By: Leo Fontana
When it comes to the word exercise, some of the things we can think of right away are, stress relief, weight loss, makes me feel more energized and so on. When it comes to the word Crossfit we generally think of things like functional movements, constantly varied, performed at high intensity. These two words and thoughts can go hand and hand when we think of reaching our goals, on this post I would like to help you “supplement” your thoughts with some different ways to approach your workouts from now on. This will require extreme sincerity to your yourself and ego cannot be involved, you will need to think about yourself along with others around you.
Every day that you walk in our gym and see the work out for the first time you will need to ask yourself, how do I feel today? What have a done this week and hows my life been lately.
I know it sounds extremely dramatic asking these questions about some exercises but it is very important to know where you are in your life to be able to get the best out of every workout you perform, for longevity and healthy.
I give you an example of a scenario that we see day in and day out and how we can help this person maximize their workouts every day, and believe me I was one of those too and I am still learning how to leave the ego assid and think about what will be the best interest for me and other people around me, for today and 10 years from now.
First example we will go him Pedro (just so you guys don’t think I am actually talking about someone in specific). Pedro has a 9-5 job, he sits for most of his day, he is always on the phone calling multiple people a day and it is a high stress environment. He loves to do Crossfit, so after work, Pedro, comes to Double Edge to the 5:30pm class. He looks forward to crush everyone in class every day, he is a great athlete with some range of motion limitations but Pedro tries really hard every day. He doesn’t miss any percentages on lifts and if he feels like it he goes for PRs, often. He has never done Lean, well in Pedro’s mind, lean is for beginners and people that need to lose weight. After Pedro is done he leaves right away and never stays and mobilize or cool down, besides he has a beautiful wife and 2 kids that are waiting for him at home. He gets home and the 2 years old really wants his attention and the 6 month old is crying because of he is teething, poor thing. Pedro feels like he deserves a nice delicious burger, he had a stressful day and he crushed the workout so might as well. Him and his wife put the kids to sleep and then they have about 45-60 min to be husband and wife, but Pedro is tired he had a full day and now the 120 wall balls started to kick in hard and he’s hurting, his knee usually hurts, since high school but tonight is worse. So he just tells her that he will shower and go to sleep. The next day Pedro wakes up super sore and tired, he didn’t sleep really well or too long, the baby was awake 4 times in the night and it took him awhile to fall asleep in the first place. He can’t wait to go back to class and crush it all over again.
I hope you have an idea on where I am going with this story, you think Pedro’s life sucks and not sure how long he can make it before he has a nervous breakdown or a bad injury or just pretty much give up everything in general. However, a lot of us go through these steps of our lives without thinking through it, we love to reward ourselves with food, we emotionally eat and emotionally exercise, often, that will only affect our sleep, mood, energy and overall health in a negative way.
We clearly see that in Pedro’s situation his mental, emotional, and physical stresses are maxed out. I am not an expert when it comes to mental and emotional but I can try to give you my best advice when it comes to physical. Many of us treat our group class a great form of stress relief and good for our health, and dont give me wrong, it is! Exercise has great benefits to those two things and many others, it is supposed to give you more energy but why sometimes it only gets you more tired. Why is that only sometimes we feel motivated and not others? Well your body is extremely smart and it has many different forms of telling you what its feeling.
So in Pedro’s situation he needs to realize that he has a high stress work environment, he needs to maximize his efficiency at work and have a strict schedule so he can get things done well and efficiently. When it comes to the gym he needs to get here about 10-15 min early to get his body awake and moving, some foam rolling some “how was your weekend” talk to other members and then look at the work out and asked the questions I listed above, how am I feeling, “well I had a hard day at work my boss yelled at me for something that wasn’t my fault, I ate a healthy lunch and feel fine but I know that every time I do wall balls my knee hurts, I should talk to coach about this maybe he can help me out, oh yea, tonight I told my wife I was making dinner, I need to have some energy after this and also tomorrow we have that big meeting with that Japanese company that if we close it I know I can get that promotion”. Now Pedro is ready to attack the warm up, with purpose and intent. He is ready to go on the strength part, he does his back squats slow and controlled even though it says heavy, today he decides to go lighter, besides his kid didn’t sleep so he didn’t either. He finally has that mind and muscle connection that he has hurt before, he truly feels what the movement should be feeling like rather than just doing it with no thought or intent.
On the workout part, he decides to not care how fast anyone else is going or if the person next to him today is cheating again or not, he just does what is the best for him. He does the first of 5 rounds on a slower speed than usual, everyone is in front of him but he doesn’t care, today he is really focusing on moving as well as possible as well as feeling great the whole time. Second round he picks up the speed just a little, third and forth he maintain and the last round he goes faster than the other but, not too fast to affect his form. He breathed heavy but not the entire time, he pushed intensity only when the movements were performed well and consistent. He gets done he is not laying on the floor, he feels really good, he gives everyone a high five, spends an extra 2 min on the bike and then another 5 stretching after class. He gets home so excited to see his family, he finally feels energized, he doesn’t get pissed when he sees his 6 month old crying, he comforts her and helps his wife with the 2 year old and then cooks dinner for his family. He was present the whole night and even has extra energy and desire to read to his kids before their bedtime.
My point is, are you attacking every day with a bigger purpose than beating the next person every day? Yes winning feels good but you know what else feels good? Putting in the time to move well and feel good, feeling good is the best feeling exercise can give you. Don’t give me wrong I think intensity is absolutely necessary for results and a key component of our program however every person every day needs to realize what their maximum intensity SHOULD be. We can push intensity in many different ways. We can go slower one day but do a weight we never done, we can bring the weight down and go faster, we can do a set of unbroken pull ups or wall balls unbroken that you have never done before and so on, but knowing when to do those things are the most important part. If you are not feeling it that day talk to your coach tell them you have a lot going on and we will give you the best way to attack that work out for the day.
What I don’t want to hear after this blog is posted is people having an excuse to NEVER go hard or push to your limits because that is not what I meant, I want you to know when to do so, and for some of us every day is not the smartest idea. We have busy lives and many different stressors, if we top all of the stressor buckets out we will never be able to see results with exercise we will accumulate body fat from too much cortisol (stress hormone), which will lead to more bad nutrition decisions and no results. So be smart with your body and with your mind. It will thank you. Please feel free to email me about this topic I would love to talk to you, personally I have been to a lot of these problems above hitting a wall with exercise and after learning about different ways and opening my mind to different mindsets I have been feeling much better physically, mentally and emotionally.