Why are you here? Why do you “workout”? I’m surprised by how hard these questions are for most people. Not having specific, achievable, and appropriate goals to work towards has been the downfall of many of the athletes I’ve worked with over the last eight years.
Many of the Marines I have worked with can answer this question. Unfortunately, their answer sounds very similar to: “So I can get a better score on my PFT (Physical Fitness Test). This is an achievable goal, however it is not very appropriate. A better PFT score does not translate to better combat performance. Twenty pull-ups, 100 crunches, and a three-mile run does not equal the ability to drag your wounded buddy to safety while under fire, shocking I know.. The Marine Corps answer to this dilemma was the CFT (Combat Fitness Test) while not a perfect test, each Marine is now scored on how fast he can drag/carry his buddy to safety (Amongst other things). They made a better decision..
The CrossFit athletes I have worked with over the last few years have a similar answer as the Marines in my example above. The focus, in many instances, has become on getting a faster time or a bigger weight. These are both excellent goals as long as good, consistent mechanics are not abandoned to achieve them. Unfortunately, that is rarely the case. As I’ve said many of times in my classes: “You have ZERO excuse for shitty mechanics…unless someone is paying you to lift that weight, or pull up on that bar!” So then, why are you here?
The question becomes much more difficult now doesn’t it? Do you want to be healthy and pain free throughout your life? Do you want to run that marathon in a respectable time? Do you want to enhance your overall athletic performance in order to improve the quality of your life? Do you want to make a run at qualifying for the CrossFit Games next year? The goals can go on and on from here but it is important that you figure out what you want to do NOW (you can always adjust later) and make sure you have a plan to get there. So what does all this mean to you?
The person who is looking to improve his/her athletic performance, in order to improve quality of life, will have a plan, in and out of the gym, that looks much different than the person trying to make a run at the CrossFit Games. But wait! I don’t get to pick the workout at my gym each day! Should I abandon all hope? Maybe, but I wouldn’t. Focus on what is in your control. Is my diet/lifestyle dialed in to a point where I can recover and feel good no matter the beat down I get in the gym? Am I planning my rest in an intelligent manner? How is my mobility? Do I have FULL, pain-free, range of motion in all of my joints? Again, the list goes on. There are many factors in achieving YOUR goal, most of them can be summed up with the following statement: “Make a better decision”. The only person who can really change your mind is YOU.
So… Why are you here?