want to thank W9 and Dutch for coming to our gym that weekend. I have received so much feedback from the members who went and they all seem to have a renewed commitment to clean nutrition.

    For me personally, I find the more I surround myself with people who expect a lot or more importantly have a lot expected out of them, I become encouraged.


  6. Kevin Green says

    This was an aptly timed post. I myself have been struggling to find time and motivation for my workouts. Although I missed the workshop I appreciate you sharing with everyone so we can all get a little bit of the motivation you have found for yourself. I am sure we will all benefit.

    I second Melissa’s comment about the workshop at CF Austin. I have found it so much easier over time to stay on the good eating wagon since May and when I fall off it is a snap to get back on. I can’t wait to see the trainer’s workshop in the future.


  7. Tracy says

    I have not been into training or eating properly for the last 3 months or so. I had suffered an impinged bicep tendon back in July and just haven’t gotten back into anything. I’ve been going into the box 3 or 4 times a week but I have just not been mentally present. And have been limited in what I can actually do. When your post came through this week I talked with the head trainer at my box and I’ve decided to take a step away from the regular programming and give the 603 PTP program a go.

    I reviewed it with my PT today (also a trainer at the box) and he thinks it is a great idea as well. I will probably add more TGU’s into the Cash in as I am trying to work in shoulder stabilizer movements as much as possible.

    On Monday I will be starting this and a 30 day challenge as well. Thank you for the reminder that I need to get myself back on track!

  8. says

    I totally agree with Melissa! When I left the workshop, I felt more motivated to lift myself to another level in training and nutrition. Today has been day 6 for Eduardo and I on the Whole 30. We are planning our meals and have been motivating each other not to cheat. We thought today would be a hard day for us because we usually have a cheat meal on Saturdays. To our suprise, we have not had cravings!! Yea! After Dutch’s presentation, I felt like I needed to set a training goal myself. My goal is to do a muscle up. I need to sit down and make a plan to achieve this goal. I’m excited that I had the opportunity to meet such great people at Denton Crossfit! Everyone had great ideas and was very motivating! Melissa, Dallas & Dutch did awesome presented their materials.