On “Unfair” Workouts

by Craig Hysell

“To master kung fu, the training must be severe.” – Louie Simmons

Yesterday’s conditioning portion of the workout was unfair. Most people could not finish it at those weights in the apportioned time cap. Here’s a secret, it was actually designed to be this way. If you did finish, that’s great. You earned your awesome badge and you deserve it. If you didn’t finish, analyze the day, because analysis is the point of any exercise. (That’s how we get better.) You might deserve an awesome badge as well.

Why would your coach program a workout that is so mean? Am I just a sadistic dick? Well, before you answer that, please read to the end:

1. Life is unfair. Believe it or not, life is sometimes going to be mean to you. It will not have a reason, it will not care what you think, it will have no mercy on whatever issues you have with its decision. But you can still beat Life when it does this. You can choose your attitude. Will you be defeated or will you remain humble and learn? Will you adjust to the beating mentally or will you throw a tantrum? Will you quit or will you try your best? In short, will you behave like a rookie or will you roll with it like a veteran? What did you do during yesterday’s workout? What will you do when Life is unfair to you again? Because it will be.

2. Humility is a gift. There is nothing wrong with getting your ass kicked every now and then. It keeps you paying attention to the world around you. It is life’s system of checks and balances. It allows you to reassess where you are, what’s important to you and what you consider to be progress. If utilized correctly, it renews your passion and vigor for your hobby, your work, your relationship. It can be harsh sometimes, but without humility, gratitude and appreciation are very challenging virtues to come by.

3. Upon reflection, who were you for 12 hard minutes? Who are you when the clock winds down and success is not in your grasp? Do you go get a drink? Do you mill about with your hands on your hips, bent over and shaking your head? Do you busy yourself with wiping your brow or chalking up your hands? Are you pissed off? Who are you upset with? Do you write your reps on the board or do you walk out upset? Do you just say the hell with it, smile, dig in, see how far you can get and be proud of who you are for the rest of the day? Think of it this way, my competitive flock, if you did your best, what in the hell do you have to be ashamed of? A board, a score or a clock DOES NOT DICTATE YOUR GREATNESS. YOU DO! Pay attention to the right details and keep them in balance with each other. What good are tools (like a score or a clock) if you cannot appreciate and learn from what you have built with your own disciplined effort?

The biggest qualification for the day for me as your coach was this: did you quit? You might have wavered, you might have done some things you were not proud of, but did you actually quit before the 12:00 was up? The only people that DNF in Life are those that quit. The rest, fair or unfair, is a learning experience. If you have learned, you have not failed. If you learned, you just made everything outside the box better. If you learned, you were successful no matter what a whiteboard says.

Keep these lessons in mind as you walk through life. They are the important ones. I will not do this to you often. I might not ever do it again. I was proud of every one of you that saw it through to its end today. Kung fu is not about kung fu. CrossFit, in here, is not just about CrossFit. It is about how to live an honorable life that you can be proud of.

Now, am I dick or do I honestly just really care about you?

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