What are you training for?
This is a question we, your coaches, ask ourselves frequently. And it’s a question we want you to start asking yourself as well. Why do you do what you do? Why do you come into the gym? Are the things you do outside of the gym supporting your goals in the gym?
To be clear, there is no right answer and, more importantly, the answer does not always have to be the same. In fact, it should adapt as your life changes. Life has a certain seasonality to it, with some “seasons” lasting longer than others. And within these seasons, we will have varying demands on our time and energy which effect the purpose of our training.
For example, there was a time (4 years ago) when I thought it would be cool (and possible) to make it to the CrossFit Regionals (oh, the irony! Given the current state of competitive CrossFit). Everything I did reflected this goal:
Training - Two maybe three sessions a day, trying to get stronger, faster, more skilled, etc. on a compressed timeline.
Sleep - when and where I could. If I wasn’t coaching or training, I was resting.
Nutrition - I was eating a lot. And it showed. This became the period in my life where I gained the most weight since I had stopped growing (25+ pounds and not all of it muscle). But I was informed and encouraged to eat so my body could recover.
Recovery - I felt like shit, to be honest. My body hurt all the time, I was sore all the time. I developed injuries - displaced ribs from improper movement patterns and muscle tension, pain in my hip that would wake me up in the middle of the night, irritation in my anterior deltoid (front of my shoulder) that frustratingly kept me from training a major weakness (pressing strength) and that I would often train through, likely exacerbating the issue.
Emotional - I avoided situations that may interfere with my CrossFit training. I stopped playing soccer. I’d avoid any sport where I may get hurt (hint: that’s pretty much all of them). I avoided social situations where I couldn’t control the food or where I’d have to constantly say “no” to beer or wine. I’d avoid sugar like the devil. But I was happy because I was pursuing something that mattered to me.
Reflecting on it now, I make it sound horrible. Because where I am now and what I want to train for now doesn’t align at all with those goals. But at the time, I was doing it right for what I wanted. It was the same when I was running marathons (It may come as a surprise to some that I ran 5 marathons between June 2010 and April 2014, two of those being the Boston Marathon). Now I look back and think, “That’s crazy!" But at the time it made sense. It motivated me, it gave me a sense of accomplishment. And, again, I was happy to be doing it.
Further, these “seasons” all shape my decisions and my goals today. Currently (and for the majority of the past year), I have dialed my training back considerably for a few major reasons, one being my goal to grow and improve Kingfield, it’s platform and what we do to change people’s lives and the second being that my husband and I are looking to start a family. The desired outcome has changed and pushing my body to its limits no longer supports those outcomes.
By no means does this mean I don’t inject intensity into my training or welcome all the sugar into my diet or neglect my sleep. Sleep is a huge priority still, I still eat a diet full of whole, nutritious foods but I allow myself the occasional treat or adult beverage, and hell, I think I hit metcons (when I do them, which is 2-3 times a week) harder than I ever did training the way I did three to four years ago. It’s interesting to see that some of the things that supported my competitive CrossFit dreams also support my current ones.
But that’s the choice you have to make - what can I keep and what do I need to change in order to stay on the path I’m on now. Making these choice comes from experience, education and guidance from those I trust. So I encourage you to do some reflection as we head into 2019 and really dive into the question, “What are you training for?”
Remember there is no wrong answer and there doesn’t need to be a single answer. However, make sure that your approach aligns with your goals. If you’re not sure, be sure to sign up for a goals + direction chat with a coach at the start of the year!
Metcon - Every 3 minutes for 21 minutes:
3 Power snatches @ moderate*
*Athletes should choose a weight that will allow them to complete 3 reps touch and go, while maintaining perfect technique! Approximately an RPE ~6. Athletes DO NOT need to complete unbroken reps, however it is encourage to work just on the edge of their capacity!