“We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.” CrossFit Albuquerque
The Question comes in many forms. It is always different, yet universally the same. The question is also often not very important, because the person asking the question need not pose the question at all.
The question could be:
“Why am I not getting stronger?”
“Why am I not losing weight?”
“How come I can’t do 20 kipping pullups?”
“Why are my row times not getting faster?”
“What can I do to back squat 500lbs?”
“How can I snatch my body weight?”
You get the idea.
While these are not bad questions in and of themselves, they pose a problem when taken out of the context of our lives – and when the commitment level of the person asking the question is, in fact, questionable.
Let’s take context first. Our goals must be taken in context within the framework of our lives, and must be set in a reality that is attainable for us. If we work out three days a week, eat crappy food and make our living doing something other than lifting weights, then a 500lb back squat does not really fit within the context of our lives. If, on the other hand, we are a professional athlete, where being strong and powerful are our full-time jobs, then the goal and the question start to make more sense. (In another example, if your life allows you to only run twice a week, is it really feasible to be the fastest runner in your next race?)
The point here is that we all have goals and quests and things that we want, but it is only a real goal (and not merely a dream) if it fits within the context of your life. And if that basic fact doesn’t make you happy, then change an aspect of your life to make it fit.
The more important issue is the issue of commitment. What I am talking about here is the issue of commitment to plan. To the everyday. To the things that are easily controllable. Because if you can’t commit to that, then super duper programming and nifty movements in the gym will not answer your question.
What this takes is a bit of self introspection. Are you really giving it your all in every training session? When the workout calls for full effort, are you well and truly spent? When we lift heavy, is it really heavy or are you just running through the motions? Are you fueling your body with clean, whole foods? Do you even know what foods you should be eating? Have you asked? If you have asked, did you give it an honest effort for an entire month? Do you get enough sleep every night? Do you recover as hard as you train? Do you try to mitigate stress or just add to your own stress? This is what is really important.
If taking a chalk bath in the middle of a workout is your secret way of resting and diminishing the pain, then you might want to address that instead of looking for reasons why you are a special butterfly and the workouts “aren’t working for you.” If you follow up your workout with a bowl of ice cream or a Starbucks muffin, then you might want to examine your diet as a reason for lack of fat loss. If you haven’t invested the time to gain enough strength to do one strict pull-up, then chasing dozens of kipping pull-ups misses the point entirely.
Obviously, I sound like a jerk here – and I’m fine with that. I’m fine with it, because I care about you and your goals and I want you to succeed. That being said, I only care as much as you care. If you can’t fix the stuff that takes some commitment but little else, then I can’t go much further.
So, read this, then ask yourself THE question: “Am I doing enough with what I have?” If the answer is no, then get after it before you begin asking for more. If the answer is yes, then my door is open, and you can ask away.
Ben Abruzzo is a coach and co-owner of CrossFit Albuquerque, in Albuquerque, NM. Ben has spent most of his life in the mountains of New Mexico running, skiing and climbing. His focus and passion is the development of sport-specific performance.
For more information about CrossFit Albuquerque’s fitness, performance and nutrition offerings, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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