What 10 Years of CrossFit Has Taught Me
Written by: Coach Slater
The end of the Open has spurred plenty of DCCF-ers to reflect on their progress from the past year. Hopefully everyone has done so in a positive light. Don’t examine your Open performance and criticize yourself for a skill you’re still working to improve. The reality is that this damn thing takes patience. A lot of it.
And in that light, I want to tell you a little about what things were like when I first started CrossFit, over 10 years ago, way back in 2008 in an Urban Active off Preston Highway (but is now closed). Why should you listen to what I have to say?
To learn from my mistakes, obviously.
Don’t Do It By Yourself
I was doing some interval-style weightlifting stuff back in those days, kinda rudimentary-CrossFit, and I went looking thru the Internet for some additional programming ideas. I came across crossfit.com. I tried a few workouts, and immediately sucked my younger cousin into joining me.
We push ourselves harder in the presence of others, even if we’re not competing with them. You know it’s true, because you’ve experienced it here.
I discovered this fact at my second Fran. My first Fran (21, 15, 9: Thrusters/Pullups) was completed at that Urban Active on Preston Highway, at a time of 10:41, by myself. I would bet that a wide majority of DCCF-ers can beat that score this very instant. Unfortunately, I don’t exactly know what date I did this; but my second Fran was performed on September 15, 2008 with my cousin. I logged the date and mentioned that I beat my previous attempt by 3:11. So, my first Fran must equal 10:41. Second Fran = 7:30. Did I get that much fitter in the span of a few months? No way. I simply had someone to push against/for. It doesn’t matter that I did these with strict-ish pullups because hadn’t figured out the kip yet. What mattered was that I learned the power of not doing this sh*t by myself.
If you let it, the Derby City community can help push you to new heights, both members and coaches alike.
So, I implore you to keep learning people’s names, ask about their weirdness, share your weirdness with them, and find common ground (even if it’s just talking about how much yesterday’s WOD sucked). In the words of famed CrossFit-coach, Ben Bergeron, “Programming is overrated.” Community will make more of a difference in your overall fitness than how often you do clean and jerks. So, train in a group and then talk with us about filling in gaps in your fitness.
Which brings me to my next point…
Don’t Hide From the Stuff You Suck At
On July 11, 2008, I maxed out my full-depth squat at 315lbs. Apparently, I had been doing quarter-squats for years because that’s the range of motion that basketball/volleyball players needed, right? No. In reality, full-depth squats are hard and I hadn’t bothered to learn how to do them properly. I also had knee problems all those years ago. 10 years later, I can squat 315lbs for 20 reps and have zero knee problems. Go figure.
In August 2008, I logged in my journal that I suck at double-unders. Sound familiar?
Everything gets easier if you focus first on moving well, and only afterwards, moving quickly. No one really cares what your WOD time is. Seriously. So, you can use the WOD to practice a new skill at a reasonable speed, weight, or rep number.
Even if you never intend to participate in a Novice-level competition (or Regionals, for that matter), you can use this Derby City experience as the general fitness program it’s intended to be. Train 4-to-5 days/week and live a long, healthy life free of chronic disease while looking years younger than any of your non-DCCF friends.
The Bigger Picture
September 10, 2008, a random guy at Urban Active asks me “what are you training for?” I hope that everyone’s had that moment, either at a non-CrossFit gym or amongst their friends & family. That is a proud moment that you should relish. You’ve decided to participate in a fitness regiment that bewilders people.
Hopefully you’ve taken that opportunity to invite that person to join you at a Bring-a-Friend WOD or referred them to start Elements. Let them know they have the same potential. Tell them how you started, and let them know that they too, can be 10 years down the road and feeling better, stronger, faster, and fitter than they’d imagine.
What we do is counter to *everything* they’ve ever seen in Fitness & Shape magazines. We’re investing in our future by investing in our fitness. And to commit to it for the long term, “exercise” has to be about more than seconds and pounds. External motivation might not last, because the longer you train, the more time you will spend between PRs. You have to be disciplined; but don’t let the thought of “10 Years of CrossFit” daunt you.
Progress is simple if you just keep moving forward.
Work out consistently every week, every month, every quarter, every year. Focus on small goals over a long-period of time. Work first on mechanics, then consistency, and then intensity. Commit to repeating these steps over and over and over. Finally, don’t forget to enjoy the opportunity and the process. If you do, your success is guaranteed.