Each and every year the Misfit community rallies around the official start of our preparation for the upcoming CrossFit Games season. The shift in focus as we begin cycle 1 goes far beyond the nuts and bolts of the program itself. It’s an opportunity to do something about our reflections from the previous season. It’s a call to action to refocus and reestablish our motivations. It’s a line drawn in the sand that says it’s time to back to work.
This mentality can set us off on the right foot if we understand how to use it. One of the great benefits of being surrounded by the fittest people on earth each and every year is the privilege to get a clear view of what it takes to get where they are. It provides a perspective that lets you know that they’re both doing exactly what you’d expect and nothing that you wouldn’t. What follows in this article is a celebration of their dedication as well as a clear cut road map to avoid burnout. As the author my big ask is for you to search for what each characteristic means to you and how you can adapt and learn to play the long game like the athletes you’re currently chasing.
Your chances of finding yourself among the ranks of the fittest men and women on the planet hinges upon a single concept more than any other: consistency. Often times the sentiment attached to strong drive and ambition has a certain level of excitement to it. Highly skilled media professionals in our community have a way of capturing the struggle in a way that romanticizes something within a given moment. But when the camera turns off and the gym empties out, and the training partners stop showing up, and the rest days feel too few and far between…the models of consistency are still there, just chipping away. These moments are when the excitement of a new training season or cycle can wear off, and it becomes more about persistence than exhilaration.
It should be of no surprise to anyone that these ladies and gentlemen work their butts off day after day, but make no mistake, it’s as awe-inspiring as it is cliche. Their ability to keep showing up and plotting along is extraordinary. When you witness this level of self-reliance and dependability, you begin to understand what it would take to be genuinely great at something. Whether our reasons for not following suit are boredom, discouragement, burnout or anything in between it’s imperative that you realize they go through all of that as well, the only difference is they accept it and continue anyway.
Without impenetrable dedication, our chances of reaching a goal of this magnitude are slim to none, but once we learn the patience needed to train at a high-level day after day, we need to employ that skill in another arena. Humility within the context of training has everything to do with accepting that you’re there to improve vs. showing what you’re capable of. Our sport rewards the confident athlete, especially when it’s time to throw down in competition. But that killer instinct that we all love to see in the arena can have severe consequences on your ability to progress in training. For the sake of this article, I’m going to present two different scenarios that can lead athletes to the same place. We often see athletes with a natural strength base that allows them to excel early on in both gymnastics and olympic lifting by way of power over efficiency. This provides feedback that can be detrimental to further development when they’re finally faced with an opponent that is both powerful and proficient. Scenario number two is the tragic story of an athlete with a glaring weakness that is ignored due to their tremendous abilities in almost every other domain. There is something about the general pursuit of improvement that is easier to swallow than the idea of starting over on something when you’re that good at everything else. As a coach, my ability to help someone turn their power into endurance by way of efficiency or to convince a star to start over is largely predicated on their willingness to be humble.
The best of the best have the ability to set their ego aside in these scenarios, and I’m here to say that should be comforting. In the social media age it would be really easy for them to fall back on the praise they receive day in and day out, but they do not. The sting of staring at the rings waiting to be able to do another muscle-up while the field waits for them at the finish line or rowing for another thirty minutes after an opponent finished their marathon row is enough to remind them that the process will always be ongoing.
Know YOUR Answer to the Most Important Question
Up to this point, we have addressed two primary attributes that CrossFit Games athletes all share, but often times there is a still a missing piece in the puzzle. Do you want to be a CrossFit Games athlete? Or do you want the attention that often comes with it? Do you want train for 4+ hours 5-6 days a week all year every year? Or do you want a clothing sponsorship? So often we see athletes pursue this life for the wrong reasons, and when things get tough, it shows. Those of us that love our occupations are aware that we need to be able to take the bad with the good and even learn to enjoy things that we initially hate because we’re aware of the privilege they provide. If you’re going to go all in this year, be positive that it what you really want because that burning desire to reach your goal for the sake of the goal itself will be the fuel you need to deal with everything that’s about the be thrown at you.
Now that you’ve made it through a maze of motivation and scare tactics I want to be very clear about something: I still believe YOU can be a CrossFit Games athlete, I really do. Every single year multiple athletes blow me away with their growth. They employ the consistency, humility, and belief in their goal that it takes to go from a name we see on the blog comments to being a legitimate professional athlete. I hope all of you still use cycle 1 as that rallying cry to start your season off right. Getting behind something as powerful as the Misfit community can work wonders for your motivation. But when the days turn to weeks and the weeks to months, fall back on these concepts.
Keep going when you don’t want to and prove to yourself it can be done.
Be willing to take that step back to take many forward.
Rely on your burning desire to reach such an awesome goal.
Written by Drew Crandall