Get What You Came For

Get What You Came For.

It’s something I say often. Or position as a question. In theory, it’s simple; however, once unpacked, it urges honesty and evokes insight.

When you schedule a function—a meeting, date, lunch appointment, or a doctor visit—you typically have a set of goals, or an outcome, in mind. Training at our gym should be no different. But here’s the thing: You have to understand that you can, and should, come in here with a different set of goals from time to time.

Training at a CrossFit affiliate can have you feeling like you’re supposed to “go hard” each time you come in. Some even think that to make “progress” you need to push yourself to the absolute edge of exhaustion. Others have the harebrained notion that if you’re not laying on the ground gasping for air, then you haven’t done something worth doing.

That being said, all of these ideas could not be more inaccurate. Listen, there is nothing wrong with throwing on your crazy pants and pushing the limits on what you can handle, but it’s not the end all be all. It’s also impossible to sustain.

“Get what you came for” can be understood in some cases as a checkmark for what you need to accomplish. Some days your only goal is to make it to the gym—and that in itself marks the day as a huge success. Other days, your goal might be to partner with a new athlete in the class. Or to get to the front on the room, instead of your usual back. Maybe you have a performance goal. Or a new class goal: to come to Life Lifting, Mobility, Weightlifting, or any other class that you have been too nervous to try. There are a lot of ways to gauge performance and progress, just like there are a lot of ways to approach a day at the gym. To get what you came for, maybe start by unpacking what you need.

As you head to the gym today, think simply about your goals. Because as we know, excess doesn’t always result in success. More often than not, your goals are achievable and aligned with your inherent needs; how we approach them is what puts change in motion.

Coach David

Rookie Mind.

I kept thinking about the Kaizen methodology last night.

While sitting around the gym watching the facial expressions of our athletes, each coach was dispersing some sort of back squatting tutorial: bracing, breathing, timing, mindset, compensatory acceleration, cueing strategies, hand placements, vision, spotting, tempo, etc. And the ideas from each coach, for each class, could not have been more different. However, what was the same across the board was the concept of education–and bringing a little more complexity to the back squat in order to advance it, regardless of training age, knowledge or skill level.

“Kaizen,” taken from the Japanese word for improvement, change for the better, or continuous improvement, has evolved since the 1950s into a business strategy of making small, but continuous changes for the better in company operations.*Applicably, it was impressive to notice the way athletes paused for a moment to absorb the sinking-in of new information: to re-evaluate what they knew (or didn’t know) and how they might advance. The learning environment was rich with content, and it was noticeably surrounded by enthusiasm.

We’ve all been in a circumstance where someone “thought they knew everything,” or where they were closed off to a new idea due to their ego. In contrast, the environment at Defined fosters development: a Kaizen approach, perhaps. And moreover, while it starts here, it transfers far beyond the box.

Coach David
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*Direct quote from https://www.sixsigmadaily.com/defining-kaizen-the-methodology-and-applications/)

Picking Teammates

I asked a few people the other day how they choose training partners. All of their answers were a bit different, but equally excellent. Here’s what they said:

Response #1 – “Class time determines who I pick. At 5:00 pm or 6:00 pm, I usually find someone at a similar skill level to share a barbell. Keeping the coaches in mind, I do this to be efficient with equipment. Outside of those times, I’ll work with anyone because I remember what it was like to be the new person.”

Response #2 – “I never come in with a pre-picked partner. But when selecting a teammate for the hour, I like to find the best person in the room. Why not work with someone that I can emulate? I can learn a lot by just watching someone with better technique than me.”

Response #3 – “I pick my friends. Oddly enough, I knew none of them when I joined the gym six months ago. We all met at Defined. Now we hang out inside and outside of the gym. Which is pretty cool because I am new to Chicago. The gym has introduced me to some truly wonderful people.”

So, how do you pick teammates? Do you look for similar skill levels? Do you shy away from some of the “big hitters” out of nervousness? Or do you seek out the new athlete to welcome him/her to our home? Do you engage with new people on the training floor? Most importantly, do you actively bring good vibes to the gymnasium?

If you always do the same thing, I challenge you to shake it up a bit. Introduce yourself to the most recent On-Ramp graduate and be a role-model. It will elevate your game. I promise.

Coach David

Leading > Hand Holding

While coaching a Team WOD a few weeks ago, Coach Ben tossed out a casual comment that holds a ton of weight for our community. It’s something that I’ve thought about at least a 1,000 times since writing this article.

Pull Ups can cure just about anything.

The introduction. We started the morning working on Hang Power Cleans, then transitioned into a powerful, quick burst of conditioning, then finished with some pull-up accessory work. The warm-up, the cleans, and the workout were all formatted from start to finish. Timing, structure, cues, goals, mindset, logistics and barbell weight percentages where are discussed and thoroughly planned out ahead of time. Not atypical by any means, this is what we do as a coaching team week in and week out.

The structure. We had about 8 minutes left in class which was a perfect amount of time to get some additional pull-up work done. It also served as an effective cool-down from the intensity. I told the athletes to grab someone to work with and do anything they wanted to on the pull-up cage as long as it was productive toward improving their pull-up game. I did not discuss progressions, regressions, rep schemes or anything else. I just asked everyone to be productive for the next 5 minutes.

The outcome. Everyone got right to work and took the opportunity to try different things. Ring rows, jumping pull-ups, banded pull-ups, holds, negatives, kipping, chin ups; everyone figured out their level of movement to execute and crushed the work. Subtle, yet very powerful peer to peer coaching conversations took place, and everyone smoothly rolled into their game plan. It was beautiful to watch. Coach Ben sat back and said, “We are kinda like parents, we have to let them go. As long as they are safe, we just have to let them figure things out.”

Pull Ups can cure just about anything.

Sometimes I worry that the CFD community leans a bit too much on the coaching staff to tell them what to do every step of the way; this 5-minute Saturday observation (along with subsequent others) have proved me wrong. The coaching team at Defined sets the tone, motivates by example, develops the culture, educates and guides our athletes to where they need to go. They do not hand hold, they lead.

Learn from your experiences, embraces new challenges, be courageous and don’t be afraid to fail.

Coach David