I estimate that I’ve now coached over 7000 hours spanning a decade as a professional fitness coach. I’ve seen amazing things in the gym from athletes… weight lost, milestones reached, goals attained. When done correctly, fitness, and specifically CrossFit, is an incredible vehicle for changing people’s lives. But it could be better.
Too often an athlete is their own worse enemy. Results sometimes take longer than they should. There are many reasons for this but I want to focus on the one reason I believe to be the most common. In my experience the #1 reason results take longer than they should is because athletes (all of us, me included) routinely ignore our bodies warning signals. Specifically I’m talking about our refusal to respect our pain.
How often have you come to the gym with a particular part of your body barking at you only to find out that the workout that day is going right after that problem area? Moreover, and here’s the real problem, how often have your shrugged off the pain and done the workout anyway? If we are being honest, we’ve all done it. We shouldn’t. But we do. Why? Why do we talk ourselves into doing something we know is a bad decision? Ego, embarrassment, stubbornness, eagerness? There’s a number of reasons to be sure but all of them lead to bad decisions and sub-optimal results.
It’s taken me a long time to learn this lesson myself. And I’ve learned it the hard way, believe me. But now I make all my decisions about a workout around 2 principles…
- I want to not be embarrassed at the pool.
- I don’t want to hurt.
It may sound funny or vain or whatever but it is an incredibly effective way to help make decisions in the gym. And I’ll bet that the vast majority of people reading this can relate to both sentiments.
If you too are primarily concerned about looking good and feeling good then here’s what we suggest.
- Be very transparent with your coaches. Let them know if something hurts, even a little. They will help find a movement that doesn’t.
- Do what the coach tells you!!!!
See how simple that is. Yes, it’s really that simple. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. That little internal monster we all have (though most of us deny it) called an ego will always try to rear its manipulative head to coerce you into dumb stuff. Practice not listening to it. Instead, listen to your coaches. That’s what you pay them for and they are all very good at their job.
There’s an old saying that “He who trains longest wins.” Okay, that’s not an old saying. I made it up. But it should be a saying because it’s brilliant. It means that the person who can train smartly and do so for years will live a healthy and happy life full of passion and world dominating conquests. It also means that if you don’t train smartly you will be constantly injured, always needing to take a break from the gym and have no world dominating conquests to brag about.
So listen to your coaches, train smartly, and go dominate the world… GA style!