It's Mental Toughness Thursday and today we're exploring the difference between practicing and performing. This post is inspired by an Instagram post by Ben Bergeron. Ben Bergeron owns CrossFit New England and is the coach for the 2016 CrossFit Games overall female winner, overall male winner, several Masters winners and the Team champions. He knows a thing or two about coaching. Here's part of his post:
"...most people are either training or competing, but never get around to actually practicing.” Most athletes don’t know the difference between the three. “Most people think that they’re training, but they’re actually competing,” according to Bergeron “If, after a training session, you’re concerned with the scores of other athletes or whether you beat your PR, you’re competing".
When you're at the gym are you practicing or performing? Which matters most to you, doing something correctly or being at the top of the leaderboard?
When we do our gymnastics progressions we are practicing. When we do our Crew warm-up we are practicing. When we do the Burgener warm up, or any work with the PVC pipe, we are practicing. Practice is incredibly important in the development of your athleticism and fitness. It takes many, many tries and sometimes many fails before something finally clicks.
Training is utilizing the skills we practice at higher intensity. It's the next step in your athletic and fitness evolution.
Performing is when you put it all together for The Open.
The workout of the day is intended for training. If you treat the WOD as a performance you are letting your ego get in the way of doing something better or more efficiently. When you push back on a Coach's cue, you are not open to practice and training, you are focused more on performance.
Next time you're in class, check in with your mental status. Are you nervous about the workout? Perhaps it's because you're thinking of it as a performance. Relax, this is training. Take a deep breath, focus on mechanics, consistency then intensity. Go back to the fundamentals and you will improve. If if work's for the Fittest Woman on Earth, it will work for you.
Have you wondered why we give stickers for milestones like 25 and 50 classes or for your first time making the Committed Club? It's because everyone REALLY does love getting a gold star and those milestones worthy of praise.
So many people believe that those of us who stick with an exercise program or a specific nutrition program must somehow have some magic well of motivation from which we can draw. The truth is that those of us who stick with a healthy lifestyle practice have learned (conscious or otherwise) how to celebrate our wins.
Motivation ONLY comes after a win. It rarely precedes it. A win can be as simple as an acknowledgement (like big X on a calendar) of a the first day of a new habit. It doesn't really matter what you're counting down or trying to change, think about how satisfying those big Xs look.
With each X you get feel more motivated to stay the course. Our stickers and #100strong socks do the same thing. They're an acknowledgment of your success. Our workout tracking app, Beyond the Whiteboard, does the same thing. Every time you open the app you get a quick snapshot of your week, month and lifetime of fitness. Here's my February training calendar. I'm super motivated to meet or exceed this in March. My February success creates my motivation for March.
The CrossFit Open can provide the same motivation. Do all 3 workouts and you will have really accomplished something.
We crave points, big Xs, badges, stickers and yes, gold stars. Use that acknowledgement of your win to help keep your momentum and motivation for whatever you want to achieve. You can also book a Spring check-in with me and I'll help keep you on track:-) Good luck!
Michelle started our 100 Days Fitness Journey 2 years ago TODAY! WOW! She has improved so much and we are so proud of her fitness journey!
The 100 Days to Fitness program started with 5 private training sessions, then switched to 12 group classes per month, and included weekly nutrition check-ins with our Nutrition Coach, Audy Butler. Michelle has shed 8% body fat, lost 22 pounds, dropped 3 inches of her waist, has clearer skin, and is surprised that eating nutrient dense foods makes her feel better and less hungry.
Check out the rest of her 100 Day success story.
Michelle H., Why do You do CrossFit?
What was your life like before you started training with True Spirit CrossFit?
I thought that CrossFit was just an overall body workout which it is; but, I totally underestimated the intensity of the workouts and short amount of time for each workout.
What brought you to True Spirit CrossFit in the first place?
I was gaining weight quickly with my new job and needed motivation of other people working out with me to keep me accountable. Also, I knew James from Simms and he wanted me to start CrossFit for a long time. The combination of the two made me start working out at True Spirit CrossFit.
What was your first impression? Has that changed?
I was intimidated with the prescribed workouts. At first I felt like I wasn't able to do it since I couldn't do the full prescribed plan. But, now, I'm thankful that its normal to scale and that there is that option for me.
What was the first thing fun or positive thing you experienced while training with us?
The encouragement from the rest of the class to get through The Open workouts. Also, I am happy to have visible results.
Are you working on any special CrossFit related skill now?
I would love to get a pull up and make my wrist strong enough to be able to do push-ups comfortably. Also I would like to get double-unders and hollow hold. So pretty much everything! :)
How has you life changed since training with TSCF?
I am able to run better without actually running as often as I used to. Also, I am gaining confidence as I progress. It's nice to see and feel results. I also love the community and support of the True Spirit CrossFit group. Thank you all!
What's your favorite True Spirit CrossFit memory?
How sore I was after the first Tabata workout. It hurt at the time but now I just laugh. Now I can do squats and not hurt near as bad! Coach's update: Michelle just set a new PR for her 3 Rep Max Front Squat!
Myth: I Need to Get In Shape Before I Start CrossFit
If I had a dollar for every time I've heard this I could take my dream trip to the Seychelles tomorrow. In fact, this was the very excuse my husband, Coach James, used for 6 months before finally doing his first CrossFit workout. He, like many others, thought that getting in shape meant improving his "cardio."
Cardio endurance is absolutely one of the physical fitness skills we aim to improve through CrossFit cross-training, however, it's not the only one. We seek to improve and increase 10 physical fitness skills: Cardio, Stamina, Strength, Flexibility, Power, Speed, Agility, Balance, Coordination, and Accuracy. For most people, James included, getting in shape means solely improving cardio endurance and the most common method to improve cardio is though long runs and long bike rides. Neither of these cardio training pursuits will prepare you for CrossFit.
CrossFit is a constantly varied cross training strength and conditioning program. That means that we do lots of different things, including long runs, rows and bike rides, to get us in really, really good shape. We also do sprints, jumping rope, hauling, carrying, and pushing weighted objects, throwing weighted objects, pulling ourselves up over something or up from the ground. We occasionally carry our gym buddies and we always work hard, have fun and work up a "make-me-forget-all-my-problems" sweat. There's not much you can do to get you ready for this kind of training.
The great thing about how we do CrossFit at True Spirit is that we modify and personalize every single workout so that our 10 year CrossFit veterans can workout side by side with our 10 day CrossFit novices. Everything we do can be adjusted to fit each individuals' need and all of our Coaches have gone through extensive training and continuing education to develop their ability to improvise and adapt every workout for anyone.
What I find most interesting about the myth that you need to get in shape before you start CrossFit is that it doesn't exist for any other physical fitness program. I've never heard anyone say they need to get in shape before they start Zumba, barre, spin classes, or HIIT programs. Yet, these physical fitness programs have complex choreography and specific movements unique to them that certainly require an initial learning period.
No matter, whatever exercise program you decide to pursue, there is no need to get in shape before you start. The sole point of starting an exercise program is to GET YOU IN SHAPE! Why else would you be considering it?
So, what do you need to do before you start CrossFit? Nothing, you just need to start.
If you're a nerd like me and you want to know exactly how CrossFit's cross-training program improves your cardio, read the article below.
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