Staying grounded


I want to begin by saying how amazing the CFD community has been the first 2 weeks of the 2014 Open!!!  Wow…it’s really been a humbling, awesome experience throwing down with my fellow athletes and seeing such an impressive turnout from the entire community.  I never had any intention of making the workouts such a spectacle, and last night I realized there were a ton of people who came in just to watch our athletes test 14.2.  The energy was awesome and contagious and it was really refreshing.  We have such an incredible community here, and it’s so great to watch people improve.


The Open does a lot of things to everyone—it’s stressful, it pushes many athlete’s limits past where they thought they could go, and in many cases, it forces people to learn brand new movements or PR lifts they though impossible merely minutes prior—and we have had plenty of instances of this happening already!  Nothing brings greater joy to me as a coach as seeing someone get their very first movement they didn’t have before.  Breaking through those barriers are always huge milestones in your journey as a CrossFit athlete.


Only 2 weeks in, and I’m already seeing a lot of the cliche stuff that happens around this time of the year.  Firstly, there are the very new athletes that registered for their very first Open.  This is to be used as a measuring stick; a way to test yourself against everyone else, apples-to-apples, for 5 different workouts.  Do it once, give it your all, and learn from it.  The Open does a good job of exposing where you may lack as an athlete, and you can do one of two things with that information:  learn from it and take your training more seriously, or you can run and hide from it.  I strongly suggest the former over the latter, but that should go without saying.  Enjoy the experience and learn from it!  You’ll likely see many of these workouts again down the road.  I’m so proud of our new athletes for putting yourselves out there and giving it your all.  It can be very intimidating to do a lot of these workouts on the world’s stage, and you all left that ego at the door.  That’s fucking awesome in my book.


Another scenario I’m seeing played and re-played is, unfortunately, the athlete(s) who only within the last 2-3 weeks decided it’s ‘crunch time’ and wanted to take their fitness seriously.  I’m sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but training for the 2014 Open started a long time ago.  Last week was not the week to start REALLY working on your double-unders.  This week wasn’t the week to hammer on your mobility issues to eek out that last few missing inches of your range of motion that was required to make your reps count, or ask for some ‘secret recipe’ on how to get your chest-to-bar pull-ups.  Here’s the cold, hard, facts:  We squat EVERY SINGLE WEEK in the regular Fitness classes.  You should give a shit about your ROM with every rep, whether it’s a warmup, a strength component, or a workout.  Not caring about it until this week gets you exactly what you deserve; a shitty score and plenty of no-reps.


However, the same lesson is to be had:  LEARN from the experience!  Let your performance speak for you—nobody likes the guy (or girl) who brags up their scores.  If you didn’t do so well, keep your excuses to yourself and admit that it’s most likely because you weren’t as good at those movements as you thought you were!  Take the lesson and learn from it.  I can’t stress that enough—it’s absolutely the only way to improve yourself.  Making up excuses is just covering up the problem.


I love seeing the hard work from our athletes pay off!  I encourage everyone to continue to put in the time and make progress.  The road to success is paved with hard work, sweat, and occasionally some blood (and plenty of frustration!).  At any point in the journey, you can always look back over your shoulder and see how far you’ve come and realize that it’s all been worth it.  Every failed rep, every ripped hand, every brutal, terrible workout, every row sprint (I hate them with every fiber of my being); it all improves your systems, little by little, and little gains accumulate into moderate gains, which accumulate to bigger gains, and next thing you know things that used to be a max effort are now a 3- or 5-rep max, and the process continues.  Be honest with yourself about your weaknesses and embrace them.  Confront them.  Show some humility.  Don’t be afraid to LOSE, or log the slowest time.  98% of your time is training, not testing; that is, improving YOUR weaknesses, not throwing standards in the trash for the best score.  Don’t get caught up in the rat-race of having the fastest time every day.  Ask any of my private program people if they get to work on the things they’re good at regularly….they’ll laugh at you!  I know I will!


Treat this season’s CrossFit Open as a measuring stick for your fitness.  Enjoy the experience!  I know I am.  With every tester comes opportunity; to embrace and give it your all and see how you measure up, or the chance to run and hide or make excuses about a poor performance.  Appreciate that opportunity and continue to represent the CFD community with honor.  I know I am honored to be among the ranks of Dubuque’s fittest and finest.


To 2014 and beyond!


Rangers Lead The Way  <1>


—Coach Phil