It’s not About Throwing Darts and Hoping

“So Champ what was going through your mind when you were getting ready for tonight’s fight?”

“I just got in the ring and did’t have a plan. I winged it and it worked out. I also focused on every missed opportunity and failure and knew I would lose.”

Seem strange? It should. This interview would never happen. Ever! High level athletes, CEO’s, titans of the universe, successful soccer Moms all share the same mindset. Positive mental attitude. They talk about visualizing success and being in the zone. They see good things happen ahead of time and focus on the positives. There aren’t problems. There are only solvable challenges. We didn’t get all caffeinated and dressed up for a walk in the park.

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Tips to Maximize Your Performance:

Tracking:

I work for a financial services company and we track every possible metric known to man. Many times we experience paralysis through analysis. It’s easy to go overboard; however by minimally tracking your performance for repeated lifts and met-cons you will have a baseline for comparison. Take notes on each WOD, listing both your weakness and your strength. Also take notes on what you think you could have done differently what would have improved your performance. For example, $5.00 bottomless margaritas and hitting the nacho bar the night before may not have been a great idea. Another example might be skimping on the warm up. And no, I don’t know anywhere local who has $5.00 bottomless margaritas.

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Goal Setting:

Keep your goals realistic. A sub three minute Fran is not realistic for a beginner, or for someone who is weak on pull ups and thrusters. Educated goal setting is possible when you keep track of your WOD’s and weights. Pushing for a PR should be a goal for just about every class. Remember that it doesn’t have to be ten or twenty pounds either. Two pounds is still a PR. The little plates are there so use them. Most importantly, talk to the coach. Ask them what they think. They aren’t there because they were bored an needed something to do. Good coaches want to see you succeed.

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Planning your Performance in the WOD:

Don’t wait for class to figure out how you will attack the WOD. Most boxes post the WOD the night before. Read through it and compare it to other WOD’s you have done. Constant variation is the foundation of CrossFit, however a clean is a clean and pull ups are pull ups. Put together a plan. Say it’s Grace. Are you capable of cleaning and jerking 135lbs thirty times unbroken? Probably not. However, are you able to do three sets of ten unbroken, with ten to fifteen seconds of rest between sets? How about five sets of six? Break them up into smaller sets so you do not get burned out. Doing Olympic lifts when you are overly fatigued equals crappy form and injuries. Do it right or drop the weight. Do not sacrifice form for time. Your chiropractor enjoys the business but your Box still collects the dues and you won’t be there to enjoy the class.

Competition:

Find someone who is of equal or slightly higher caliber than yourself and has the same schedule. They are now your workout buddy. It is a good idea to make sure they are ok with it. Stalking is a chargeable crime in several states. It is friendly competition. Don’t spike their pre workout drink or hide their strength shoes. That ain’t right! You will push them and they will push you. In the end you both win. Partner up on strength WOD’s and expect big increases in weights.

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Mental Attitude:

You’ve got the gear and are all warmed up and ready to go. Don’t let the muscle between your ears be the weakest muscle. Too many times people can take a trip to negative town, focusing on how much something will suck or only focusing on the part of the WOD which will be very difficult for them to complete. Try not to talk yourself out of it before you even try. No negative Nancy’s. Visualize yourself being successful on every lift and getting through every met-con.

Post WOD Planning:

Cool down. Stretch. Hydrate. Eat. Try to plan your exit strategy to include these four items. You just beat the hell out of yourself and more than likely will be on your way to work, a meeting, running errands, kid’s games, etc. Ideally we would be able to do all of this stuff, then go home and take a nap. Probably not going to happen, so plan to do these before you leave the box. Come prepared with coconut water and a solid post WOD meal or a protein shake. Mix it up and determine what works the best for you: solid foods, protein shake, regular water, coconut water, etc.

Rest Days and Yoga:

One of the dumbest phrases every uttered by knuckleheads. “Yoga isn’t a workout.” Yes it most certainly is. Definitely do it once or twice a week if your box offers the class. If not, find a place that does and pay for the classes. We spend three to five days a week beating ourselves to a pulp. Yoga works out the kinks, releases tension in the muscles, and gets things back in line so you can beat it up again the following week. It is great to do on your rest days. Make sure you take one to two a week as needed. If you feel like crap you’ll perform poorly. Fact.

The dues are expensive. So is the gear. Embrace the suck by being prepared for the WOD and being ready to go. Post WOD is as important as pre WOD. How you feel has a direct influence on how you perform. Don’t short change yourself and lay off the margaritas.

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2 thoughts on “It’s not About Throwing Darts and Hoping

  1. Chris says:

    Nice post. I like the sections on goal setting and mental attitude. We use SMART at my work so that was cool to see. And great point about not letting your mind hold you back. So much of any exhausting task is mental. Good work!

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