by Jeff Martin
This is key: How much pain can you eat? When the misery index rises, what do you do? Having a plan helps. Before getting to specifics, here are a couple of general things to do to up your intensity.
1. Go to an affiliate. I know we are all too expensive and generally not worth it. The workouts are free and we should be too. Sarcasm aside, if you are doing the workouts of the web, the quality of your movement probably is not what it could be. A certified trainer will make sure that you are at least hitting the proper Range of Motion. ROM suffers, right along with you, under duress.
At an affiliate, the trainer will help you maintain ROM, whereas alone in your garage you would let it slide. A certified trainer will teach you the proper mechanics of the movements. Doing the movements correctly is more effective, efficient, and safer. In doing the movements more efficiently and effectively, you will go faster, move heavier weights, and be able to sustain the movement longer. This is both a blessing and a curse.
2. Workout with a group. CrossFit turns fitness into sport. 3-2-1 GO! has a different meaning alone in your garage than it does in a park with a friend or at an affiliate. You want intensity? Do Fight Gone Bad at an affiliate. Men will die for points. There is something about the group dynamic that automatically doubles the intensity.
3. Go to a cert. I remember reading a post from a guy who had been doing the WOD for over a year. He wrote about the cert experience that he had knocked three minutes off his Fran time and discovered what intensity meant.
4. Watch affiliate videos. Look at some of the affiliate videos for inspiration, to see regular folks giving it their all.
5. Resolve not to be a big baby. In our box, we have guys who have been blown up working out next to guys who complain when they stub their toe. Folks who have been shot, next to folks complaining about a hangnail. Who do you think works harder? Who do you think brings the most intensity? Don’t be a big baby; it doesn’t help. We all hurt. Resolve to move forward without complaint. We have a large bottle in our box marked YBF. Spray some on and continue: You’ll Be Fine.
1. Have a plan for each WOD. Look at each WOD. Try to decide how long each round should last. Shoot for that.
2. Think about breaks. Have a plan for your breaks going into the WOD. Say you are doing Fran and your pull-up max is 10. Plan to break the first round 7-7-7 and rest 15 seconds before getting back on the bar. This will help you avoid muscular failure. If you hit muscular failure, it will take 30-40 seconds before you are able to get back on the bar and do anything meaningful. That’s a lot of time spent staring at the clock spinning.
3. Work specifically on a plan to minimize break time. Using Fran as an example again, say that 95# Thrusters are not heavy for you and that the limiting factor is cardio-respiratory endurance. In this case, your heart is hammering when you reach 11 reps, but the bar speed is the same as rep number one. Now you can put the bar down and acknowledge that it’s okay to be a pus** today, or you can continue. If you do put the bar down, have a plan: I’ll pick the bar up in 15 seconds, I’ll take three big breaths and pick the bar up, etc.
4. If you are working with a class, pick someone that is close to you in their fitness level. Before you start the WOD, tell yourself that you will watch them and break only when they do. Resolve when they put the bar down you will do one more rep than they did. When they look like they are going to pick the bar up, grab your bar and do at least one rep before they get started. Be aware that eventually they will realize what you are doing and the game will be on. Who will drop the bar first? Again, “Men will die for points.”
5. NEVER walk away from your bar! NEVER, NEVER, NEVER!
6. Understand that every time you put your bar down, you can chalk 20 seconds onto your time. Is breathing really worth that 20 seconds? I don’t think so.
7. Just finish it. When most people set the bar down, they wait until they feel better before picking the bar up again. This is a mistake. You will not feel better until the thing is done. Might as well get back on the bar and finish the work required. Little known fact: working helps regulate breathing. The hard part of Fran is the transitions. You’re gasping for air staring at the bar. Surprisingly if you clean the bar up and start doing your thrusters, your breathing will regulate. Keep that in mind while the clock spins and you stare.
Just a few thoughts.