The following is a letter addressed to the athletes in the competitors program at my gym. But some of it may apply to you as well. Take heed.
So I know I have promised to post on a bunch of different items and have not. It gets to a point where you want to say so much and say it well, you get a little analysis paralysis. Otherwise known as writer’s block. So you wind up writing nothing. But instead of trying to say everything all at once, I have decided to give you guys a bit at a time, occasionally, about whatever happens to be on my brain at the time.
This time around I want to talk about how awesome you all are. I’ve been on a consistent brag-on-you campaign for months now. In case you haven’t been paying attention, each one of you who has been consistently compliant with the program has set some kind of personal record. What is “consistently compliant”? In my mind, you have followed at least 90% of the program with no deviation. Some of you who have not met this level of compliance have also made gains. That being said, I would bet you’d be further along if you would tighten up your game a little follow along.
While some of you are doing a little less than the plan calls for (some of those reasons good, some straight bullsh*t) many of you are doing too much. Yes that extra rep or three counts against you. That extra met-con actually hurts you. I imagine you fear falling behind the rest of the competitive CrossFit world. Hell, Rich Froning and Samantha Briggs work out six times a day. Or, more likely you fear your engine isn’t where you’d like it to be. You are breathing a bit too hard or your time on the clock wasn’t to your liking. Well, all I can say to that is you are right where you need to be.
Keep in mind, we are no longer training to be in a constant state of readiness which is how most people who engage in CrossFit train. I would bet most of the competitive CrossFitters are still training this way. Or perhaps they’re doing Mainsite “plus a little bit extra”. You however are training for an event that will occur over a period of weeks in February, May and July. If you are worried about your metabolic conditioning in September, then you are missing the point. You are right where you need to be. Don’t buy it? Well consider this.
It goes without saying you have all gotten stronger. The progressive weights you have been putting on the bar proves that. But, because of the structure of the conditioning we have been doing, it is less apparent that you have also gotten faster. I have programmed a few “Testing” met-cons just to see where you are. And what came back were several of you achieving scores that would have been among the best in the region and in a couple of cases the world. Yes, the world. And those of you who have yet to score on this level have set personal bests on these same workouts. This has been accomplished with concentration on lifting heavy, often and on speed-biased conditioning typically in sustained efforts of seven or fewer minutes.
If this was not apparent to you before, the overall goal of the program thus far has been to increase your ability to apply force at a rapid pace. So for every pull or push on the bar, for every step or jump, for every movement you are likely to engage in, the force you apply is greater than that of your opponent at less of a cost to your energy expenditure. What we have not concentrated on is your “cardio”. But you still got faster!
In the next phase of the program (about 6 weeks) you will continue getting stronger and faster. Your cardio will not be a priority. Thus you will be lifting even more and doing burpees even less. Please keep in mind this is all part of the grand plan. The conditioning you will be doing will be heavily concentrated on speed development and increasing your lactic acid tolerance. In other words, the met-cons you will be doing will be short, intense and painful. Every now and again, you will go extra long.
At this point, I hope I’ve earned a bit of your trust. I hope in doing so you will trust the program. In no way am I saying the program alone is the reason for your success. But I am saying I believe following it will help you be a better athlete. As always, this is CrossFit and you are going to hit every aspect of your fitness… when the time is right.