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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