By Craig Hysell
I have learned a few things about training over the past 29 years. I encourage each and every one of you to avoid all the silly games I have played with myself over the years (see the first video below!) and steer clear of so many of the mistakes that I have suffered. Train hard and above all, have fun.
1. Frustration is for the weak. Frustration comes from the arrogant expectation that we feel we belong somewhere we have not yet earned the right to be. It is immature. It is entitlement buried deviously amidst all our hard work. I suffered from frustration (this is a self-imposed mindset mind you) for a very, very long time. It is not enough for you to want something, you must earn it. This has no timetable other than this: the higher the desired outcome, the longer it will take to earn the right to be there. There is no blueprint save this: consistent deliberate effort + patient self-awareness = the right to keep pressing forward into success.
2. Give time, time. People hate being a novice. Why? Why is there such shame in learning something new? In not being good at something right away? In starting over? None of this makes sense nor should it matter to you. It is based in ego and nothing more. This rush forward is also for the weak. It takes time and humility to create technique, consistency and then allow for intensity. It takes self-awareness and constant positive assessment. The other day I overhead squatted to a 12″ box with 8# dumbbells in my hand in order to begin (over, yet again) focusing on diligently fixing my lack of shoulder mobility. As I learn to run properly (posture, fall, pull), I go really slow and seek to feel the movement working for me first. I listen to my body when it is in the wrong kind of pain and ease up. I called off my first half marathon because I knew it was not yet right for me. And I could care less as to what others make of this. I encourage you to go back to learning new things (or re-learning what you already “know”) as often as you can. You will see the world bigger and brighter each and every time!
Stop playing such silly games!
3. Less is more. When you do not give your body adequate time to recover you have lots of nagging injuries that only get exacerbated with time. Some people call this overtraining. For most of us though, I postulate that it is a matter of under recovery. Not enough food, not enough sleep, usually coupled with inadequate rest periods between training sessions or suspect programming. It is a matter of not paying attention to all the details(/science) or putting yourself in the category of “outlier” and presuming that the details(/science) do not apply to you. Admirable, but more often than not, incorrect. You must train of course. And when you train you should train at intensity. (The type of intensity will vary depending on what you are training for and, as you progress in your understandng of yourself and your practice, how you feel. It’s not always about more weight or faster times. Sometimes it is a matter of being fully engaged in skill work, learning a new movement, learning better techniques or better ways to become more efficient as your understanding of the movement or understanding of your purpose grows for example). You must rest when it is time to rest. You must be fully in the present when it is time to play. Greg Glassman, founder of CrossFit, stated it beautifully many moons ago in CF Journal article, “I wholly recommend you spend the 23.5 hours daily of non-exercise not on increased physical performance but on enriching your soul.”
4. Do not compare yourself to others. You are unique. There has never been anybody exactly like you in the world before and there will be never be anybody like you again. Stop comparing yourselves to others. Nobody lives your life but you! You are the only one like you in all of eternity! Competition is a tool, use it wisely and recognize it as nothing more than what it is: a game made up by humans to help us excel. Nothing is more ridiculous than getting a better result than you did previously and still being upset because you didn’t “beat” somebody else. This too is weakness and a lack of respect for one’s effort. Don’t be that guy… or girl.
5. Stop trying to do it all at once. I ask people all the time what they are training for and many times, the things people are training for conflict with each other! A beginner is the only person that can bring up everything at once, and simply because everything is new! The longer you train, the closer you get to your genetic potential. The closer you get to your genetic potential, the more detail-oriented (I did not say “complicated” or “fancy”. I said “detail-oriented”.) your training must become. Athletes and clients that try to do it all at once are destined for failure. I have never, ever seen this work. I see it lead only to frustration, under recovery and oftentimes injury. Slow down. Pick something. One thing. Work on it diligently for 4, 8 or 12 weeks depending on how long you can remain attentive. Then switch to something else if you must. If you want to specialize however, you can never stop. Donny Shankle did not PR his snatch for four years. But he PR’d lots of other movements along the way until he finally broke through the barrier to the next level. Think on this. Stop being in a hurry. Being in a hurry is comical.
Learn to listen (and trust!) in yourself and your intuition.
6. Be durable. Above all else, persevere. The longer you are in the game, the more success you will have the opportunity to pursue. This does not mean you cannot learn what is or is not for you. It does mean however that you are not allowed to change course every time something gets difficult. The longer you play outside your comfort zone, the more when to adjust course will become clear. Be patient. Be sustainable. Bend with the wind, but let nothing break you. Like Bruce Lee says, “Be water, my friend.”
I will touch on each of these points individually over the coming weeks. I hope that what I have learned and what our clients and athletes at CTF have taught me over the years will help you get further along in your journey with much less negative suffering then I have put myself through.
Live your dream. Live with Conviction.