Tough Negotiations

One more rep and then I’ll take a break…If I keep doing toes-to-bar, it’s just going to slow me down on the clean and jerks that are coming up…I have to catch my breath before I pick up the bar…I’m gonna dehydrate if I don’t drink any water during this 7 minute WOD…Okay, one more, and then I’ll take a breather and knock out a quick ten, or maybe five, to make up for the break…That tweak in my shoulder is acting up. Something is probably wrong, I should stop. Or take a quick break just to see what’s wrong…

Negotiation. We all do it. Every WOD I have an attack plan, and during that WOD, I spend the entire time, in my head, at that negotiation table, reassesing the plan. I make deals, obsess over aches and pains, panic when short of breath – it’s par for the course and shows that we are pushing ourselves through physical limits. The more we push, the bettter, faster, stronger we get. We go from steps ups, to box jumps, to breaking 20 box jumps into sets of 5, to repping out 20 box jumps in a row for the first round, to repping them in all 3,4,5 rounds.

As summer comes to an end and we get ready for the holidays and New Year’s resolutions, CrossFit Lake Forest athletes are focusing on their goals. Afterall, if you are stronger, maye it will be easier and it won’t hurt so bad to get a Fran time under 5 minutes, or maintain an 8 minute mile pace for a 5K. Maybe the bar won’t be so heavy, the box so high, or 400m so long.

Most CrossFit Lake Forest athletes are first time CrossFitters. Anything you do for the first time starts out hard, then you get the hang of it and it gets easier, then you move beyond novice status, you know what you are doing and what your limits are, and there is no turning back – it’s hard again. For good. Gone are the days of light WODs with good form. You have good form heavy, light, fatigued – so you have to push.

Now it’s a mental game. Every WOD means time spent at that negotiation table.

I was talking to a fellow CrossFitter about my personal Karen strategy. I had rep and rest schemes in mind, but let him know, that in the end, I would be talking myself in and out of my plan the whole time. Why? My plan would not make the WOD easy or painless. It would provide the highest level of efficiency I believed I was capable of. It was going to hurt. Before the pain comes, I imagine myself pushing through. As it is happening, I want to stop. And not start again.

I was talking to one of our athletes after a particularly fun WOD. He told me he feels like he hit a plateau in training. He wasn’t seeing gains anymore. Since then I’ve been pushing his speed, ROM, and checking the weight on the bar. You can’t increase or change all of these things at once, but those components should always improve over time.

Here’s a secret….Getting stronger, faster, and better doesn’t make anything easier. It only gets harder.

We did handstand holds recently and I expressed how brutal I found them because they are so mental. If you aren’t falling on your head (don’t do that), then you gave up. To deter people from actually falling on their head, I always tell people about a time I actually did. I was trying to beat a friend of mine (missed it by a second!). It’s hard to go until you fail. Failing is just as hard as giving up. I don’t like handstand holds because I feel forced to give up. There is no negotiation table. It’s a test of strength and will power. You don’t have to fall on your head, but you do have to learn to know yourself both physically and mentally so you can stay on the wall as long as possible, without falling on your head. That’s hard.

You can’t get strong enough to make Fran easier. If it’s easier, you have to have the will power to go faster. To go faster, you will always have to pick up the bar when you feel ike you can’t breathe. You will always have to jump on the box when you are worried you might fall, finish your toes-to-bar and know you still have to clean and jerk just as fast.

Everyone deals with that voice expressing fear about breathing, pain, or failure. Rather than listen to it. Fight it. If you haven’t fallen on your head, keep going. Test your limits and break through those mental barriers.

Don’t just get stronger and faster – get mentally tough. Make tougher negotiations.


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